Bryson Newhart



The little men who are always hashing over their dubious plans made according to the undefined dictates of mechanisms that operate so far beyond their sphere of influence that we cannot even begin to imagine what these mechanisms are close to—assuming all distant things are at least close to something, as we have so often assumed in the past—are once again tired of their tedious administrative role, and can now be seen, from outside the planning room, to shake their tiny fists in anger and stand up from their assigned seats.
      It is during such moments of standing and fist shaking, however inconsequential in terms of the important issues—issues that none of us have ever had the least notion of—that the larger people in the group actually sit down in exasperation, their large clumsy hands draped over their heads like towels.
      Hence, outside witnesses may observe a small wave rising up, more or less concurrent with a large wave sitting down: a phenomenon clearly visible through the thick, soundproof glass that separates the conference room from the observation deck. What will remain murky, however, due to issues of sound and distance, is the cause of these repeated up-and-down, fist-shaking, hand-draping motions.
      Notwithstanding, if such a word can be withstood, the witnesses will have little interest in causes and will be pleased enough with the effect of it all—with important questions of comparison, such as, "just how small were those little men?" and "just how big were the big ones? Could a little one fit into the breast pocket of a big one, for example, and if so, would such an angry little guy be willing, if he were able, to lift the big one's pens with his tiny, shaking fists?"



(At the time that I wrote this piece, as well as the writing outside of these parentheses, a few years ago) I was spaced out beyond double space (in a mire of hopeless office frustration). If myself was divided into my and self, it was like the spacebar had been depressed for years. (I was a robot in a sea of data entry.) The space available in my life felt like margins on a page surrounding text already written: space only good for holding with dirty fingers or on which to note corrections that would never be made (which is where I had to teach myself to write). The space inside my lungs was too small (so I conducted illegal breathing exercises on the job, hiding them in emails to myself) and between my ears it was empty. Although something still rattled when I shook my head. Scraps of aluminum? A binder clip? Washers? (And I saw these respirations as the nuts and bolts for the construction of a future escape pod, although most of that early writing was pretty bad.) The space between my toes and the front of my shoes was too small. (But I kept running.) I had difficulty breathing as I limped (further and further into myself). There wasn't any space inside my heart (which brings this description up to speed). Someone had filled it with ice (I began sledding inside my veins). Or in my dreams. Someone had filled them with nightmares (I have always liked my dreams, for it is warmer on top of the mountain). But there was plenty of space in my memories. I never had time to make any (so I started living in a fantasy world).