††††††††††† It is generally supposed, among those who know me, that I have lost my marbles.This is not strictly true, as far as the metaphor goes, because I never had any marbles to begin with.Also, metaphors aside, I did have some marbles once, when I was young.And I didnít lose them, though I donít have them at the moment and I donít know where they are.This is due to a peculiar quirk of linguistics, which I will illustrate below.
††††††††††† If you have a cat, and it goes away, you do not necessarily have what would be called a Ďlost cat.íIndeed, you have no kind of cat at all.However, if you remain adequately indifferent to the catís absence, the cat cannot truly be called lost.It is simply not present.Lostness is an insubstantal and entirely subjective quality of an object.
††††††††††† The single exception to this schema is when you personally become lost.This is inevitable, regardless of your capacity for indifference.Some people, when asked where theyíre going, reply that theyíre going off to find themselves.One would surmise that theyíre lost.However, because they take themselves on the journey to find themselves, we can deduce that they are not truly lost, only bored.
††††††††††† Tolerance for boredom is a quality that is intrinsically, culturally deflationary.That is to say, the degree of nothingness (sometimes called, by Continental philosophers, The Absence of Somethingness) that people of a given generation can tolerate before being rendered entirely bored goes down over time.
††††††††††† For example, ďMarblesĒ was a popular game before the advent of electronic gaming technology.I donít know exactly how it was played, but my general feeling is that you kind of knocked the marbles around with your thumb, and something about an ĎAggie,í which is a slang abbreviation for a certain kind of marble, a particularly good one.My thinnish understanding of the game is a product of the very boredom-tolerance dynamic that I previously described.
††††††††††† This is because I had marbles, at one time, as I mentioned, but nobody ever taught me how to use them.I had a big bag of them, and it made a great marbly sound when you picked it up.Inside was a bunch of marbles.They were all different, but only in the relatively boring and shiftless way that snowflakes are different.I think my grandparents probably gave them to me.There were no instructions in the bag, and this was before the advent of the internet, which, as with all subjects, has a 50% chance of containing information about marbles that is not directly related to pornography.
††††††††††† I feel I must interrupt this relatively straightforward missive with news from the television: If you have thirty dollarsí worth of good credit, you can obtain through the mail an inflatable mattress and a small spray-bottle of a substance that keeps you from snoring.This may enable many previously hapless people to enter relatively high society.Imagine this conversation: A man has just asked a woman to have sex with him.Theyíre in a bar or something.
††††††††††† Man: I swear, itíll be great.
††††††††††† Woman:Well, I donít know... do you have a bed?
††††††††††† Man:Yep!
††††††††††† Woman:Do you snore?
††††††††††† Man:Nope!
††††††††††† Woman:Howís your credit?
††††††††††† [etc].
††††††††††† Sex has always been better than marbles, and this will continue to be the case, with marbles falling further behind sex in the boredom continuum every day.This is because sex, on average, never becomes any more boring, particularly when compared with marbles.
††††††††††† I donít really have sex anymore, for obvious reasons.Imagine, if you will, this conversation (Iím in a bar or something):
††††††††††† Me:Hey, do you want to have sex?
††††††††††† Woman:Well, I donít know... do you have a bed?
††††††††††† Me:Yep!
††††††††††† Woman:Do you snore?
††††††††††† Me:Well, I donít know, because nobody will sleep with me, so, you know, nobody is ever around to tell me if I snore or not.I suppose I could tape-record myself sleeping... but that would be kind of creepy.Okay, how about this: Iíll do a quick experiment...
††††††††††† Woman:Have you lost your marbles?
††††††††††† Me:Strictly speaking, no.Itís kind of a linguistic quirk.You see, lost is...
††††††††††† [etc].