Making a Spectacle of My Life: Ethan Goffman

Ethan Goffman

In the darkest dark of night, reaching for a Kleenex on the bedstand, I knocked over my glasses.  I reached below to find a vast pile of aging glasses that I had kept stored there, from my years of malfunctioning vision. Well, I thought, I’ll get the correct pair in the morning, and tumbled into a violent sleep with hallucinogenic dreams, not quite nightmares.

Awoken by a trickle of light sneaking through the window, I peered below, with fuzzy, disoriented vision, and grabbed at a multitude of glasses, a spectacle of spectacles.  Glasses were piled to the ceiling and, for me to even arise from bed, would need to be removed.  I had no idea that I’d gone through that many spectacles.  I must have lived for eons.

The first pair I grabbed was for extreme farsightedness.  It had allowed me to read deeply into tiny typeface, to discern things the average person couldn’t imagine.  These glasses had been useful back in the day, but they had also confused me, making it impossible to proceed with the serious business of life.  The second pair, for nearsidedness, had allowed me to view distant stars, nebulae, and galaxies, and to at least begin to understand such mysteries as dark matter and alternative universes.  I remembered that, with these glasses, I’d seen the edge of the universe at one point, but not quite beyond—but I realized that they would eventually drive me insane, and so abandoned them.  The third pair allowed me to look through things.  Yes, I could view naked women, and they had no idea, but also naked men, as well as a variety of aging bodies, which had their own beauty but also disgust.  This pair had felt more and more intrusive and even horrible and, after a few short years, I had given them up (actually, I had vowed to do so immediately, but somehow day followed day, rather as if one had a huge box of slightly stale jelly donuts and couldn’t stop eating).  The fourth pair allowed me to peer into people’s thoughts, which was far more horrible than examining their bodies, and these had barely lasted a moment.  The fifth pair revealed the past, the horrors of history—which made me despise the human spirit—but also the course of evolution—which made me appreciate the wonders of nature—all the way back to the Big Bang, or at least the instant after. With this pair of glasses, I had learned that science, Genesis, and the vast variety of human myths and religions do not contradict each other, although they don’t quite reveal truth, either.  The sixth pair showed the end of humanity, revealing what a marvelous species we are, and into the future far beyond. where cockroaches had evolved to replace us and fulfill the grand promise we only thought we had.  The seventh pair revealed ultimate meaning, but they burned my hands so I was unable to put them all.  Alas, I could not find, amid the vast and ever-growing pile, my current pair of glasses which made me, for once in my life, a normal human being.  So now I hobble about, virtually blind.

1 comment :

  1. Oh my, I do so empathize with the 'spectacle of spectacles."


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