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A Questioning Thought

An obsession is a terrible thing to waste. That’s why I indulge myself in it as often as I breathe during the day. Well, quite often anyway.

My mind tends to bombard me on a continual basis about so many things that sometimes the overload causes mental awareness shutdown. What is awareness shutdown?

That’s when a mental question smacks the consciousness so hard that all other considerations, including where the person happens to be located, falls away. The person is left grappling with the various aspects of answering the question. Only that wrestling match exists until a resolution comes forward.

Case in point: Why do people feel the need to run on freshly seeded lawn, leaving gouging footprints behind?

I asked myself that question as I returned this afternoon from the Laundry Room. Do such people fear that they’ll leave behind no other memorable marks on this Earth? Are they trying to copy the “Footprints in the Sand” poster that most people recognize? What is their motivation?

Doesn’t sound very important on the face of it, does it? To someone like me, though, it begs significant consideration, since my obsession is writing. And all things relate to the written word, as all writers, whether of prose or verse, know. Without knowing the character’s motivation, predicting future behavior becomes chancy at best, abysmal at worst. Besides, that simple seeming event could birth a great little story.

For example: Rennie looked back along the line of his footprints. Rennie’s lip curled up at the corner. Deep divots in the freshly seeded lawn showed his progress. He’d wait for his father’s reaction to this before planning his next bit of revenge.

The motivation behind the character’s behavior reveals something about both the inner workings of said character and about his relationship with his father. In other words, dual purpose sentences emerge from one act.

Here’s another stray looking for a home.

A few days ago I watched part of a Food Network show where pastry chefs competed to take the rank of greatest pastry chef alive, or some such title. The episode’s challenge of the day was to create a fantasy masterpiece, capable of flying (the final test of the creation,) and do it with only one major ingredient – sugar. They could use water and food dyes, as well.

For those who don’t know what they were making, it was sugar glass. Sugar glass is that marvelous concoction that looks like glass, colored or clear, that is used in the film and theater industry to simulate the real thing. It’s also used for break-away bottles for bar fights and glass windows that will have people thrown through them, etc. Costs very little to make, can be recycled easily, and doesn’t hurt anyone in the process.

While I watched a few minutes of the process on that show, I began asking myself questions. I know what it’s used for in show business. Anyone with a candy thermometer, plenty of sugar, and patience can make it with practice.

I asked myself about the illusory quality to all things in the everyday world. Given the state of art today around the world, Photoshop capabilities to crop, blend, restructure, etc. the photos we see, and what we’re shown on TV, how much of what we see is actually real? Do we now live in a world of total illusion? Can we trust our eyes with anything shown us in any medium to be a true representation of its subject?

For instance, what would happen if a person went to sleep one day and woke up in a different place? Let’s say that this other place is one created for the purpose of driving this person to insanity. How long would it take for the person to figure out that the glass wasn’t what it appeared to be? After all, if the maker of the sugar glass was very good, a quick glance wouldn’t reveal the truth.

What if the landscapes outside those candy windows were merely a projection that changed with the hours shown by a clock’s hands. If the exits – windows and doors — were all locked, and food arrived mysteriously while the subject slept (probably drug-induced), would the subject figure it out before extreme mental distress ensued?

When you come right down to it, how do we know anything we hear on the news is real without our being physical witnesses to it? We learn every day about scams played on the citizens by one gov’t agency or another. It doesn’t stretch the mind any to find that question lurking around.

As I said earlier, the writing obsession leads to many questions, some of which have uncomfortable answers. Have you checked your windows lately to verify whether that’s real glass? What about that photo of your new future companion who flirts with you online?

More than that, though, is one ultimate question that acts as umbrella for all others. Do you care how much of any such question affects you, and why? Okay, so it’s a combo question. Still, give it some thought. See what you come up with. If you’ve found an illusion that we live with on a regular basis, let me know. Drop it in a comment. Share it with the world so the rest of us can wrestle with it, too.

A bientot,


  1. me
    November 16, 2010 at 3:38 am


  2. November 29, 2010 at 7:04 am

    one can argue that it can go both ways

    • claudsy
      December 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      Of course! That’s what questions do, isn’t it?

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