★ ‘The Hook I Hang On’ by Thomas Gordon Reynolds

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So I said to her when we were in the car, “One thing I’ve learned about myself. I can’t be trusted. Not that I’m a liar or anything. I’m not. Though I lie sometimes, everybody does sometimes. And not because I’m always mistaken; I’m sure I’m not always mistaken – though I could be mistaken. It’s just that I have no other experience to measure life against than my own. Even someone — you, say — telling me about your life, is still just me experiencing you telling me about your life. You see? It makes relationships between the sexes difficult.”

“Is that what does it?”

“Yes. I feel I should tell you that my mental health may not be good.”

“You look okay.”

“I hope so. I run two miles every day in a circle. Kind of pointless really, getting up extra early to run two miles in a circle. The thing is, wherever you start your approach to life, and you have to start somewhere, someone will ask you what led you to that point and you will not be able to answer, because if you could, you would have started there. Still, you have to start somewhere. I start by observing that at some point we find ourselves alive in this world, and the question is always what is the correct response.”

“Um, speaking of starting — the engine? If you turn the key…”

“Right. Where do you want to go?”

“You said dinner and a movie.”

“Dinner? Don’t tell me you eat. If you didn’t eat you wouldn’t have to shit – excuse my French. I ask you, is that a fair trade?”

“The car?”

“All right.” I cranked the engine. “We’ll go downtown.”

“Good.”

“I can drive and talk at the same time.”

I pulled out of her driveway. It was still early evening out. Or late afternoon.

“It all begins, every date begins, with science,” I said.

“Yes, chemistry.”

“No, not chemistry. Well, yes, chemistry, but philosophy. The aim of the process of science is to take a long sheet of paper and write down every fact there is about the universe. The theory of everything. Complete and total knowledge. And what will we do, when we have this?”

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