DENNIS O’NEIL: Between The Panels
Unless you’re not reading it at all because the doomsayers were/are right and maybe the world stopped existing at midnight, or stopped ever having existed, which would pretty much cancel you and me, and make who’s reading what moot.
Or maybe…you’re not you and I’m not I. Maybe we exist in parallel universes and because of some unthinkable and pretty dumb cosmic anomaly, what I’m typing into my computer changes places with what my other-universe doppelganger is typing into his computer – the same words, same typos, same everything, only a different and completely identical reality.
Can you say that it isn’t so? Can you be absolutely certain that it isn’t so? I thought not. (Or we thought not?)
Or maybe…this is all a hallucination. Maybe I’m a brain in a vat being fed an illusory existence by who-knows-what kind of mad – or utterly sane – scientist. Or maybe old Rene Descartes was right and I’m at the mercy of a demon who’s feeding me the illusions. Which, of course, posits that demons exist. But heed me, all you skeptics – can you prove that demons don’t exist? (I won’t even mention unicorns.)
Or – still on the topic of illusions – maybe it’s about 50 years ago and I’m driving home late on a Friday night after being dumped by my girlfriend of four years and, full of woe, I’ve accidentally run a red light and been hit by a Walnut Park bus and in these, my last few moments, I’ve hallucinated a long life which includes eventually marrying the young woman who’s just terminated our romance. Any nanosecond now, lights out.
A final hypothesis appropriate to the venue we’re occupying, you and I and our other selves, if any: maybe we’re all characters in a comic strip created by a staggeringly advanced writer-artist with really excellent equipment – no sable brushes and india ink bottles for him/it. No, he/it has tools we wouldn’t know how to use even if reality glitched and we got our hands on them and his/its existence, if any, certainly explains all the stuff that vexes and disturbs and dismays us and torments our days, the stuff we just can’t dammit understand!
How? Well, think about it. Maybe all that would help us make sense of our lives happens between the panels and since we don’t exist there, between those panels, we can’t possibly know about it. And hey – doesn’t that let us off all kinds of hooks? Well, maybe not. I guess we’d have to know more about him/it to answer that. I mean, does he blame his creations for their shortcomings?
I may be getting close to Deep Philosophy here and before we get caught in that quagmire, I’m going to scurry away, wishing you all lots of light as I go. Assuming that you, or I, or any of us, exist. Or ever have existed.
FRIDAY: Martha Thomases