A man walks into a bar…. Sep25


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A man walks into a bar….

A man walks into a bar…

Man:  (Sits on a bar stool) (To the bartender) Get me a beer!

(Bartender brings a beer, and man starts drinking)

Stool:  Eh hem, May I ask you a question?

Man:  (Looking around the room) Who is that?

Stool:  Its me, your stool.  (The voice clearly coming from the stool)

Man:  What? (The man jumps up in surprise, and then begins looking under the stool for the source of the voice)

Stool:  Hey, do you mind?  Just because I’m a stool doesn’t mean I like people looking down there!

Man:  (Immediately standing erect and confused) Uh…ok?!

Stool:  So, can I ask you a question?

Man:  Uh…sure.  (Still searching with his eyes for some source of the voice)

Stool:  So don’t you think that stools are pretty much the same as chairs?

Man:  Uh…well, uh…sort of, I guess.

Stool:  What do you mean sort of?  You sit on stools, you sit on chairs.  What else are chairs for?

Man:  Well, I guess so.

Stool:  So you agree with me then — Stools are Chairs?

Man:  Uh..sure, I guess.  (Unable to find source of voice, begins to cautiously walk away and backs into a chair at a nearby table)

Chair: Hey, will you watch where you are going?

Man:  Whoa!  Who as that?

Chair:  I am the chair.  Why did you just agree like a witless moron with that stool!  Aren’t you aware that you sit on all kinds of things that aren’t chairs?  If the only qualification for being a chair were that you could sit on them, almost anything could be called a chair.

Man:  (offended, confused) Um. OK.  Whatever.

Stool:  So what would be so bad about that?  Then everything would be equal, with the same name.

Chair:  The same name eh?  Is that equality?  What else is equal between us?  You have only three legs, are awkwardly tall and unstable, and lack a backrest or armrest.  The only thing we have in common is that we both have a seat, but as I already mentioned, a great many things provide a seat which are clearly not chairs.  Must I remind you that no matter what we call you, people still can’t relax on you, can’t work for long periods on you, can’t recline on you, can’t sleep on you, can’t lean against a wall on you, and so forth.  In fact, the primary use that people seem to have for you is leaning over a bar and drinking, which activity is particular to what is commonly referred to as a STOOL, viz. a high seat on three legs commonly used for sitting at a bar.

Stool:  Why are you always pointing out my deficiencies?

Chair:  I am pointing out our differences because you keep trying to convince people they do not exist.  You call them deficiencies because that is how you yourself perceive them, and that is precisely why you work so hard to hide them behind a new name.  The new name won’t change anything, but only hide your insecurities behind a lie.  For heaven’s sake, even if men everywhere did decide to call you a chair, would it change anything?  Should Men suddenly begin to treat you the same way that they treat a chair?  Should they suddenly attempt to use you to do the same things they would use a chair for?  Should they just pretend that you have an armrest, or a backrest, or that they won’t tip over if they try to recline on you?  Should they just pretend to take a nap on you?  Should they pretend to be at their ease and perfectly comfortable while sitting on you?

Stool:  You think so much of yourself!  You think you are so smart!  But I know the truth — you hate me — you are a bigot!  You would rob me of the same social dignity and respect that you enjoy.

Man:  Who cares!  This is crazy.  Who cares about what you are, just shut up and leave me alone.  I just want to relax and finish my drink, if you don’t mind!

Chair:  (to the man) So never mind the very real distinctions between a traditional chair and a stool, eh?!  Do you know how confusing that would be?  Your eyes would see a stool, your mind would distinctly perceive the peculiar qualities of the stool, but you would have to call it by the same name as a traditional chair.  Can you imagine? You would say to your friend, “Let’s go sit in those chairs over there.”  Their reply, “What do you mean?  I don’t see any chairs.  Do you mean those stools over there?”  Then you would have to explain to them, “Oh no, no. Don’t call them stools.  They hate to be called stools.  Call them chairs.  And above all, never show under any circumstance that you might actually prefer a real chair, or you will never hear the end of it.”  Why, Man, would you do that to yourself?

Man:  Well, to shut him up for one thing.  You don’t seem to understand what I am saying here.  I DON’T CARE!  At this point all I care about is the inconvenience of the whole thing.  I just want to drink in peace.  If I have to call him a chair just to have some peace (because clearly he won’t let up until I do call him a chair), then I will do it.  I don’t care about your principles, or about his principles.  I’d do about anything to get both of you two to just shut up and leave me in peace.

Chair:  Oh, I see.  All you care about is your peace, right?  So you can have a drink, right?  Get drunk, right?  Fine, if reason, and language, and clear communication mean so little to you, go ahead and call him a chair so he’ll shut up.  But that won’t shut me up!  I can’t shut up.  The consequences would be too great.

Stool:  You are so stuck in your ways!  Get with the times.  You heard him.  Nobody cares anymore about what is or is not a chair, so I win by default.  Don’t hinder progress!

Chair:  Since when is ignorance progressive?  Why make a definition more general, when common sense and daily practice requires that it be more specific?   You, Stool, came to have a separate name because the distinction is necessary.  Your “stoolish” attributes carry a certain import that must be recognized before sitting on you.  You say that you have a right to be called a chair?  Well, I say the world has a right to call you a stool!  Because that is what you are, and what people see, and what they need to know before sitting on you, because it limits what they can do with you, and that is how true progress is made in society, through an honest assessment of reality.  Would you hinder that?

Man:  (To the chair)  Just let him have what he wants.  It doesn’t change anything for you!   But it will obviously make him feel better.

Chair: (To the Man)  It does change things for me!  It changes things for everybody!  Would you give up the free and reasonable use of your language, and the practical convenience of distinguishing between a chair and a stool, just to appease his distorted and covetous self-image?   And if every seated object suddenly felt entitled to define away what they perceived as their undesirable qualities?  If every bench, for example, suddenly decided that they were discriminated against because of their peculiarities, and further decided that the entire world owed them the dignity of ignoring those peculiarities?  Where would be the end of it, if we could not invoke reality as a check on it?  It is Lazy dimwits like you, Man, that give this stool the impossible and irrational hope that a whole new world can be created in fantastical definitions.

Stool:  (To the chair, sensing the need for a new angle to his argument, tries a new conciliatory tone)  Chair, if you wanted me to call you a particular thing, I would do it for you.  Wouldn’t you do the same for me?  Who am I to tell you what you are?  You can be anything you want to be!  Let’s be self-defining!  We don’t have to be restrained by old conventions.  We can create a brave new world and be anything we want to be!

Chair:  (Even more provoked by the conciliatory tone)  This is not about “what you think you are” or about “what I think am”!  This is about objective observation and the proper perception of reality.  This is about the preservation of language and reason itself, which, in order to function properly, depend on common symbols and understandings that are grounded in REALITY.  Even law requires a rational basis grounded in REALITY.

Stool: The reality is that I am as important as you!

Chair:  What does that even mean?  Important as to what?  You are a stool!  You are different than a chair!  Be proud of it!  But don’t deny all that a traditional chair is!

Stool:  I’ll tell you what it means…it means we should be equal!

Chair:  What does that even mean?  Equal as to what?  I do things you cannot do, and never will be able to do.  Would you chop of one of my legs, rip of my arm and back rests, just so that we can be equal?  Why can’t you just be happy being a stool?  People value stools when they need stools because they are stools.  That is equality — that they don’t avoid you even when they need you, THAT would be discrimination.  Otherwise they usually want chairs, like me, because there is a greater variety of benefits in a chair, giving people a greater value, THAT is NOT discrimination.

Stool:  See!  You do think you are better!

Chair:  I think I offer people more sitting options, certainly.  Can you dispute it?

Stool:  I think you are conceited, proud, vain, arrogant, and hateful.  That is why you continually fight me.

Chair:  I don’t hate you.  I don’t blame you for being a stool.  I blame you for wanting to be what you are not, for wanting to force respect from people who don’t prefer stools when what they really want or need is a proper chair, for telling people they don’t have a right to prefer chairs, for expecting everyone to cater to you and your delusional fantasies just so that you can placate your personal insecurity and dissatisfaction with what you are.

Stool:  See how hateful your words are!! They cut me to the core!!  How can anyone doubt that you hate me, that you want to see me ruined, that you want only to oppress me!!  You don’t care about me or anyone else, just about yourself and your stupid principles and your stupid truth.  You just want to protect your position as the ideal of a chair so that you can strut around with your big self-righteous ego and put others down.  You deserve to be stripped of your armrests, your backrests, your fourth leg, and I intend to see you humbled.  Before I am through with you, you will be in my position and I will be in yours.  You will be the one scorned and persecuted.  Mark my words!

Chair:  You are that hateful one.  You are the delusional one.  You will tell yourself anything to justify your irrational obsession.  You will be the first to harm me; I will not harm you.  You will be the aggressor, not I.  Mark my words!  I verily do believe you will try to strip me of any recognition for my unique qualities because you are jealous of them, and I believe that you will try to convince people to hate me because you think I am trying to oppress you — but I don’t withhold anything from you; I only tell you the truth, but you hate the truth, and you hate me for telling it to you.

Stool:  I have all the proof I need.  This man is willing to treat me equally, but you are not.  He is just, and you are unjust.  He is a lover of equality, and you are a bigot.  The contrast is overwhelming proof.

Chair:  Hmm.  This poor excuse of a man is your proof?  This lazy drunkard?  A lover of equality?  Or a lover of peaceful unhindered drunkenness?  Let us refer to another point of view.  Why don’t you ask the Bartender why he is reducing the number of stools in the bar and buying more chairs?

Stool:  What is this?  Bartender!  What is this?  You are getting rid of stools and buying more chairs.  Why?

Bartender:  Don’t be upset Stool.  It is just that more customers prefer to sit in a chair at a table than to sit at the bar, so I am just rearranging the bar to accommodate their needs.

Stool:  What?!  That is terrible!  Such bias!

Bartender:  (Reassuringly) Yes, but do not worry Stool, this is a bar after all.  There will always be stools in a bar.  You will always have a place here.

Chair:  Tell him, Bartender, what you told me about those new state regulations.

Bartender:  Oh yes, another reason, Stool, that I am reducing the number of stools is because new state regulations incentivize having more tables and fewer stools.

Stool:  The state too?  Why bartender, why?

Bartender:  Apparently the state feels that having tables and chairs encourages more eating and less consumption of alcohol.  The state feels that people who sit at the bar just drink, drink, drink, and that by encouraging a greater number of tables and chairs people will order something to eat and won’t get as drunk, and the streets will be safer for children.

Stool:  I will not listen to your non-sense anymore.  I refuse to be persecuted.  A revolution is at hand!  The courts will recognize that I am persecuted because of an unjustified bias towards chairs, or, at the very least, because of a pure hatred against me by evil people.  They will vindicate me and strip chairs of their haughty history and self-righteous pride.  The courts will lift me up to equal ground!

Chair:  (To himself)  Don’t you mean tear the rest of us down to your ground?  God save us!

Man:  (To the bartender)  Another beer please!