The Sham Philosopher

I had a crush. He was a bearded Slovenian, notably disheveled usually. He would never know my name, but I read his work with the thrill of knowing I was too far out, over my head, getting in on a secret I didn’t yet understand. When he came to speak at Powell’s, my god what a thrill. I now know a bit more: what it would have been like at ages 11 or 12, front and center, Back Street Boys Into the Millennium Tour. Enter fanboy.

He fidgeted and spouted, filling the air with intricate, babbling theory, with confident paranoia, with dirty Balkan jokes (How does a Montenegrin masturbate? He digs a hole and waits for an earthquake). We listened, almost comprehending, like infants used to Motherese talking to an unbending father. Children in the audience tried to ask questions, parroting His difficult language, but not quite breaking through. I wanted to tell Him: write everyday write down every thought that crosses your mind write and send it to me. I wanted to be closer to Him, my philosopher.

What could have made me happier than the day I found His Twitter: @[He]speaks. A digital window! An extended hand! A place to just check in once in a while (everyday). It was all there: endless references, his favorite youtube videos, heady banter: I fed off it. Maybe I should have known what would come next. After all, his last book jacket showed him seated before a mirror that reflected only the chair. The book’s title: [He] does not exist.

I was still sighing over a particularly charming post, “Writing an essay on the potato, the first postmodern vegetable.” when something went wrong. We were back where we started, it was all beyond me: the curt message from Twitter, the standard robin’s egg background, that’s all there was. Oh and the bird, that infuriating bird, that unwelcome, unspeakable, tweeting little bird.