Point of View: Geometry and Absurdity

   We preach to the choir at our house, and when, following her excellent exegesis the other night of the world situation in which I could only nod in assent as each point was hammered home, Mary asked me what I thought, I said I thought it was about time to go to bed.
    Before I did, though, we agreed that if we had our druthers, we’d vote in the general election for one-fourth of Ron Paul, that quarter which says we should avoid foreign entanglements, and for three-quarters of Barack Obama — that part of him which sees the folly of combining a tax holiday for the rich with puritanical belt tightening for the rest of us and which is for education and for something approaching universal medical care.
    As for the $2 trillion or so we owe for our regrettable military adventurism in the past decade, which, aside from many dead and wounded servicemen, has achieved a civilian body count far and away surpassing the 3,000 killed in the World Trade Center attacks, and which has alienated countless more hearts and minds than ever would have been had we not acted in such haste, I can only advise that they start passing the hat.
    They can start at these debates. It’s the patriotic thing to do.
    And while the hat is being passed about, rugged individualists who want to forswear the trappings of the Welfare State, who want to get an intrusive government off their backs, should, when they dig deep for the Pentagon — presumably they will be so inclined — sign pledges to forgo Social Security payments and Medicare coverage. It’s the patriotic thing to do.
    Independent of this, on reading the other day that Plato’s school had over its entryway the inscription “Let no one untrained in geometry enter here,” I alit on what I thought was a marvelously clever idea.
    “Ah,” I said to Mary, “I’ll put one up over my office door that says, ‘Let no one untrained in absurdity enter here!’ ” And so I did.
    “Philip Roth would be proud,” she said when I made the announcement. But then, on reflection, she advised against it. “That means you’d be including all these absurd G.O.P. debaters, you know.”
    “I agree; it would be a big tent, a mighty big tent.”
    This morning I took it down from the lintel. At the moment, because I can’t bear to let it go quite yet, the red-lettered injunction is Scotch-taped to an inner wall under my favorite bumper sticker, “Honk If You Love Peace And Quiet.” I feel I owe absurdity that much.