J. Robert King


The reason human knowledge advances so slowly is that those who discover any real answers use their findings selfishly. They withdraw into paradise. We benefit only from the failures of failures, who stick around hoping for Nobels and Pulitzers.

If Einstein had found the Unified Field Theory, he’d’ve combed his hair, chucked his Attends, and blipped out of his cold upstairs Manhattan lab and into a hot paradise of woman-fleshed beaches and waters bluer than windshield-wiper fluid. That’s just the sort of power the Unified Field Theory grants. If Arthur had found the Holy Grail, his grubby Dark-Ages tabard and mail would have melted to the earth, and he, robed in lightning, would have ascended (on the way perhaps burning Lancelot into a greasy smoldering turd) to choruses and coronas. If Orson Welles had made the perfect movie, his cigar would’ve transformed into a Cuban plantation, and his magic act would have drawn cloven-hoofed principalities of hell to bow at his feet.

How do I know? Because the real successes have done just these things.

In 1897, Farmer Henry Buck Rushland of Topeka discovered the Unified Field Theory in a batch of carrots he was hoeing, and now he’s sucking down cholesterol-free pina coladas on the cerebrated sandy shore of his mind’s imagining. There have been fourteen others who’ve discovered it since, all of whom are enjoying one heaven or another. As to the Holy Grail, John the Beloved absconded with it in 35 A.D., which is why he’s still alive on Patmos and still shopping around the sequel to his book of Revelation. And, the perfect movie was made by Ronald Reagan, whose performance was so great that he became president of the United States, wielding all the world’s power with none of the responsibility, and drawing homage from cloven-hoofed sorts everywhere.

There have been many others. Cancer has been cured twenty-six times, and the common cold seven thousand three hundred and thirty-two. The secrets of comfortable wool and invigorating panty hose have also been hoarded by selfish creators. Even modern horrors such as orthodontics and car repair are unnecessary holdovers from a time before perfect teeth and perfect cars were discovered.

As for me and my labors for the perfect poem, the perfect song, the perfect book . . . well, you haven’t seen the annex to my bedroom.

September 7th, 2012
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