Word of the Day:
- a person who frequently shifts opinions attitudes, interests, etc.
- a person who is vacillating or evasive in an argument.
Alright. Let’s do this:
To observe him was to instantly know him—or, at least, three things about him: He could stand to eat less; he was not nearly as caffeinated as he ought to have been; and he was a first rate, decorated, Olympic-grade whiffler. If it were to be said that whiffling is an art form, this gentleman’s first instinct would be to furtively agree, although he would hesitate to declare anything resembling a fact. Days later, he would then seek out whoever had proclaimed this to tell him or her his final opinion on the statement, which would be that he had not come to any definitive conclusion because it was much too hard.
This talented gentleman was known as Mr. Mulligan (though perhaps it might be better to call him Seamus). Unfortunately for the general population, he was employed as a lawyer, although his greatest desire was (possibly, but perhaps not) to teach ethics.
Currently, he was in a book store, discussing the merits of a particular novella with the unfortunate young man at the counter.
“Have you read this book?” asked Mr. Mulligan/Seamus.
“I have!” said the young man brightly. “It was excellent. I highly recommend it.”
Mr. Mulligan/Seamus nodded slowly. “I read it many years ago, I think,” he said.
“Oh?” said the young man. “Did you enjoy it?”
Mr. Mulligan/Seamus sighed a heavy, asthmatic sigh. “Maybe,” he said. “I rather thought I hated it when I was younger, but time does give one perspective, and I rather wonder what ‘enjoyment’ and ‘hatred’ really are, what they really mean.”
The young man rather suspected that this conversation was going in a direction of which he strongly disapproved. He swallowed down his dread, pasted a glowing smile on his face, and nodded encouragingly. “Perhaps you ought to try again, then, sir?” he suggested.
Mr. Mulligan/Seamus considered this. “Perhaps,” he said. “But should I pay for a book that I think I may have hated, even though I don’t know what hatred is, and may now enjoy, even though I don’t know what enjoyment is, and which comes so highly recommended to me by a total stranger whose taste may be very different from mine, if we can even define ‘taste’ at all.”
The young man blinked. Blinked again. Drew a breath, then realized he still hadn’t formulated a response. Mr. Mulligan had worked his magic yet again: His audience was completely baffled.
“Perhaps you could try the library, then?” the young man suggested hesitantly.
“Perhaps,” said Mr. Mulligan. He sighed and leaned against the counter, thoughtfully gazing over the young man’s head. “Perhaps…”