Wednesday, June 20

Two Men Carrying a Canoe


"I'm sort of busy here, what is it?"
"Don't get grumpy with me, I have a question."
"You always have questions."
"Consider it my philosophical nature."
"I consider it your jackassery nature."
"There's no reason to be rude."
"You're right, well what is it?"
"What is what?"
"What is your question?"
"I've forgotten."
"You forgot the question you wanted to ask me a minute ago?"
"You're an idiot."
"Well, you're a control freak."
"I am not."
"Yes, you are.  You are always in front.  You don't even know where we're going."
"Yes, I do."
"No, you don't."
"We are going that way."
"Which way is that?"
"The way we need to go."
"How do you know that's the way we need to go, we can't even see anything with this canoe on our heads."
"I've explained this millions of times: it must be the right way to go, because that's the way we are going."
"But you've forgotten the reason!"
"That doesn't matter.  What matters is that I must have had a good reason to begin with, so we'll just keep walking in this direction carrying this canoe until we reach our intended destination."
"Which we've forgotten."
"So how will we know when we're at our intended destination?"
"That's the easy part.  I believe it will be self-evident."
"What does that mean?"
"Oh shut up."
"What is it now?"
"Don't be a jerk this time or I'll forget again."
"Okay, but just this once."
"Thank you.  Why are we in a desert?"
"We aren't in a desert."
"We must be, there's all this sand."
"Deserts are not necessarily comprised of sand."
"Who ever heard of a desert with no sand?"
"What defines a desert is a lack of precipitation."
"A lack of what?"
"Rain, Ethan, it doesn't rain in a desert."
"It doesn't seem like it's raining now.  In fact, I don't think it's ever rained."
"You might be right, but I don't remember."
"We would have heard it on the canoe."
"And we'd probably have walked in puddles."
"Before they evaporated."
"It is unbearably hot. That settles it, we're in a desert."
"If you say so."
"Just ask the question, you don't need to start every conversation with my name."
"That's a good point.  So, Dan?"
"What color is the canoe?"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Well this side is sort of off-white, but the other side might be a different color."
"The other side?"
"Well what do they call the bottom of a canoe?"
"I don't know. I suppose they call it the bottom."
"That doesn't seem very seafaring of them. Shouldn't it have a nautical name like port or starboard?"
"I doubt very much that Indians ventured into open ocean with canoes."
"Native Americans."
"They call themselves Native Americans now.  Or at least I think they do."
"Did Ind...I mean Native Americans invent canoes?"
"I don't know."
"I don't know either.  So what color is the bottom?"
"I suppose it's red."
"Why is that?"
"Have you ever seen a canoe that isn't red?"
"Sure!  Green, brown, I think they make canoes in every color."
"Well I've only seen red canoes."
"You're thinking of wagons."
"No, I'm not. I'm definitely certain that I'm thinking of canoes, since I'm carrying a canoe, and not a freaking wagon."
"But you haven't seen the bottom of the canoe, and it could be any color.  For all we know, it could be pink!"
"It can't be pink."
"Why not? That's as good of a color as any."
"Do I look like the sort of man who would carry a pink canoe in the desert?"
"I don't know, I haven't seen your face in a while."
"Trust me, you don't want to."
"We could switch."
"No, we can't."
"Why not?"
"Because we might lose our sense of direction in the shuffle."
"What if we draw a line in the sand, then reorient ourselves around the axis."
"That sounds potentially catastrophic.  Also, you don't possess my keen sense of direction."
"How do you know?"
"You are far too preoccupied with your head in the clouds."
"Well, you are far too preoccupied with your head in the canoe."
"As it should be."
"So what color is it really?"
"Yes, Dan?"
"Just drop it."
"Drop what, the canoe?"
"What, no! I meant the conversation."
"Well why not drop the canoe?"
"We can't drop the canoe."
"Why not?"
"Because we can't."
"Well, that's not a reason."
"Well, that''s as good of a reason as you are going to get."
"Who put you in charge?"
"I'm in charge because I'm in the front of the canoe, and people in front are generally in charge."
"Not in a canoe.  The person in back steers it."
"That's the rule on water.  On land, whoever is in front is in charge."
"You just made that up."
"No, I didn't."
"Yes, you did!"
"How would you know?  I could be an expert on all things canoeing, and you'd never know the difference."
"You didn't even know the name for the bottom of a canoe.  It's called the hull."
"You don't know that, you don't have a dictionary."
"Whenever we get to wherever we are going, I'll prove to you that the bottom of any watercraft is called the hull."
"You keep thinking that."
"Stop kicking sand at me."
"Oh, was I kicking sand at you?"
"Yes, and please stop."
"I'll refrain from kicking sand if you refrain from asking silly questions."
"Fair enough."
"But Dan?"
"Is this question silly?"
"Wait a second."
"I'm thinking whether or not the question I'm about to put forth fits your criteria for a silly question, based on my previous experience with you."
"Take your time."
"Nope, it's not silly."
"Better not be.  I have plenty of sand."
"Here goes: why does it sound like the ocean?"
"Everything sounds like the ocean when you stick your head inside it."
"That's just seashells."
"Nope, it's everything."
"Are you telling me it would sound like the ocean if I stuck my head in a colander?"
"No, it has to be an item without holes."
"So what, like a pot or a bucket?"
"Depending on the size of the pot or bucket in question, but yes, that's the general idea."
"It think that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."
"Hypothetically, you could also hear the ocean if you stuck your head up your ass."
"That was uncalled for."
"You're right, I apologize."
"Thank you.  What if it really is the ocean?"
"It couldn't be."
"Why not?"
"What are the chances two people carrying a canoe would walk along a beach perpendicular to the ocean for mile after mile after mile after mile after mile, until they had forgotten the very essence of their purpose, lost themselves in the task at hand, and could no longer consider the big picture enough to direct themselves to their goal?"
"When you put it that way, it doesn't seem very likely."
"So what do we do then?"
"We do what we've always done, we keep walking, and hope things turn out for the best."
"I hope they do."
"So do I."


1 comment:

  1. Very clever! I wasn't sure how it was going to go when I started reading it, but this piece turned out to be pretty interesting. Good writing.