Subject: Bob the Existential Lifeguard Blues

Date: Sun, 9 Aug 1998 15:50:29 -0400

From: "MasterChopper" <>

Newsgroups: alt.slack


The problem is, it's just not enough to live by the rules. Sure, you manage

to live by them. Sometimes it's tight, extremely tight, but on the whole

you manage. Your taxes are up to date. Your bills paid on time. You never

go out without your identity card (and the special little wallet for your



And yet you haven't any friends.


What's to be done? How do you use your time? In dedicating yourself to

helping others? But basically other folk don't interest you. Listening to

records? It used to be a solution, but as the years go by, you have to say

that music moves you less and less.


Taken in its widest sense, a spot of do-it-yourself can be a way out. But

the fact is nothing can halt the ever-increasing recurrence of those moments

when your total isolation, the sensation of an all-consuming emptiness, the

foreboding that your existence is nearing a painful and disasterous end, all

combine to plunge you into a state of real suffering.


And yet you haven't always wanted to die.


You have had a life. There have been moments when you were having a life.

Of course you don't remember too much about it; but there are photographs to

prove it. This was probably ocurring around the time of your adolescence,

or just after. How great your appetite for life was then! Existence seemed

rich in possibilities. You might form a band, go off to Venezuela.


More surprising still, you have had a childhood. Observe, now, a child of

seven, playing with his little soldiers on the living-room carpet. Please

observe him closely. Since the divorce he no longer has a father. Only

rarely does he see his mother, who occupies an important position in a

cosmetics firm. Nevertheless, he plays with his little soldiers and the

interest he takes in these representations of the world and of war seems

very keen. He already lacks a bit of affection, that's for sure, but what

an air of being interested in the world!


You too have been interested in the world. That was long ago. I ask you to

cast your mind back to then. The world of rules was no longer enough for

you; you had to enter the world of struggle. I ask you to go back to that

precise moment. It was long ago, wasn't it? Cast your mind back: the water

was cold.


You are far from the edge, now. Oh yes! How far from the edge you are!

You long ago believed in the existence of another shore: that is no longer

the case. You go on swimming, though, and every movement you make brings

you closer to drowning. You are suffocating, your lungs are on fire. The

water seems colder and colder to you, less and less of a joke. You aren't

that young anymore. Now you are going to die.


It's nothing. Bob is there. He won't let you sink. Everything is okay.


Go on with your reading.



An asteroid is likely to pass within 30,000 miles of Earth on

Oct. 26, 2028, a Thursday, and there is a possibility that it

will hit Earth.


"The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to

appreciate it". -- Franklin P. Jones