Jan Cox Talk 1833

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The News

1833 97038 04/16/97 Copyright J. M. Cox 1997


From their partial-eyed, just-above-the-water-line-of-the-pool vantage point,
two philosophically inclined hippos were (as was their common want)
surveying the world at large, and between them verbally attempting to make
some rational analysis thereof. And one day one of them muttered to the
other, “In the realm of man, who seems the happiest to you, those who appear
to think the most or those who seem to think the least?”
And the second hippo took his time responding, but eventually did thusly,
“It’s interesting you should bring this up, for I’ve thought about this
before, and every time that I do (for some reason) I feel a kind of…oh, I
don’t know…a kind of ‘kinship’ to one of the groups of men as you verbally
defined and separated them, and by such it’s hard for me personally not to
believe that the group with which I feel an affinity is the happiest.”
And now there was prolonged silence in the pond as the first hippo processed
his companion’s observation, and finally he had these words in reaction.
“I grasp what you say, but that brings up a new consideration: the only way
we can feel any kinship with any aspect of man is by us being able to think.
And if we can think, then the relative position from which I originally
formulated the question is now shifted to such a degree as to be fatal, thus
rendering the inquiry unanswerable.”
Then they both fell silent for several hours as they independently attempted
to fathom and digest how this fully detailed the nature of thought and

And a viewer writes, “I have watched your show for some time now, and heard
you pass through using as examples cows, birds, worms, and wolves, but now
that you’ve latched onto hippos — you’ve gone too far.
I had an uncle, Sir, who was a hippo!
Yours, Unnerved, etc.”

Aw, forget him. Let’s play a game — a guessing game:
What’s the one thing that can never be satisfied?
…Never, never, never ever?


One man is much a student of history. Well, it isn’t that he actually
studies history; what he does is continually go back over, in his head,
everything that has ever happened to him.
…Hey, close enough for us, right? Let he who is without similarity cast
the first epoch, we always say, huh?

And a man suddenly thought, “I’m sick of having to agree with the norm
and the average. It’s not cute, it’s not slick, and it doesn’t explain
anything, much less let me off the hook I’ve worked so hard to hang in place
for myself.”
Hey, is he detailing our sentiments exactly, or what? I can only hope that
he (same as us) also knows the trick of how to escape accepting the norm and
the average as the suitable standard. …You know, the trick of ignoring
Ahh, the sweet life of the anti-student of everything! Ahhhh!


There was once a man who lived up north, and took it upon himself to so
relentlessly denounce his position, and to so talk up the benefits of being
in the south, that he (now this is multiple choice, so you must decide the
conclusion) — that he:
A. Left the north.
B. Made changes there that made it more agreeable.
C. Talked the whole thing to such a fine, exasperating
kettle of stew that he eventually lost interest in the
entire affair.

Geography and position don’t mean shit if you’re a moron.
…(And even if you’re not, they don’t.)

And just in time appeared the cheerleaders to lead up in this cheer:

“Live it up, live it up — way-y-y up!
live it down, live it down — down-n-n town!

Don’t chu’ be bringin’ that garbage home wid’ chu’,
why you think we moved out here in the first place, huh?”

(You know, that’s really touching, almost brings a tear to your eye to see
’em carry the coach off the field like that, on their shoulders. I don’t
think there is a team other than man who could even begin to pick up life.
And of course they can’t. It’s just them havin’a mind and all let’s them


If a worm accidentally runs up against all four walls of his locked room,
and realizes the nature of his existence, he’ll go mad. If a man does the
same (and doesn’t turn into a worm) he’ll be free of his.
“Yes, yes, that’s well and good, but why even take the chance of sailing off
the edge of the Earth? We all know it’s there, it’s just a question of
where it is at any given moment, and what the odds are of your unnecessary
movement putting you in a position that therewith coincides.”

Well, thank you, Queen Isabella, Munchkin Version, for that far-reaching,
insightful advice. I’m sure we’ll all be the better for it…if not more
assuredly safe.

And speaking of safes: Did you hear the one about the priest, the rabbi, and
the surveyor who were gonna break into a bank?…
“Yes, yes, that’s all well and good, and I’m sure we all enjoy a rousing
joke as well as the next man, but you still haven’t responded to my question
of why one should risk even the possibility of falling off the edge of
things when, by Jove, I fail to see any potential payoff for activities
that might put you in such a position.”
Okay, that’s enough, somebody shoot the munchkin.


After they’ve fed their gut, everyone in life wants the same thing — that’s
right, the same, exact thing — but only a few people recognize what it is.

Once upon a time, a mirror came upon a pool of water, knelt down, looked
into it, and cried out, “My god, what is that terrible thing?”
And the goldfish thought, “Jeeze, which bus from the boonies did he drop
off of?”

The government specifies that line 17(b) should be filled in here, wherein
you respond “yes or no,” you do not yet understand the practical uses of
the unexpected, even when it is as harmless as the verbal variety, involving
such meaningless matters as mirrors and minnows.

After he’d fed his gut, one man asked himself what was any further point to
life. …Uhh, sir, get thee to a reflecting device, quick (if you wanna
stay normal).

According to a secret report from the nonstandard space agency, some
reasonable beings from an intelligent planet, while on a mission, made an
emergency landing on a certain world which proved to be most strange; the
inhabitants there purposefully made one another feel bad and guilty through
ceaseless verbal attacks on each other.
…(The report goes on to say that our crew repaired the fatibulator as
quickly as possible, and got the hell outta there. [Whew! I’ll say.])


In response to many comments and accusations, one man finally said, “Pissed?
Pissed? Yeah, I’m pissed. And you wanna know why? Huh? You wanna know
why? Well, I’ll tell you why — I don’t know why. There — happy now?”

(May I suggest to you that this little episode represents more than just the
parochial situation of one man.)


Children should confine the frightening stories they tell adults to those
concerning creatures that will come out from under your bed at night and
suck out all your brains.
Just a bit of compassion and common sense goes a long way in people rearin’.
(Life paid me to say that, and it was with no recompense that I substituted
the word “people” where the original script said “idiot.”)

Yes sir, I guess a little compassion and common sense can count for
something — just don’t expect it to mean anything if you stay in your room
with your mind locked.

And speaking of locks: Did you hear the one about the philosopher, the
proctologist, and the mining engineer who wanted to break the genetic code?
“Yes, yes, that probably too is all well and good, but I still await a reply
to my earlier inquiry.”
Mein Got! — the munchkin lives!


One man allowed himself to receive pudding instructions from some tapioca
(with the secret intent to eventually use same as an anti-pudding weapon
…guess who ended up with flour on their face?)

The trickiest aspect of figuring out what’s going on with life (if you think
of “life” as being what the mind conceives it to be) is that…is that…
well, it’s really too meaninglessly complex for me to even bother trying to

(In case you haven’t yet noticed, there are victory banners permanently
hung over all the entryways to the stadium where you and the mind compete,
noting its perpetual triumph.
Well, look at it this way: Even though only chumps will play a known losing
game, it’s double chumps who’ll refuse to realize that it is.)

A mad dog in a locked room can’t hurt you unless you hold out your hand and
invite him to bite you, and then declare, “Well the damn thing bit me!”


In one universe, there is this “thing” that you can open which, once you
have, you will forever after that…uh…well…it’s really too disgusting
to go into.


One man fished in a particular pond until (multiple choice again) — until
A. He caught all the fish therein.
B. He got tired of fishing.
C. He finally realized there were no fish there.
D. He experienced all the above simultaneously one day,
exploded! — blew away! — disappeared and took the
damn pond with him.

At recent intergalactic psychological conference, the lead paper of the
confab was one entitled
“What’s Wrong With You, Idiot? — Fish Are An Illusion!

…(Next week the accountants are in town. Whoo-pee.)

And speaking of pee: Did you hear the one about the man who went around
encouraging everyone to undertake a critical examination of themselves? —
a process he called “your-analysis.”
“Yes, yes, that’s all well and good, but I am still without an answer and
your attempts at humor shall not distract me from this fact.”
And that you just said, Dear Munchkin, contains therein a fully
expositional response to your own question. (What could be more serious
than a locked room.)


There is one planet in this universe, if on which you live, complete
strangers may enter your place of dwelling — anytime they want to! And
just totally track the place up with their dirty and dusty shoes.

Now, your part in this news item is for you to figure out what “where you
live” actually refers to, and then to get those people the hell outta there.
It’s your place, for Chrissake!
…Well, it was originally, and there are no grandfather exemptions to one
recovering from prior stupidities.

“Wake up, little Susie, wake up.”
“My name’s not Susie, but I ‘preciate the thought.”

– – –

Rats in a maze,
rats in a maze,
you know, hits amazin’ that
them damn rats are stupid enough to stay stuck in
that simple maze. (Downright ah-mazin’!)

* * *


The unrealized reason that men are so enamored by ideas concerning death
is that they non-mentally know that they essentially live their lives not in
the mind (where the mind says that they do) but someplace else — a
someplace else that could be more attractive were it freed from the mind.

A Feathery Ode: “I shot myself into the air,
and where I fall, I do not care.”

* * *


To experience life newly and differently you must be in a particular
“balance,” a new and different balance that each person must discover for


For you to be free, the mind must be let free to be itself — not let be
itself, but let free to be itself.
The man who knows the difference, knows the difference.


As men begin to arouse themselves from slumber, they start to see their own
life as a metaphor; for what, specifically, is unclear, but they feel
most assured that their individual existence is but a metaphor for something
Then as they become able to actually arise from their bed of distraction and
step out of their darkened room into the natural light, metaphors and
allegories disappear in the splendor of everyday things just as they are.

– – –

“No mental allusions for us, thanks — we’re driving.”
“Oh, really? — where you folks off to?”
“Well, originally we wanted to go to Istanbul, or Shangri-la, or somewhere
mystically east of here, but now we’ll settle for wherever we go.”
“Well that’s just great! You folks have a nice trip, and be sure and don’t
ever come back — er, that is, except for a visit. Bye now.”
And off they went, getting maximum mileage from their efforts by seeing and
taking things just as they are.


One man says that all of his metaphysical efforts and studies are finally
beginning to pay off, and with such intensity and with such magnitude that
on some mornings he is able to stand free in the middle of the room, holding
on to nothing! — and put on his socks without falling over and hurting