Jan Cox Talk 1823

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The News

1823 97033 04/04/97 Copyright J. M. Cox 1997


On yet another one of those “days” (as he liked to call them), a man looked
deeply down into his soul and sighed, “I simply do not know how much longer
I can contend with a life such as this.”
To which his soul replied, “Why are you telling me? — you ain’t got a soul,
and even if you did, why are you looking down? It wouldn’t be down, you
And the man was exceedingly disappointed to hear his own soul speak in such
rude fashion.

Hey, sometimes you have
that kind of “days” (as I never like to say).

A Scene:
“Yes, is this The Architectural Exorcist?”
“Yes it is. What can I do for you?”
“Well, I have this locked, empty room, and believe it or not, I hear voices
coming out of it.”
“Oh, I believe you all right.”
“You do?”
“Why certainly. I am a professional in the field.”

A man once asked himself, “What is the one area of human experience in which
experience means nothing?”
“You mean other than above the neck?” he replied.


Sometimes, when for no accountable reason this one guy’d be moping and
whinin’ about bein’ alive, he’d say to himself, “Yeah, but you’ll be sorry
when I’m dead and gone.”
Then one time replied to himself, “Oh yeah, why don’t you try me and see.”

And a viewer writes, “It seems most unfair to spin little tales such as
that, which tell of something that sounds so…so…nice, but is obviously
(It is impossible, isn’t it? Now that I’ve thought about it, just in case
it’s not, please let me know. Enclosed is my unlisted return address.)
Hopefully, On A Contingency Basis, etc.”


Into a locked room a man once put a dog and cat, and sure enough, every
time he’d grab a glimpse of his mind in action, there they’d be — still at
it…always at it!

After hearing this story, a man came to the station who wanted to know if,
after you’ve once placed two creatures like a dog and a cat into a locked
room, you can ever get them back out.
You know, rather than giving one of my pretty standard observations right
here regarding the inanity of such questions, I think that this time I’ll
note and give credit instead to the mind for being the sole source and
creator of the inane.
…(And I’m sure that the gentleman will be touched by this small act of
kindness, that is, his mind may be. No really sensible or meaningful part
of him will, of course.)

And a small plane, carrying very large bombs, buzzed the palace of the
renegade ruler, as a bullhorn strapped to its starboard wing blared out the
warning, “Stop all of this nonsense about locked rooms before it’s too
And the king in question, realizing the possibility of circumstances now
crashing in around him, shot himself in the ear to help expedite the matter.

And upon hearing of this affair, a health professional drove here, to the
station, in a cab to complain that we should not be “making light” (as he
put it) of such “serious matters” (as he put it) as shooting oneself in the
ear or sticking one’s eyes out and the like. He says that once you start
along that path, it’ll be no time before you’re considering trying to turn
off your mind.
He says that he is a trained expert in this area, and that this advice is
free! — and that we should “take it” (as he put it).

…(Can you believe it? All this fuss over a dog and cat in a locked room.
Jeeze! what would Noah and Sigmund say if they could see us now?)

…When one man’s mind attempted to saddle him with the name “Well, How
Would YOU Put It?” he said that he was having none-e-e of it (thank you).


A road guaranteed to go nowhere is one paved with your thoughts about you.

Once upon a time a mirror died and went to heaven, and as soon as St. Peter
caught a glimpse of it he demanded to know “just what the hell you think
you’re doin’ here?”
Yes, even supernatural forces have their limits, and attempting to judge
reflections to some end is one, indeed, of them.

And a viewer writes to commiserate, “Oh-h-h, a poor little mirror — died.
…(And his mind quickly told him to “put a lid on that kinda crap.” Hey,
all functions have gotta protect their territory. Makes sense to me!
“Me too,” chimed in the mirror.
“Yeah, but mirrors’ll agree with anything,” countered St. Pete.

…Now, where were we when we started this?…Oh yeah:
A road guaranteed to go nowhere is one paved with you thinking about you
(which certainly contained “mirror news” to begin with).

* * *


When they’re born, each person swallows a whole, live creature — when they
become verbal, a whole, live creature swallows them.


When people don’t know what to call something, they’ll often give it an
exotic name, so (I guess) as to make it sound more exciting than it may
prove to be.
…Take for example the word “mind” and what it actually represents.

A boy asked his father, “For my birthday this year, I wanna learn to think.”
“How ’bout a boom box instead?” the old man replied.

…(Few children are so fortunate as to have parents who actually resemble

And a viewer writes, “Say, hold it! Haven’t you in the past said that we’re
our own parents and offspring?”
Hey, I’m not responsible for what I say that you heard yesterday.”
(And said viewer was alert enough to wonder if all this had something to do
with nonverbal reality’s omni-directional expansion in a finite dimension,
and the inherent difficulties of a discussion thereof.


Thoughts are the only cars driven in this country that are not manufactured
in this country.


Two kinds of morons occupy locked rooms: those who aren’t aware where they
are, and then the rest of us.

And a viewer faxes, “Am I one of the ‘rest of us’? …Please-e-e.”

Cool it, sir. Whining may get you into heaven, but it don’t mean jack when
it comes to confined spaces.

And another viewer E-mails, “That is ‘confined inner spaces’ — correct?”
Correcto-mundo, you up-to-date communicator, you.


Thoughts are the only virus suffered in this village that is not indigenous
to this village.


There was once a mighty ocean liner on which everyone sailed — most weren’t
aware of the circumstances, and even those who heard of them assumed they
were physical in nature.
…Silly passengers!


Early on, one father so advised a son, “Get your mind off yourself.”
…(Few children are so blessed with such unexpected direction.)

At his fruit stand, instead of fruit, one man sold signs. And the one he
is pushing today reads, “There are two realities: verbal reality, and
reality reality. One of them is noisier and busier than the other, and
sometimes people prefer one of them over the other, but the most important
functional difference between them is that people do not generally
distinguish between the two.”
…(Although he’s yet to sell one, he says that several people who stopped
said they’d come back when he had in some fresh asparagus.)

In the struggle between the market in mental nourishment and that in
physical, there is no meaningful struggle. In a locked room, you eat what’s
there, and that’s that.
None but the few attempt to break out and go on an empty-handed safari.
…”Oh, yoo hoo, Mister Hippo! — over here!”…


Thoughts are the only sounds heard in this hall, not produced in this hall.


One man had his furniture reupholstered
…then reupholstered again
…then again
…and again — and again, and again —
but to no benefit.
Wanna know why?…hmmm?…’cause it came with the room! And no matter what
you do to such items, they’re always gonna seem to remain relatively matched
to the scheme of the original setting, and thus appear unchangeable.

And a viewer writes, “Whew! So, ‘appear unchangeable,’ you say. Finally,
some hope of relief. So how does one go from one’s furniture (one’s mind,
as we know you’re actually talking about)…how does one go from finding
one’s furniture to be apparently unalterable to being in fact alterable?
Hmmm? hmmm? hmmm? — tell us please-e-e-e-e.”
Well-l-l, since you begged me, okay, here’s one trick:
Don’t ever let anyone into your room to look at your furniture.

…And another viewer’s ottoman tweaked his toe and said, “Hey, you and I
almost get that one.”
To which the man replied, “It’s you and me, not ‘I,’ plus ‘ottoman’ in this
instance has nothing to do with the mystical city of Istanbul, or the
possibility that you and I (‘I’ in this instance) might be becoming more
enlightened. …What am I doing? Now I’m talking to furniture.”


Thoughts are the only paintings hung here not done here.


A viewer writes, “If ordinary people understand as little about life as
you indicate they do–“
(Where the hell’s he get this “indicate” they do — “say” they do, sir!
Pardon me, back to the viewer’s letter.)
“If ordinary people understand as little about life as you indicate they
do, then how do you explain that many ordinary people, just like me–”
(Hold up, where the hell’s he get off mentioning “ordinary people” and then
slippin’ himself right in with ’em?…sorry, back to the letter.)
“If ordinary people understand as little about life as you indicate they do,
then how do you explain that many ordinary people, just like me, watch your
There! — I rest my case.


One man had a double-barreled dictionary — it could fire in two directions;
one man had a double-barreled mind — it could turn on itself;
and one man had a double-barreled barrel, and he was able to both be in the
barrel and simultaneously screw himself.

Remember this: Things in a finite reality are never so bad that they
couldn’t be twice as good as they seem now. (At least!)

And a viewer writes, “Why is that?”
Because, dear viewer, just because you asked.

There was once an explorer who decided to sail off the edge of the Earth on
his mind — and his mind said, “Whoa! — ho-o-o-o, not hardly!”
And in disappointment the Queen forced him to take even more of her gold and
jewels, when it was the desire to abandon possessions that in part drove his
spirit of exploration.

And a viewer writes to sympathize, “Aw-w-w, poor little explorer.”
And his mind said, “You better’ave said that.”


Though not listed on the public programs, there’re two battles in which men
are engaged: one is to stay alive, and the other is to stay as you are.
One battle makes sense, the other one is for chumps — I beg your pardon —
is for decent, normal people.
…Now the rest of you riffraff get outta here! The public games are about
to begin.
“Since when did they ever stop?”
Okay, you ruffians, I told you — outta here!


Thoughts are the only terrorists here
not struggling for gains available here.


Looking up from his bed, one man so said, “A nice thing about being
physically ill is that it helps take your mind off your mind.”

…”Well, just for that,” suddenly injected his doctor, “my bill has
But the man just laid back and smiled…knowing it was all in his mind.

An elephant and a giraffe were talking, and the pack-o-dermia said, “Why do
humans keep putting us in stories wherein we appear to be even more
intelligent than they are?”
And the extended one thought on this for a moment, and said, “Maybe it’s
because we don’t have any locked rooms.”
And the elephant was downright delighted with this response, stomped a
grinnin’ foot, and declared, “That’s it, by Jove, you’ve got it! Fables,
once and for all, dissected and explained away for your fun and profit…
not to mention (come to think of it) religion, psychology, and The National
Jungle Debt,” a comment the giraffe found not unamusing, but also
surprising, in that he’d never known the hefty one had an interest in


Thoughts are the only building material on this planet that doesn’t
originate on this planet, thus (as you may have sometimes noted) their
structures don’t always stand.


There was once a man who visited a state that he’d been wantin’ to go to,
and it was a lot of fun, and he sure wasn’t disappointed with it, but
unbeknownst to him it was a danger pit into which he unawares stepped —
which is in believing that, just because you got to where you wanted to go,
there is nowhere else to go! (Got that?…good. Now let me tell it to you straighter.)
The danger pit is in accepting where you’ve been (that you wanted to go) to
be the final word in where it is that you want to go.

You know why most people are blind?
— ‘Cause they only look as far as they can look.


Thoughts are the only people on this planet who can be both your friend and
not your friend; who can be here and yet not be here; who can pee on your
foot and then try to wipe it off; who can give you misleading information
and then, to make up for it, criticize you for being dumb enough to accept
If it weren’t for “our friends — thoughts,” why, most people wouldn’t even
have a real friend.

…(Does this explain why most people who’re aware they’ve swallowed a hippo
live alone?)

And a viewer writes, “How does being aware that you’ve done something differ
from having simply done it?”
(Ahhh, the game improves!) What’s the distinction between twirling around a
pistol on your finger incessantly and catching a bullet in midair — ONCE?

And a man asked a mystic, “Sometimes it sure sounds like you know what
you’re talking about.”
“Yeah, I know,” he said, “Sad to say, but yeah, you’re right.”


A viewer writes, “I find some of your stories and comments too long, and
some of them too short, but I find all of them unnecessary. …Wait a
minute! — is it really my own thoughts I’m talking about here?”

And now this word from your sponsor.


A man went to a restaurant and said, “Feed me.”

And, finally, a viewer writes, “I don’t get that last one at all! I mean
less “at all” than I normally don’t get ’em.”
(FYI: He wrote later that same day asking if what he’d revealed in his
earlier contact was perhaps some sign of progress. But the sad truth is
that he misspelled the word “progress” and I thought he was ramblin’ on,
somethin’ to do with Goldilocks and the bears.

A man went to life and said, “Feed me.”
And life replied, “What have I been doing?”


Thoughts are the only fertilizer on this farm that won’t grow anything on
this farm.


Gun Safety In The Home

The primary danger of firing a gun in a locked room is the ricochet factor;
you can — unintentionally — hurt yourself.

And a viewer writes, “Well how in blazes’ name would anyone hurt themselves
other than unintentionally?”

How-in-blazes indeed, sir — except, have you ever taken a good glance at
your mind in operation?

And the viewer (now beside himself, or at least next to a close family
member) immediately replies, “My mind is not going to hurt me! What kind of
conversation have I been duped into?”
Don’t ask me, sir. Ask your mind.

And the viewer (now fit to be tied, or at least in a size we can accommodate)
fires back at us, “The first time I ever saw your damn show and realized
you’s gonna be talkin’ about the mind rather than something really
interestin’, I should’ve turned it off then and kept it off. I don’t need
these kinds of aggravatin’ ideas from you. I’ve got my own!…well, you
know what I mean. What I mean to say is that I have my own mind and it has
its own…well…”
And our communication with the gentleman here suddenly ceased.


A man wrote to his doctor, “You can’t bamboozle me!”
And the doctor wrote back, saying that the man surely intended this letter
for his mother.
…So! the man wrote his mother, “You can’t bamboozle me!”
And she wrote him back, suggesting that he’d sent it to her in error, and
really meant it to go to his priest.
…So! the man wrote to his priest, “You can’t bamboozle me!”
And the priest wrote him back with the comment that such a message was
wasted on him, and held up the mayor as a more promising recipient.
…So! the man wrote to the mayor and said, “You can’t bamboozle me — and
don’t tell me I’ve got the wrong party, there’s nobody else left!”
And hizzoner (as he slipped his hand seductively under her blouse and pushed
her down on his official city desk) whispered softly into the ear of his
mind, “Well, kiddo, as hard as it is to believe, we fooled ’em again.”

On Career Appreciation Day, one kid scribbled in the margins of the test,
“If a plastic surgeon can ‘hang himself,’ and a mohel can cut his own self
‘off at the pass,’ then how come a man with a sealed, empty box can’t throw
the damn thing away?”
And just as the teacher was about to slap him, he fell into a dream.


Thoughts are the only source of foul odors on this planet.


From still another view, mystics could be described as those who turn
chihuahuas into Big Foot — or as those pursuing weed eradication rather
than soil conservation.


Thoughts are the only rooms in this city that don’t seem to…well…
well, to be honest with you, that don’t seem to have a way out.

(I dunno, is it just me?…am I just too dumb to see it?)


One day, when someone came to visit him, one man, after introducing
himself then introduced his mind to the visitor, who said, “I am most
surprised at this unexpected turn of events.”

Once, deep in the jungle, two lions were engaged in a ferocious battle,
obviously to the death, when one of them said to the other, “What are you
thinking — right this instant?”
…(Shows they don’t fight like gentlemen, huh?)


Hey, Gang, It’s “Question Time!”

Question #1: What’s worse than being trapped?

Question #327 (pretty close to the last one, I’d suspect): What’s stupider
than being trapped when you don’t have to be?

Huh! — I’s wrong, here’s the actual last question: What’s dumber than being
trapped when “being trapped” is just an illusion?

…”Okay, Mister Questioner-pants, that’s just about enough! I’ve got a
nice, shiny new bullet right here with your name on it.”

* * *


Thoughts are the only drive-by shootings in this ‘hood
involving perps and victims not from this ‘hood.


We’re Not Talking Doughnuts Here, My Friends

The mind covers consciousness in a glaze.

* * *


Though it bothered him right smart ever’ time he’d consider it, still,
one man couldn’t help but periodically weigh the possibility that the only
trick available is not to think all the time of redwood trees, but in the
alternative to never, ever let these mighty forest giants cross your mind.

“Ooo! — dat hoirts,” he exclaimed when considerin’ this, “Ooo — it hoirts so


Not The “Pride” But The Folly Of Certain Ownership

Anything you think about — in part — owns you for as long as you think
about it.

…A nice, shiny new bullet, did you say?…and with my name on it?…

* * *