Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Allegory of the Doughnuts


       In the following blog post, I would like to relate for my readers the details of a certain intense dream reverie I had the other night.  
     On the afternoon before the dream I was walking through my neighborhood and I passed the popular pastry seller Dunkin Donuts. Normally I take no notice of this purveyor of sweet rolls, and I am personally impartial towards these pastries. Yet Dunkin Donuts must have changed something about its interior design because as I looked abstractedly into its window I glimpsed a few seconds of a peculiar video being projected on a screen alongside the giant food menu.
          Though I saw it out of the corner of my eye, I was struck by one special quality of the video, the grandiose manner in which the doughnuts in the video were being be-sprinkled by slowly-falling confetti, or sugary snowflakes, or I know not exactly what, but they looked rather like sublime marshmallows covering the doughnuts.  In any case, later that night as I lay asleep I had the following dream.
          In the dream I beheld a heavenly realm that very much resembled the inside of my neighborhood Dunkin Donuts store, which was in the dream represented as a heaven wherein doughnuts of all classifications were the sole inhabitants. High amidst this ethereal canopy, fresh doughnuts were carried in on platters every morning from some location outside--- though no one truly knew wherefrom---and then laid out most precisely and reverentially upon their effulgent display cases. They were enthroned almost inaccessibly beneath glorious lights. Most magnificently they lounged upon the finest tissue paper, as if betwixt the angelical and human kind, like some sugary putti, while attended to and pampered zealously by a group of non-doughnut servants. 'Twas a hive of doughnut activity this place, or rather inactivity----no matter, 'twas a very hiving thing. In such state of sublime repose the little pastries  lived out the greater part of their existence.
          Notwithstanding the varieties of dainties to be found here--such as Glazed doughnuts, Chocolate doughnuts,  Strawberry Frosted doughnuts, Boston Kreme doughnuts, Glazed Chocolate or Blueberry Cake doughnuts, Old Fashioned doughnuts, among others--- notwithstanding the variations, I say, not one pastry was permitted to be treated differently than any other. All doughnuts were held to be equal in the eyes of their Creator, as was signified too by their relatively even pricing, as established by their caretakers. No doughnut hierarchy could exist here; each doughnut savoring the Holy Rest of the Almighty Creator in equal proportions.
          The little cakes were so worshipped by their caretakers that the strictest rules were enforced to protect them from suffering theft or any kind of soiling or defilement. And should any of these measures be even momentarily relaxed the heaviest consequences were held in store for the workers who violated the rules. Truly, the doughnuts were reaping the never-fading fruit of pure delight in this paradise.
          Yet the only chink in their armor was the fact of the human customers; whence arises the notion of doughnut mortality itself. In my vision I beheld as those human creatures who dropped by on regular basis would select one or more pastry, and after paying money, would leave the store with their sugary purchase. Alas, the doughnuts had no way of knowing what happened to them once they were thus transported away. As no reason or motive could be inferred from the customers' behavior that would explain, for example, why one person preferred a Powder doughnut while another  preferred Glazed, or why either one desired doughnuts at all---that is, as no explanation could be found out, the doughnuts regarded the human customers with the same dreadful feelings with which we take account of death. For it was conclusively held that no doughnut ever returned back to the display case once taken away by a customer; but they were duly replaced by another doughnut. 
          Considering this, the little pastries had but one wish in the world, a wish for immortality---and one day, a miracle of rare device, by some  alteration to the state of things,  the doughnuts found themselves in a topsy-turvy world indeed. For now they were eating the human customers, as if the doughnuts had grown a mouth and acquired the will power to arrest any human on the street and eat him without explanation or ceremony. And what think you were the consequences of this switch-over upon the doughnuts? As you may well imagine, their health declined sharply; and they started putting on unhealthy weight. In other words, they started becoming fat, lazy, self-loathing creatures, like the food they were eating.
          But the idea of doughnuts gaining weight from eating humans was so repulsive to me that I was forced to end my reverie, lest it turned into a real nightmare. I managed to wake myself up. I was much relieved to recognize that everything I had witnessed was but a fancy of my imagination, knowing full well that nothing so abhorrent as the notion of doughnuts eating humans for their sport--or any similar super-satirical notion---could ever enter the mind of the Almighty Creator.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

from 12th century The Book of the Beasts

Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century, Made and Edited by Mr. T.H. White

Assida, or ostrich

There is an animal called an ASSIDA (ostrich), which the Greeks call Struthiocamelus. Actually, the Latins call it Struthio too. This bird has really got wings, but it does not fly. Furthermore, it has feet like a camel.
Now when the time comes for it to lay some eggs, the ostrich raises its eyes to heaven and looks to see whether these stars which are called the Pleiades are visible. Nor will it lay until the Pleiades appear. When, however, it perceives that constellation, round about the month of June, it digs a hole in the earth, and there it deposits the eggs and covers them with sand. Then it gets up instantly forgets all about them, and never comes back any more.
A certain clemency and mildness of the atmosphere is noticeable in June, and so the sand, being warmed by the hot weather, incubates the eggs and hatches out the young.
Now if the ostrich knows its times and seasons, and, disregarding earthly things, cleaves to the heavenly ones---even unto the forgetting of its own offspring--how much the more should you, O Man, strive after the reward of the starry calling, on account of which God was made man that he might enlighten you from the powers of darkness and place you with the chiefs of his people in the glorious kingdom of the heavens.

Assida, or ostrich