Schrodinger's Dachshund

Lay with Cudahy?

Petronius Jablonski grew up in this fine city. The defamation of a man’s hometown is no better than slandering his mother. This meme is an atrocity, spawn of ancient prejudice.

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STAND with Cudahy, give the finger to snobbery. The Annals of Petronius Jablonski: An Odyssey of Historic Proportions and Priceless Treasure of Philosophy includes a magisterial History of Cudahy’s taverns, Proustian woolgathering, Tristram Shandy-like digressions, and the revolution of Western thought. Cudahy has a rich Life of the Mind. We just don’t wear it on our jammies. Let the real Cudahy arise.

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The gloomy, taciturn Dr. Harris, glaring at us through bifocals and removing them to intensify his sulphurous gaze, stroked his unkempt beard and shook his head when we proposed a joint independent study titled, A History of the Cudahy Taverns: Packard Avenue. We returned the following day to plead our case, wielding the deadly argument that his dismissive reference to Cudahy as “some small, blue-collar abutment of Milwaukee” was no less contemptuous than describing the Temiar of Malaysia (his dissertation subject) as a group of uninteresting savages with absurd religious beliefs. A twenty-minute session of furious beard stroking ensued, probably infested by the realization that we had actually perused his dreadful, meandering doorstop.

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Sheridan Park 1984

“Alright boys,” he whispered. “Three credits. Due at the end of the fall semester. I will not give you an incomplete. I will not extend the due date.” After a brief but intense session of beard stroking, he removed his bifocals and fixed us with his legendary disintegrating stare. “Don’t disappoint me.”

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Packard Avenue in the Olden Times

I emerged from his office like Trajan returning from Dacia, but Buzzcut expressed reservations. Though in possession of an uncharacteristically athletic mind for a member of our generation, a congenital diffidence often restrained him from ambitions of heroic proportions. “Petronius, what if there aren’t any records at city hall or the historical society?”

“Records? We are starting ex nihilo. The historian who relies on books is no more than a glorified plagiarist. We are poised to become the primary source to which posterity, in humble gratitude, shall turn. For this we must go to the primordial, oracular sources themselves.”

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Where Does Time Go?

The vintage Schlitz globe above the entrance to Otto’s tavern, was it not an atlas of dreams, radiant with the light from a better world? “Bottle of Pabst,” I commanded, my voice a crash of thunder. Though billions of nights had preceded this one, and billions would follow, I detected a singularity, a hand-woven weave in the strands of Fate. I beheld the label on my bottle as Edmund Hilary must have looked upon the flag he planted atop Everest.

“I think we’ll need to present this thing as a horizontal tree, the trunk being the first tavern established,” said Buzzcut. “Branches multiply over the course of the century.”

“Will we wear cute matching dresses when we present our little chart? Will we invite our mommies? Will we serve cookies?”

“We have too much data to put in a simple paper,” he said, squeezing a slice of lemon over a gin and tonic.

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Second car belonged to the Cudahy Kid

“No doubt Boswell warned Johnson not to put too many words in his dictionary.”

“Different old-timers are giving us different names and dates. We at least need a thesis.”

“Please remind me, what was Suetonius’ thesis? Did he use a mulberry or chestnut tree to coalesce the staggering volume of data he worked with? A great historian does not theorize; he installs a window where none existed, he provides a clear view of what has been obscured.”

“Gibbon theorized.”

“I am aware of that great man’s shortcomings,” I snapped, “all of which are more than redeemed by his pinnacling prose. Now, while we gather data unrelentingly, tonight we must address the question of whether to begin with a prologue, a prolegomenon, or a preamble. I contend that a prolegomenon is the proper choice, prologues being the filthy denizens of science fiction and fantasy novels. And given Harris’ modest scholarship we can safely assume he has never before encountered a prolegomenon. The very word will strike terror into his black heart, an overture of the awe that will send him to his knees long before our addendum to our prolegomenon.”

A Mesmerizing Excerpt

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Petronius Who?

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2 thoughts on “Lay with Cudahy?

  1. URdust-NotMe says:

    I’m finishing chapter II. My primary complaint is that it had to end. Petronius’ Shovel is the most revolutionary philosophic concept since Occam’s Razor. However, regarding the first breathtaking appearance of your mighty tool and your subsequent handling of it: there exists a discrepancy, possibly a logical contradiction. When you introduced your Shovel, you demonstrated how it penetrates the illusory surface and digs straight to the root of Reality to reveal the primordial strangeness of all things. This was not given as an example of a particular act, but as a general antecedent of all penetrations performed by your invincible tool. Yet posterior to your demonstration, you cite several examples of particular penetrations, one which occurred anterior to your demonstration. Have you not blurred the critical line betwixt a general anterior and a particular posterior?

  2. petroniusj says:

    The student was not sent to forage through Part II like a ravening bear, but to perfect his comprehension of its essential concepts and occurrences. Nonetheless, a fair point is raised. Aristotle first warned of the hazards inherent in confounding these concepts, and if I have done so I am guilty of nothing less than a logical felony. My defense will consist of two parts. First, a brief comment on the possibility that a misperception of ambiguity occurred — understandable given the enthralling nature of the text.

    It is conceivable that the Reader, shattered from his initial brush with Part II, became overwhelmed with dread by the grave warning at the beginning and slipped into a delirium. I implored him to attempt Part II again when his mind was at its zenith. In the course of a day, this period usually corresponds to a time subsequent to the consumption of a caffeinated beverage. Apparently some men do not differentiate between one such drink and twelve. Consequently, no distinction is drawn between a state of enhanced cognitive agility and a pathologic condition where the mind paces a cage like a tiger. Students, far from being an exception to this tendency, are more likely to succumb to it. I insist the Reader again attempt the glorious summit tomorrow with a clear head, having consumed only one. He should perform his next reading standing. During the more intense passages, pacing is advised: book in one hand, chin in the other.

    ***

    At this point the Reader might accuse me of avoiding the singular thrust of his objection. Patience is advised. I have been limbering up before entering the ring with Aristotle. My philosophic muscles supple, I am prepared to grapple with him. Now, as both he and Thomas Aquinas conceived of the concept, a particular posterior is distinct from —

    A bitter and melancholy dagger pierces my heart. The Reader used his prima facie intelligent question to stage a crude burlesque, hoping that I, entangled in nets of logic, would remain oblivious to the coming pratfall. And where had he hoped to go with this? To Sandy, no doubt. Fast approaching was some utterly craven punch line about how “he’d love to penetrate that particular posterior.” The poor girl has been free of her terminal disfigurement for all of a few pages and the Reader cannot abstain? If such was his intention he has succeeded magnificently — in making a particular posterior of himself. Metaphysical jokes work on many levels, dear Reader, many levels.

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