Lessons in Authoritarian Dialogue

I spoke in riddles, and this proved useful. The audience sat perplexed and absorbed. At the end of my lecture a few approached me with questioning looks. It was largely through my adept use of stylistic remarks that I was able to evade their lengthy inquiry. The two who remained I dismissed with some haughty comment, and I sat back in my chair to enjoy the refreshing silence.

Lifting my watch and perceiving the dials, I became host to a startling revelation. It was apparent that the dials were positioned in such a way as to radiate from a sort of central axis, and through some type of hidden mechanical apparatus these dials were rotated relative to the axial position. This was in accordance with my previous experience, and my awareness of the watch as an entity would have receded to its normal transient urgency had not the orientation of both hands in combination and one hand in particular indicated that I was in fact free of any pressing business for the moment.

Assembling my belongings in a small case, I purposefully strode forth. I walked with a somewhat exaggerated limp so as to attract the attention of passersby. As one might guess I am a skilled pedestrian, and in making my way through the crowds I was aware of one or two novices mimicking my bold style and flamboyant attitude.

The office building was strict and imposing. I might have felt awe had not I been so eminently experienced in such matters. Entry to the building was straightforward; an exterior door led to a foyer which in turn led to a lobby. There waited a receptionist, who pleasantly asked my business before retreating to an inner abode.

I took this opportunity to examine the watch more closely, and to consider its contrivance in light of various objectifiable paradigms. After some time I concluded that the presence of the watch on my wrist was in itself an indication of the fact that, within the context of my conscious physical existence, the watch was approximately bounded by some function of the displacement of the wrist. Furthermore, in most foreseeable cases, one could postulate that this would remain to be the case (barring the consideration of several still theoretical and highly controversial watch designs).

Shortly, the receptionist returned, harmlessly distracting my light-hearted and serendipitous thoughts. She led me through the door and set me in the direction of a man and a woman, seated and apparently involved in work of some sort.

I halted before the two people, using dexterous hand movements to place a resume on the table between us.

I spoke in a clear voice and with a practiced inflection that was sure to impress. "I always try to express concrete thoughts in a more totalitarian way. I-"

"Of course that is your right and, some would say, your obligation," interrupted the bespectacled man who sat to her left, gnawing calmly on a plastic disposable pen. "Would you like to introduce yourself?"

Unperturbed, I ignored the man and continued. "I am here regarding the position."

The man stood and left the table, apparently intimidated by the debonair expression on my face. I maintained my beneficent gaze, turning it slowly to rest upon the table before me.

I could see that it was a table of the finest quality.

"Are you familiar with the tables of Papua New Guinea?" I asked the question in a friendly manner, and was rewarded with a look of pleased astonishment.

"It's not everyone who notices our Papua New Guinean table."

This interview was really going quite splendidly.

"We need someone... well, let me see here." She glanced down at the paper. "It says you've spent the past several years as a speaker at "... whereupon she enumerated my previous employers of note.

"That is correct." I tapped the table lightly, smiling at the pleasant sound it made.

Needless to say, I was found to be most surpassingly qualified. Presently the assignment reached my hands and I was delivered before a gaunt and shaking Professor Emeritus.

He spoke to me frankly and with great distress. "You cannot understand these pupils. They seek to drive me to who knows what end." He nervously wrote out a check to our organization. "If you are able to confuse them, or at least throw them off track while I reassess my strategy, I will be infinitely grateful."

It is a sad state of affairs, these professors who seek to teach yet have no material left to offer. I felt an upwelling of generous goodwill in my heart - such pure desire to lift his troubled soul from this unpleasant situation.

Sitting beside the professor, I listened to his introductory comments. The subject matter was tricky and the students seemed to grasp it more surely than their teacher. I was eventually introduced, and the class produced a general welcome.

In a selfless gesture of authority I raised my hand. I smiled and launched into a discussion of the material, interposing obscure references and meaningless elaboration at every possible opportunity. Every statement led to another only through the most unexpected twist of association. Every syllable meant only so much as one might guess from its immediate context. Every consonant was a mere clicking of the tongue, so timed as to give the impression of importance.

They assailed me with lengthy commentary and probing questions, but I deflected these with admirable finesse. They struggled to interpret my meaning, often stumbling and cursing the lofty and intricate texture of the language which I employed.

Allowing some time to pass, I feigned frustration. Seating myself at the professor's desk, I dictated a short summary of the session for my records.

This new line of business would really be quite enjoyable. I playfully scribbled some unfathomable abstractions upon the board, then, lifting my briefcase and turning on my heel, exited stage right.

Copyright (c) 1999