Monday, March 30, 2009

The Man in the Mask

God has given you one face, and you make yourself another. ~William Shakespeare

I spend a lot of time these days masquerading as a normal person. And I'm becoming quite good at it, if I do say so myself.

You make various adjustments in your style of response, in what appears to be your baseline character. You become thoughtful rather than quick witted; you become deliberate rather than decisive. You learn to delay and divert, and you learn to reserve your mental resources in order to apply them to the expenditure of buying time--for you are continually behind the curve, continually catching up, and continually covering up.

I become therefore a magician. My tools are diversion and slight of hand. There is most certainly a bird or two up my sleeve. The competence I seem to possess is a product of sheer illusion.

I am a shape shifter and a changeling. I may appear to be the prince, but I am in fact the toad.

My secret, that which I so carefully intend to disguise, is stupidity, ineptitude, forgetfulness, sluggishness; all that is feeble, slow, dull, unworthy--a mental impotence that eats away at personal pride and self-esteem as surely as mice eat at the block of cheese.

Some people apply their efforts toward designing the latest rocket engine, some toward winning the Nobel prize. I apply mine toward the goal of thinking straight for five to ten minutes at a time.

I am not so much the man in the mask, as I am the mask itself.

No comments: