as my whimsy takes me

“you know what?”

“no. what?”

“you’re too serious.”

“am i now?”

“much, much too serious. in fact, i can’t imagine you ever being a child.”

“that’s ridiculous. everyone starts life as a child.”

“no, some people are born old men and never recover. others, if they’re lucky, achieve childhood before they die.”

“you seem to lack a firm grasp on basic concepts of biology.”

“and your imagination is in a sad state of decay attributable to a severe case of literalism. in fact, i think it may prove to be fatal.”

“are you trying to insult me?”

“oh no, no, not at all. i would never dare insult someone so serious-minded as you. i think you would miss the point entirely.”

“i certainly think i have missed whatever point you are trying to make … if indeed you are trying to say anything that makes any sort of logical sense to a sane person.”

“what is sanity, exactly? what is reason? what is logic?”

“merely some of the underlying principles that guide our world.”

“oh, indeed? tell me — if you were to take a walk in the woods and suddenly come upon a tall, spindly spotted beast with a monstrous long neck and two knobby horns sprouting from its mild, deer-like head … tell me, what exactly about that would you find logical?”

“since i may presume this is a hypothetical animal you have constructed merely for the purpose of proving some absurd point, i don’t feel particularly compelled to dignify your question with an answer.”

“we are now bringing dignity into the picture, are we? how ghastly serious you are. very well. if i were to tell you that this hypothetical animal i constructed merely for the sake of argument is in reality a giraffe — a creature which any child of three could tell you is wonderful because it is whimsical — what would you say to that?

“i should say i consider the probability of a single child of three being able to articulate the relative merits of giraffes in such terminology to be rather slight, and to propose that most children could comprehend such a thing is preposterous, at best. most children of three, i wager, would not be able to pronounce the word “whimsical,” let alone understand the elegant phraseology you are trying to credit them with speaking.”

“there you go off chasing the rabbit of literalism again. while i grant you that a child, especially a child of three, may not literally use the words “wonderful” and “whimsical” to describe a giraffe, those are concepts a child knows so intuitively as to need no explanation of a giraffe’s whys and wherefores. of course it is a giraffe, so of course it must look fantastic and spindly and doe-eyed. whimsy is extremely logical to a child. but excuse me — i suppose you are much, much too proper and grown up to ever chase even metaphorical rabbits. i do beg your pardon.”

“somehow i don’t think you ever grew out of being a child.”

“and heaven forbid i ever should.”

“oh, come now — are you going to bring the high, holy solemnity of heaven to bear on your argument of whimsy and irresponsibility? would you thusly mock the dignity of God, to drag heaven down and make all the angels dance rings on the lawn around your meek-mannered monster of a giraffe? would you make the saints caper hand-in-hand with your three-year-olds and weave crowns of daisies?”

“i never argued in favor of being irresponsible.”

“you said i was too serious.”

“so i did.”

“you said i was too literal.”

“so you are.”

“you insinuated i had never been a child and had been born an old man.”

“i highly suspect that is the truth.”

“how can you stand there, then, and claim to be advocating anything but irresponsibility? your whole manner indicates you think nothing of the responsibilities of adulthood, care nothing for the concerns men and women must struggle through day in and day out merely in order to survive. i ask you for logical argument, and you wage your battle in favor of whimsy with armies of infants and giraffes. and you ask heaven to support you in this delusion. it is nothing less than absurd, and nothing more than insane.”

“do you mind if i say something?”

“you have excelled so far at saying nothing.”

“i would merely like to point out two facts.”

“very well. point away.”

“‘unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”

“and the second?”

“it is God who made the giraffe.”