“So, Biff,” said the fox, “I’ve been doing some thinking about this whole connection and reality thing.”
“And what did you come up with, fox?” I said.
“Well…I think you might be wrong about the connection between me and someone on Skype not being as real an experience as when I’m with them physically.”
“How so, fox?” I said.
“OK…so I’m not breathing the same air or feeling the same temperature and I won’t go down the tubes with them if there’s an earthquake,” said the fox, “but I can still respond to their thoughts. They can tell me everything that’s on their mind…you know…reach out to me with their mind and express their feelings. They might not be as willing to do that when they’re physically with me.”
“So you’re saying that the electronic connection might be more real than the physical connection?” I said.
“Sometimes,” said the fox. “Like when people write letters to other people. I think sometimes people are more open and express themselves more clearly when they’re writing to someone than when they’re talking to them. Some people are more comfortable with written words than with spoken words.”“Guess I can go with you on that one, fox,” I said. “Writing gives you a chance to think about what you’re saying instead of just burping the words out of your mouth like I do.”
“You burp words, Biff?” said the fox.
“Feels like it sometimes, fox,” I said. “But how does a letter relate to Skyping? There’s no reflection…you’re talking, not writing.”
“But you’re not physically with the person,” said the fox, “like you said. What I’m saying is that sometimes the physical world can be less real than the worlds we create in the ways we communicate.”
“Not quite getting this, fox,” I said. “Are you sure you haven’t been hibernating?”
“Gonna ignore that remark, Biff,” said the fox. “Let’s visit a friend of mine.”
(Poof. As in transporting somewhere.)
I was in a room, I think…a home office, with the mandatory shelves (but with nothing on them), the mandatory swivel chair (with nobody sitting on it) and the mandatory desktop with monitor, keyboard and mouse…with a bar of soap lying between the mouse and the keyboard.
“What’s this?” I said. But the fox wasn’t there.“I’m a bar of soap, Biff, a bar of soap!” said the soap.“Bars of soap don’t talk,” I said. “ This is something I know.”
“Sometimes you have to just give into letting yourself know extraordinary things, Biff,” said the soap. “Or all you’ll ever know is the ordinary. And where would the magic be in that?”
“But you’re a bar of soap,” I said.
“No,” said the soap, and started jumping all over the keyboard and pushing the mouse around. It was kind of creepy. As the soap jumped and pushed, things appeared on the screen. A blog appeared on the screen. It looked familiar. In fact, I really recognized it. It was my blog. Silence Says I All (…but, on the other hand…). There was that big greenish yellow eye staring at me (not really an eye though…some kind of tube holder screwed into the side of a caboose that I took pictures of long ago).
The soap jumped around some more and my WordPress account appeared, open to the new post page. Words appeared like a frantic stampede of letters filling the text window. The cursor hit the Add Media button and went to the media folder where it opened a picture of me with my usual body, but a bar of soap sitting on my shoulders in place of my head.
“Very funny,” I said. “But that’s not me.”
“But it could be, Biff,” said the soap. “And nobody in the world would know it. All I have to do is press the Publish button.”
“So what are you saying, soap?” I said.
“Without the picture, everybody who reads what I just wrote and sees the picture would think it was you,” said the soap.
“I still don’t get it,” I said.
“It would be real to them, Biff,” said the soap. “Just as real as anything else in their lives. Even though it was written by a bar of soap and not you.”
“But it wouldn’t really be real,” I said. “It wasn’t written by me.”
“Doesn’t matter, Biff,” said the soap. “Some sociologist guy once said that if something is perceived to be real, then it will be real in its consequences. In other words, it becomes real because we accept it as real. That’s the beauty, Biff, we can make things…anything…real by accepting them as real.”
The soap jumped around some more on the keyboard and wrote: Biff’s a bar of soap. Biff’s a bar of soap!” Over and over. Filling the text window.
“But nobody’s going to accept that I’m a bar of soap,” I said.
“And that’s it, Biff,” said the soap. “Getting them to accept the extraordinary.”
“You mean…” I tried to say.
“That peace is possible,” said the soap, “is an extraordinary thought.”
And the soap danced across the keyboard. I looked closer to see what it was writing when suddenly…
I was standing at the edge of a cliff with a thousand foot drop into the ocean with the sun rising over a great expanse of possibilities. Gulls circled in the sky.
“Nice view,” said the fox.
“It certainly is,” I said.
“Getting any closer in your search, Biff?” said the fox.
“I think so, fox,” I said. “Kinda like a jigsaw puzzle and I’m getting the pieces from all over the place.”
“Think you’ll be able to put them together, Biff?” said the fox.“That’s what the search is all about, fox,” I said.
(To be continued. Piece by piece.)
“Do you really burp your words, Biff,” said the fox.
“Only when I’m talking, fox.”