Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Are You Talking About?

I have been feeling remorseful, thinking that perhaps I was too glib about Thomas Disch's death in my last post. The whole, "Life is hard, and I sympathize," thing. There might, occasionally, be practical reasons for suicide, but despair isn't one of them. Apologies to Mr. Disch, then, from Ms. Johnson, for speaking so smoothly about something so rough.

I was thinking earlier today about denial. About how pleasant it can be. Say, for instance, that the economy is tanking. Someone really good at denial would say, "What are you talking about?" Actually, someone really, really good at denial wouldn't even say that. Someone really, really good at denial would be so entirely oblivious that they wouldn't even know there is an economy. Much satisfaction, there.

There are many other things to be in cozy denial about, of course. Large issues, like environmental collapse. Small issues (much more fun) such as my writing. I can pretend myself in and out of success or failure in a second, depending on my mood. I think this is might be an asset.

Another example. I have seen the Rug several times now, on my early morning walks, and I remain fully convinced that he can talk. Other people would probably say dogs can't talk, but, you see, denial allows me to discard that bit of nonsense.

The Rug would talk to me, I am certain. Not out loud with other people around--not even his own person. But if we were able to spend a few private moments together, for sure he'd do more than bark. He'd tell me about life lived close to the ground, about mud and grass and fur wet with rain, about the sweet, delicious scent of doggie-donuts left behind by other dogs. I would listen. I'd wrinkle my nose, perhaps, and try not to imagine things too hard, but I would listen. We'd be friends. To hell with the economy.


C.K. said...

I'm thinking, as I wait for a family member's medical test results here, that denial is a really useful thing. I intend to get better at it. Would make life so much easier!

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson said...

I hope your family member receives good news. That's a hard wait. Fingers crossed!

Yes, denial is unfairly denigrated. I suggest practice. I am good at it, if I do say so myself.