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Fiction

The Sickness Unto Tuesday

by David Laskowski

According to Danish philosopher, Bernard Claw, gimcrack corncrake and give the dog a bone, the self is the self when the self is not being the self, assuming, of course, the self is entirely selfless when the self is selfsame or, at least, selflessly the self, all things being the self.  Then again, this may be incorrect since this is, literally, a translation, and translations, as we know, are notoriously foreign.  The best, in other words, we can do is to acknowledge that the self, for Claw, besides being eminent, immediate, and eminently immediate, is essential to understanding the role of I in the individual.

Although this may appear, at first, secondary, and secondarily, first, it is, in actuality, tertiary in its equilateral progression through the eye of the dialectic, a tic common to philosophers, clerics, and shepherds, who specialize not in eyes, but in ewes.  More specifically, the confusion that results from the transliteration of Claw’s perfunctory panegyric is an essential aspect of the elementary encomium that exercises its influence daily upon not only philosophers, clerics, and shepherds, but also fathers, sons, and those holy spirits tired of being picked last.

Speaking sartorially, the self, for Claw, is a transmutation, or synoptic woolen, blended with an infinitely stannic nylon and a finitely flammable flannel for the purposes of reflection, or, more specifically, a casual night out on a cool alliteration.  The self, Claw suggests, results from the wariness of the transmutation, or synthesis, to the extent that its hems are not too high, a task that is much more difficult than it sounds, and is specific to the Christian, or Christian Tradition, an accountant who lives on the outskirts, or course, of Copenhagen. 

Tradition’s role in Claw’s philosophy cannot be underestimated, especially considering how much Claw makes.  Specifically, Tradition, or what many contemporary theorists call Larry for the purposes, most likely, of differentiating it from those modes and curly that, churlishly, scramble for more screen time, offers to Claw the necessary whetstone to sharpen his talons.  In other words, Tradition, or Christianity, as his mother calls him since it is, as she reminds us repeatedly, his name, gives to Claw the concept of original sin, a product, Tradition claims, of his attempt to convince his mother to let him stand in line for tickets to see his favorite classical brioche, Adam and the Eves, whose newest album, The Serpent is Satan, critics have received with open sesame. 

Unfortunately, despite Tradition’s influence, Tradition and Claw have never found a way to get along.  For Claw, Tradition is, Claw writes in the weekly circular, Roundly Speaking, “a carnivorous lily-lichen of Atlantic Cod,” a description Tradition finds very fishy since, he told his pensioners, he was, in actuality, a vegetarian.  Fortunately, Tradition’s diet has not kept Claw from utilizing Tradition’s great many disparities upon faith, hope, and charity, a group of martyred filets that reminded Claw of his own gill-bearing aquatic vertebrae. 

Specifically, Claw finds in Tradition a system of relief that can, Claw claims, redress the emperor, “giving back,” Claw argues, “to the believer, to the individual, a sense of their own infinity, or a sense of lasting longer than a few minutes, if they are lucky.” In other words, it is with Tradition that Claw determines the path to the true self through strict adherence to what Claw calls, “the effervescent evocation of eradicating eternity, or Paul, after his pet Schnauzer, Peter.” For it is only with God, the eradicating eternity, that “the self,” Claw states, “can be unified with that which is and forever shall be, forever and ever, Amen.”

However, Tradition does not fairly represent the entirety of Claw’s philosophy, only its fiduciary responsibilities.  After all, as Tradition admits, “I am only an accountant.” Truly interesting is how Claw builds upon what Tradition calls his “solid investment portfolio” by, essentially, meandering the primary elements of Tradition into a spicy menagerie of self-interest, a unfortunately paradigmatic misappropriation of Claw’s preoccupation with his primary obsessions that include, among other things, me, myself, and I, the latter being, Claw proclaims with assonant avidity, what comes after H and before J. 

Although if he had his way, I would be first, because, he writes, “it is I who experiences the greatest despair,” despair, many critics claim, the result of Claw’s own despondent tendencies.  Although Claw is quick to sunder the doilies of such manumissions, he does admit, albeit mockingly, that he does have a tendency “to peregrinate within his own abstracts,” a condition for which he imbibes many an idiom.  However, as Claw is quick to submit, his high hats and snares have little to do with what he says about them. In his commentary upon the grange, Manor Bound, Claw writes that no matter how blue his moods, what he believes as constituent of the “self-made man is prior and posterior to the knowledge that seeks to establish itself as the conscious refusal of room service,” or who would pay five dollars for a pickle. 

Still, it is hard to argue that Claw’s latent carnality, no matter how often woebegone, does not fuel his dispersive emetic, especially considering that his aromatic is consistently frowzy.  Even though his own despair is crucial to the success of his failure, many of Claw’s close friends fear that this despair might lead him to take drastic measures.  However, Claw insists he is incapable of such measures, like suicide, for example, since, he says, “I can always think of at least six people who deserve to die more than I do.” In other words, despite being, at times,
suicidal, at least in theory, Claw is, fortunately, always more misanthropic. 

In fairness to Claw, he does feel relatively bad, given the day, for his misanthropy.  This is why so many critics believe that Claw’s despair does not prod his poltroons, writes guilt-ridden cross-dressing communicant, Trans Substantiate, as much as his guilt, or his “unfashionable sense of having failed in his earthly mission.” At the heart of Claw’s pomegranate, Substantiate claims, is the concept of original sin, although how original is debatable, since Claw is not the first to become obsessed with sin.  That honor belongs, instead, to Adam Horowitz, a married insurance agent from Eden, a small garden just this side of Paradise Gulch.  Nevertheless, despite Horowitz’s claim to sin, Claw uses it to ingratiate the impossibility of overcoming it without the aid of several sedatives and a large quantity of hard liquor. 

Yet, many believe that Claw is not guilt-ridden for even though Claw is, by all accounts, flush, a statistically considerable possibility, this hand is belied by Claw’s vestigial attire, which consists, typically, of a pair of filigreed Fauntleroys and a tweed jacket from the Eighteenth Brumaire, a gift, Claw insists, from his ex-wife, Ophelia, a young noblewoman whose second husband, Hamish Proud, died at the hands of his bosom chum, Lair Ease, a lion’s den if there ever was one.  In other words, Claw has nothing about which to feel guilty.  He has led, notes Claw’s biographer, Pastry Baker, “relatively speaking and assuming a lot, a fairly exemplary life.”

According to Claw, he is, in actuality, neither guilt-ridden nor despondent since, he writes, “the self allows for one to be two or two to be one, depending of course, if you are on the top or the bottom.  Because,” he continues, “the self is a process in which each stage of the process is incorporated into each successive stage, the taxes applicable to such a process are specific in their relevance, which leads to several high-end deductions if filing a joint return.  Specifically, the more I diversifies,” Claw claims, “the better chance I has of establishing a justifiable, and therefore impenetrable, financial monopoly and any past or future selves.” Although some of Claw’s linguistic perversions may be, at first, initially repellent, Claw’s lawyer, Civil Procedure, assures us everything is “essentially legal, or as far as we know.”

Claw most radically exacerbates the self in his treatise upon the person, Neither Regions, or a clandestinely controversial screed that argues that necessarily to the self is a “sense of the divine, or me, since I best illustrate the capacity of the devout, pious, and generally disagreeable.” In other words, finding inside him those organs necessary and sufficient to arrivals and departures, Claw makes the leap of faith much like Abraham Shore of 3G who, when presented with a jar of mayonnaise without an expiration date, went ahead and used it to make, Abe’s son recalls, a “delightfully creamy sandwich that satiated my dad’s hunger for almost an entire afternoon.” That Abe died later that evening due the cutest case of food poisoning doctors had ever seen matters little since no one really liked Abe that much anyway.  Faith, for Claw, despite being easy to spell, is primary to Claw’s search for his self, last seen, Claw notes, near the A & P.  “Faith is,” Claw argues, “better than both belief and responsibility since both are burdens too heavy for even my cousin Polonius Limburger, who emits the strongest odor one can imagine.” However, despite its lugubrious ebullience, faith needs, Claw claims, “to be renewed daily, preferably with excess, for faith is a harsh mistress capable of telling your wife what you have been up to.” In other words, faith, for Claw, besides being “difficult,” is also “absurd, especially considering the cost of a hotel room these days,” a cost that, thankfully, Claw deducts as a business expense from two unlikely premises.  In addition, faith can also prove difficult because as a gift, Claw notes, from God, “one feels endlessly thankful, if only, between you and me, one can never thank God enough.” Specifically, faith, as a gift, requires eternal thank you notes, preferably, Claw suggests, with chocolates or hard liquor. 

Post-partum to this faith is ethics, or, more specifically, an ethical choice regarding the ethical nature of ethics, an ethical quandary revolving around the ethical quality of ethical morality, a redundancy crucial to repetition, or reiteration, a replication or reverberation, so to speak, of several concepts unnecessarily, or gratuitously, reproduced, so to speak, for the purposes of elucidating the repetitive nature of most thought.  In other words, yes, or, speaking figuratively, a square and a circle walk into a bar.  Suffice it to say, Claw’s pursuit of an ethical tail left him to ask of himself the kind of questions typically reserved for late nights in a forest preserve, such as “do you think there is a God dude?” They were, in other words, the kinds of questions that could lead to, among other things, failing grades and gradient phalanges caught in car doors. 

Yet, we should not hold such reductive questions against Claw since Claw only got them from the two books Claw claims as his inspiration for his award-winning noxious exhalation of miasmic morality, Putrescent Matters: the speciously ancient tome, Sum of My Days are Better than Others, by that most particularly pedantic of ruminating cuds, St. Rumpus Aquiline, or He of the Eagle’s Beak, and R. U. Censorious’ The Spelt of Jesus, the alarmingly alacritous study of that humbly aristocratic misanthropist, Yardley Hobbs, who in his blatant superiority to his fellow idioms, had been central to Buoy’s ill-begotten mastication with the public mud.  In other words, a duct in the crawlspace is better than two quacks in the attic.

Such questions were, for Claw, necessary in establishing the universal resentment sufficient for a belief in the overweening power of Christ, who is central, if not east, to Claw’s district, the arbitrarily publicly funded fulminate that led to Claw’s belief in forgiveness, when it is deserved.  For Claw, in addition to serving a wicked ace, Christ, in all portents and purposes, would come again, a reference, most likely, to hedging the trims and trimming the bets of an otherwise perfunctory parish.  In other words, Claw’s essential ethics, a morass of potent plenipotentiaries bordering on the scrappy, sought, through Christ, a redemptive clause insuring the fine print for all further tracts and acreage. 

Unfortunately, such a ramshackle demanded great restrictions to the customary radish of everyday relish.  In other words, Claw’s ethical requirements required of the quotidian rasher a wildly expurgated excusal of proprietary enjoyments, including, of course, self-flagellation and self-conurbation, the latter coming after the former.  Suffice it to say, followers were not quick to prostrate, leaving Claw with nothing more than a busied ego and an empty stomach, which, Claw claimed, was perfect since it proved his theory accessible. 

That his philosophy was unpopular did not bother Claw since, Claw claimed, to achieve such a higher stage of consciousness “takes until at least three o’clock,” and it was only, he remarked, noon.  In other words, there was plenty of time.  In addition, Claw noted, in terms of the leap necessary to move beyond human capacities, there was something needed that “man had yet to cultivate, and,” Claw added, “I am not talking about a garden.” However, what he was “talking about” no one knows, including, critics agree, Claw himself who, unfortunately for Claw, died soon after making mincemeat out of his dog, a practice notable for being fictional, which, unlike Claw’s philosophy, could be disregarded along with all the other trash.



David Laskowski' photo

David Laskowski lives in Fort Collins, CO.

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