Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kafka In A Can

Of course the conclusions you draw from what you're about to read depend on your view of life. But if you've got even a pinch of cynicism then you should be informed of an author who wrote like a kindred spirit. He was the late Kobo Abe, a twentieth century writer who has been heralded as the Japanese Kafka. To make the connection between these two scribblers I'll refer to his novel about a protagonist who lives both inside his head and a cardboard box that becomes his mask. It's Abe's statement about the numbing conformity of modern society and how an individual avails himself of a box to preserve a thread of his humanity. A comparison can be made to Kafka's short story 'Metamorphosis,' where a twentieth century man wakes up an insect, imprisoned inside a cockroach's armor.

So I look at an empty can of Diet Coke sitting next to the corner of my keyboard and wonder what it would be like to shrink myself and make it my solitary home. If I could find a total body reducer machine I just might try it. Shrink a ladder along with me as my mode of entry. I could bore some holes through the walls in order to allow a freer flow of air and gain a better view of whatever surrounded me. But there are downsides to consider. Like the errant smoker who drops a cigarette butt into my new home like a smoldering A-bomb. Worse yet would be the overzealous 'dogooder' who collects the can and tosses it--me bouncing around inside--into a bin of recyclable water bottles and plastic yogurt containers.

Might be just as well do give up on these crazy ideas and continue my blogging. Better that than breathe inside a modernist can with all its risks.

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