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“A Great Variety of Bizarre Visual Phenomena”

December 3, 2009

People of earth! We’ve received communication from Dublin spiritual healer Joe Coleman, who has himself been notified that Herself has been talking about a short break in the Wesht this coming Saturday. Before you split your guts open jostling each other to get a good view of the heavens above, listen up.

Look directly at me. No. No. Not like that. Down a little. Ok, that’s better. The sun. It is for external use only.
But sure, it was only dancin’ in the sky the last time.
That is understood. But the word from the authorities is you’ll burn your poor eyes out of your noggin and you won’t be able to see Baby Jesus at The Christmas.
Ye shoulda seen it. A ring. It had a ring.
Did yer mam not tell you to mind yer eyes? You only get the ones you’re born with.
They’re not like teeth, she said, so she did. Not a bit like teeth.

And didn’t you make a little viewing box for the solar eclipse because of the risk of permanent damage to your vision?
Decorated it with noughts and crosses, aye.
So I have an idea to help you remember. A method suggested by the HSE to minimise the cost of treating the population for solar retinopathy and acute or prolonged stupidity.
Yer not the boss of me. Anyway, sure, there’s loads of atmospheres between Knock and the sun. There’s hardly any Sun left by the time it gets here.
That’s not true.
In any case, I’m not buyin’ any gays married to common housecats. There’ll be ructions and unrest and terrible anxiety. Man moves in next door with a cat for a wife. What then? They’ll only go and adopt a same-sex Hoover, then give it a Christian name like Alan.
Have you much of an opinion on dogs?
Oh, is it dogs yer on about?
It’s a very special sort of dog. Hardly any trouble.
Then what’s all this about celestial apparitions? Sure, I’ve a dog already. Wouldn’t want any of yer fancy city dogs, drinking diet champagne and eating whale eggs out of a handbag.
But you don’t have one of these dogs. You see, given the acute danger posed by the giant ball in the sky –
You mean that ting?
Yes, now look back at me. You’ll go blind.
Sure, a man’d go blind lookin’ at ye, ye fine ting. Well, wouldn’t be lookin’, if ye know –
Look, I’ve got something here I think you might like. It’s called a thinking-brain dog. If you find yourself distracted, forgetting yourself, or otherwise confused, if your eyes begin to turn heavenwards, and suddenly the spaghetti begins to boil inside your brain pan, this dog will alert you before anything more than temporary retinal damage has been done. This dog warns you to get a hold of yourself by urinating on your trouser cuff. The thinking-brain dog is trained to recognise the subtle microexpressions that indicate a significant drop in cognitive function –
I’ve enough difficulty with me trousers.
The trousers will be the least of your worries. Even the Archbishop has implored you not to look at the sun.
You’re givin’ me a pain in the head. Are you from the diocese?
No, that’s from looking directly at the sun. You’ve shot it more than a few rogue glances since we started talking.
Since you started talking, you mean. I was just minding me own business.
True, but I’m just telling you what I read in the paper. Information from a doctor of medicine. A surgeon from the University.
C’mere to me. This thinking-brain dog. Would it have its dinner in the middle of the day?
This dog will do anything you train it to do, although he has been so thoroughly instructed in the art of thinking-brain techniques for deterring human behaviour, that you would not be able to detrain him from his trouser-urination function. Everything else, including the timing of meals, yes, that would be fine, I think. He’s a highly intelligent cross-breed. Not pedigreed, you understand. Very rugged. Thinks for you, but can still pull a sled in a pinch.
Go on, then. I’ll train it to watch out for Herself when I’m in Mallorca.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2009 9:33 am

    Heee! Great way to start the morning. I’m grinning from ear to ear.

  2. February 1, 2010 5:03 pm

    The world needs an updated edition of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Hell, we could do with an Ireland-only edition.

    • Jane permalink*
      February 1, 2010 5:05 pm

      Ooh, I would love to write that. I love that stuff and not in a patronising or ironic way. I’m fascinated by the power that crowds have. Did you read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Dancing In The Streets: A History of Collective Joy? Pretty interesting stuff. Dancing mania is the best.

  3. February 1, 2010 5:11 pm

    Me too — I find the contagiousness of moods and thoughts completely fascinating, if sometimes scary. Ehrenreich’s book sounds great; I’ll keep an eye out for it. It’s probably much more cheerful than Canetti’s Crowds and Power, which glares rather malevolently at me from across the room.

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