I hate public displays of intelligence
July 23, 2012
Divorce and Kitty Litter is the first novel in a four part series called Fred and Me. Fred being my cat. Who talks. At the time I wrote this I was heavily influenced by Central and South American writing. I like the idea that almost anything was possible in the novel. Too many of the novels I read (American and Canadian) seemed to have been written so that they could be studied. The South Americans wrote to be read.
Excerpt from Divorce and Kitty Litter
I hate public displays of intelligence. Most people do, which explains the low ratings for CBC programming. New ideas are dangerous, not because the masses rally around them, but because they anger the beast. The masses do not want things to change. They do not want the status quo challenged, mainly because change usually comes in the form of war, depressions, plagues, famine. And I was nervous because I was afraid, afraid of failure or more precisely of making a fool of myself. I recalled the nightmarish experience of defending my master’s thesis. Dr. Deck, my thesis counselor, had promised me that it would be a small polite affair, lasting only ten or fifteen minutes. It was to be held in the faculty lounge. When I showed up, the place was packed. Everyone in the department, staff as well as graduate students and some maintenance people had decided to attend. Dr. Deck had assured me that there would only be two or three people in the committee that questioned my work. There were a half dozen. I looked around. My skin was turning clammy, my clothes beginning to shrink. There was a coffee machine in the corner of the room, a drop of coffee hanging precariously from the spout. It wouldn’t drop.
After I read a short synopsis of my work, questions were tendered. I was able to field the first two questions quite easily. Then Dr. Pinto, a short rotund professor known throughout the university for his acid wit, rose. He turned and made a short speech to the gathered throng who after he had finished, laughed and gave him a round of applause. I hadn’t understood a word he had said. I folded my hands together as if to pray. Jabbing his fingers into his vest pockets and raising himself upon his tiptoes, Dr. Pinto addressed me. His question was in three parts. By the time he reached the third part of his question, I couldn’t remember the first. I looked around the room. My tongue, which is quite long, fled like a frightened puppy into my throat. A black hole suddenly appeared in my brain, sucking in all forms of consciousness. My eyes rolled up into my head. I passed out. That was my last day as a student at the University of Windsor. Later that summer Dr. Deck died of a heart attack trying to teach his teenage sons how to slam dunk a basketball. Dr. Pinto later married, producing a number of offspring, one of whom became an infamous serial killer in British Columbia.