Journey to the Centre of the Couch, Aside

Now, I should probably take a brief side-trip here, while in-story Hatboy is busy with the spanner (and Yool, the hysterically buff Christmas tree who has been there the whole time, is standing by). Sorry to address you directly, I know it causes issues. I mean, obviously I’m either telling this story after the fact – relating it back to you – in which case you know everything turns out hunky-dory, or you’re somehow getting it in real-time and I’m relating it to you as it happens, which is why I would only do it while Hatboy’s faffing with those L-brackets. Of course, there are more esoteric explanations available, including but not limited to the theatre-based narrative device of the soliloquy, and even odder pure-science-theory-based concepts like trans-dimensional observation of different parallel universes and stuff. You know, or I’m flat-out just having a psychotic break. Wouldn’t come as a surprise to me, after all these years. You should also be aware by now that the tenses in my tale will often play tricks on you, depending on what part of the story I’m recounting, if indeed you can call it ‘recounting’ … but it’s not their fault, or yours.

Well, I don’t know if it’s yours. I don’t know who you are. If you think it’s weird for you, put yourself in my shoes for five minutes and imagine how weird it is for me[1].

[1] Of course, I say ‘five minutes’. Nobody I know of has lasted more than three. But it’s not as if I’m ever likely to know, is it?

Anyway, the question of weirdness brings me to the point of this interruption, which – believe it or not – was not to pull you out of the story or philosophise about the nature of reality, although that is fun and was one of the reasons I had invited Michael to join us in the first place. No, I wanted to explain something.

You might be somehow disappointed in my approach to this strange phenomenon. Having dismissed Narnia, TARDIS and Luggage, it would seem like the three most interesting possibilities are out of the running, and I’m going for some dull, rational explanation that you’d think my life experiences up to this point would tend to render unlikely. It seems to not only lack imagination, but also ignore basic observed reality.

Why would I, having seen the things I have seen, automatically assume the couch is just a normal couch and that there’s some logical explanation for all this? Furthermore, having dismissed those other possibilities, isn’t it going to be narratively unsatisfying, or even clumsy, when it turns out to be one of those things? I’ve lampshaded those explanations and thus encouraged you to discount them as possibilities, right? So when the couch actually turns out to be bigger on the inside, or somehow sentient and extra-dimensional, you’re going to be all butthurt about how I misled audience expectations.

Well, as to the first question, I can say only that I am a man of faith and I never give up hope that logical, sensible, dull explanations are going to one day become the norm around me. For all that a sense of wonder and magnificence is a positive thing to have, and the occasional humble acknowledgement that Mighty Logic doesn’t smash everything beneath His Hammer of Science is healthy, it doesn’t change the fact that I believe the rational is out there. To me, that often is the most interesting possibility, because “it’s a swirly-wirly anomaly thing” is obvious. Sometimes, despite Creepy’s best efforts and the inherent eyeball-reaming amazingness of the universe, there are just regular, banal reasons for which things happen. True, the evidence is not on my side – but the very essence of faith is often maintaining a belief, or a hope, in the face of evidence. I’ve been wrong in the past and I’ll be wrong in the future, but I see no reason to cut myself with Occam’s razor.

As to the second question, well. I’m not going to lie to you. I said those things in a moment of sarcasm, and me turning out to be wrong about one or all of them isn’t going to change the fact that I said them. I’m not going to alter what I said or did just to make it a more interesting story. Frankly, it’s interesting enough already and I’m not going to hold myself responsible for your silly expectations. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. What am I supposed to do, omit the fact that I made a sarcastic remark because it later turns out that my dismissive little joking guess was right? You might call that “preservation of motivating points” or “conservation of plot reveals”. I call it “leaving out a bit of the story because it makes me look like a jerk”. And besides, when Marty McFly told Doc Brown “you don’t want to get struck by lightning”, it made Doc Brown getting struck by lightning a practical inevitability regardless of the impossibly long odds of it happening, and nobody was upset by it. Well, nobody whose opinion counts.

If you discounted those explanations just because I did, then you’ll be wrong too and it won’t be my fault. You’ve seen about as much of this thing with the couch as I have, so make your own conclusions and guesses. Welcome to what I whimsically call “reality”.

Alright, let’s continue.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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5 Responses to Journey to the Centre of the Couch, Aside

  1. dreameling says:

    Hi. This is dreameling’s metaphorical-fictional self speaking. I’m on a balcony overlooking your implied audience, and I just wanted to let you know that while they’re obviously a very patient lot, even they look a little confused right now (or did, whenever that will be). So cut the fourth-wall procrastination, Hatboy, and jump in the goddamn hole already!

  2. Oh no you don’t! Rest assured I am going to be checking, re-checking, and even “triple-checking” (as one fired, crappy former coworker of mine used to say when he wasn’t daily proclaiming how much he liked my shirt, “by the way”) this entire story for inconsistencies, illogicalities, and so on.[1]

    [1] No, no I will not. As I said to you regarding stories like “Hard Luck Hank: Screw the Universe”. Carry on good sir.

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