You awake each morning screaming, your mouth dry and your eyes red from the tears that bath your Pillow of Ennui. You had the dream again. Of falling. Of dogs tearing at your carcass, broken on the dirty pavement of a city where you never lived. Your days blur together in an existential nightmare that would cause Camus to shit himself.
And each morning you look at the scrap of an old newspaper. All that remains is the headline, and you wonder: what was Doctor Salathial’s Toddler Control System?
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Alltop is the current patent holder. Photo via Tigęrr Risin-Ẃińgs. Originally published April, 2010.
I read this originally in French class, sometime during my high school career. (Where I was a music nerd, and a hard-core nerd, long before that was remotely cool.)
Most of this famous existential work was read aloud in class, by a collection of students with a wide variety of accents and grasp of the French language. If I remember correctly, Lorne’s delivery was amusing, but that might have been because he was pretending he was Soupy the Clown. By far the most hilarious moment was when our teacher asked my friend Garth a question, and he replied: “Je ne sais pas comprendre.” (I don’t know HOW to understand.) The teacher doubled over with laughter.
Despite the fact that I was doing poorly in this class, I was secretly in love — or at least a more advanced lust — with my French teacher. (A fact I only now reveal for comic effect, but back then I would have been mortified if the world had known. Surely this is some kind of rite of passage, falling in “lovust” with your language instructor?)
The novel is about the farcical nature of French colonial justice, the absurdity of free will and the benefits of not washing.
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Alltop thinks washing is absurd too.