Qadaffi and Charlie Sheen; Man Ray and Kierkegaard. I have mixed feelings about irrationality. Clearly, Qadaffi and Charlie Sheen are entertaining characters. Even Qadaffi’s fashion evolution discussed is fascinating. I tried to watch the Charlie Sheen interview, just because I couldn’t believe someone would say those things. If I didn’t know Qadaffi had people with guns he could command, and I didn’t know Charlie Sheen had kids, I could enjoy their antics.
Man Ray sent them a urinal and told them it was art. When I’ve seen said urinal, or one of its cousins, I have had a good laugh. Some people act like you shouldn’t laugh in a museum, or laugh at books or movies, that laughter somehow threatens their credentials as Art. I think I saw the urinal at the Pompidou Center in Paris. I definitely saw a can of “Artist’s Shit” in a case there. I was there with two American attorneys I had picked up in a Parisian Italian restaurant, and they thought the whole place was ridiculous. We laughed at things. I think they were laughing because they thought the work was dumb, and I was laughing because I thought it was great. We had a good time.
Kierkegaard’s explanation of the resurrection myth of Christianity is that it is absurd. It is, in caper-speak, “So crazy it just might work.” When I woke up last Sunday morning, my cats had knocked over a potted plant. I yelled at them until I saw they had done me a favor. That silver pot used to have bulbs in it, paperwhites, and I had dug them out and replaced them with another plant. Underneath the crowded tendrils of the new tenant, a leftover bulb was pushing up. Five significant green shoots that I had not noticed. I yanked up the one and separated them.
It was the sort of Sunday, springtime event that made me roll my eyes. If I had read that bit in a novel, I would have rolled my eyes. So trite. It’s true, though: things were growing for no reason, without me knowing or planning. Plants and people want to live and grow, although it’s sort of dumb. You’re just going to die. Absurd. Irrational.
Most of the best decisions I’ve made, big ones, like who to fall in love with or where to move or what job to do, looked irrational. And made me the happiest. Which makes it hard to know if I’m pulling a Qadaffi or Kierkegaard.