Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Monday, June 02, 2003

Failure of the Day: Reality and Realty

Have I mentioned my phantom smells and phantom tastes?

I have carte blanche to eat whatever crap I want today on account of my ovaries/jackhammers, and the crap of the moment is itty bitty Krackel candy bars, which Chris keeps a mighty supply of in the house at all times for just such feminine road construction. But I ate one and it tasted just like watermelon! Now, the question is, did it really taste like watermelon, or did I just think it tasted like watermelon?

This is a trickier question that it might seem. Because even if Chris comes home and eats a Krackel and tells me conclusively that it does not taste like watermelon, that doesn't prove that the one I ate didn't taste like watermelon. But the weird thing is, even if I had saved half of the watermelon-tasting Krackel, and Chris ate that and said conclusively that it does not taste like watermelon, that STILL wouldn't mean that it didn't taste like watermelon to me.

But here's the thing: Odds seem pretty good that the Krackel didn't have any watermelon flavor, it's more likely that I was having a sensory hallucination, which I do more often than really anybody knows. I experienced a watermelon taste, and my experience was real, even if there wasn't a real sensory trigger.

Here's a story: We have this cookie jar, a ceramic thing of Batman and Superman busts back to back. Chris loves it and I do too, but when I open the top, inside, it smells like poop. I mean very explicitly and exactly like poop. It smells only like the regular inside of a cookie jar to Chris. He has been scrubbing and washing and soaping and disinfecting and scouring this cookie jar for years, seriously. Poor guy, he just wants to put some damn cookies in his cookie jar. I feel bad, but I can't stomach the smell of the cookies when they come out of the jar, the cookies are ruined for me, and Chris can't abide by that either, and as a result, our cookie jar is now where we keep garlic and onions.

Now, I really can smell the poop. Chris cannot smell the poop, but he has to behave as though there is a poop smell (although this is purely out of courtesy, devotion, and a truly inhuman amount of patience); he doesn't accept my reality because either A) he can't smell the poop or, B) the poop smell isn't "really" there. Is there a difference between not being able to smell it and it not really being there? I don't know. But it's easier for him to accept my reality and keep our cookies elsewhere than it is for me to accept his reality and try to eat cookies that smell like shit. And I wonder if this isn't the way consensus reality should break down in all cases…we'll accept hallucinations as true when that is easier than the hallucinators accepting the reality.

Also, our old landlord is the devil.


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