Kant and I (A Long Short Story)

Story written by Saad El-Asha on Tuesday 18, September 2018

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Overall Rating: 90%

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The only time I truly recognized Kant was years ago, on a week of multiple experiments of whose items I'd chosen The Critique of Pure Reason to be one major element. Naturally, I have nothing to say about Kant; otherwise I'd be giving pleasant outdoor lectures to multinational-corporate richies in Shanghai on Postmodern road-fixing. The mending of highways, in summer and winter. Umberto Eco titled one of his books "Kant and the Platypus". When asked why, Eco revealed that the Platypus was the only thing Jorge Borges didn't write about. By the time the book had been published, he was told that Borges had once written – or commented – on how strange Australian animals are. I imagine Eco exclaiming, "Ah, for fuck's sake!", which would be a lot funnier in Italian. Eco had reason to place Kant in there, and the Platypus was a tool for his semiological obsessions. Moreover, a film professor, lecturing The Godfather in a movie, urged his students to read his book, "Kant and Italian Cheese". It goes without saying that I also have nothing to say about anything and anyone mentioned in this paragraph. Drop in "Kant" first and follow it with "and ….", and there, you have a book! Bear in mind that it wouldn't sell even if it proved legitimate. Natch. ………………………………………………. Of my genetic character, it suffices to say that I was born in a small village in south-eastern Libya, whose name bears no importance whatsoever. I grew up in Cairo where I now spend most of my days. Father is Libyan and mother is Egyptian. It rarely happens the other way around. I know I'm half-Arab on my father side; Cyrenaic blood goes one-way. I'm not sure, however, whether my mother's ancestors shagged with Copts. At any rate, I've long abandoned my national sentiments since I first watched porn. One might call me a porn addict. I prefer "porn enthusiast". The first time I heard the word "enthusiast", I laughed; I thought it was made up, thinking that "enthusiasm" was syntactically unbreakable. A film character had it on his card, "Math Enthusiast". I conceived it in the manner one would see "Math Excitiast", from Excitement. Now I think it's a great word. From that moment on – the moment I realized I'd always be an idiot – I stopped being pissy. I love the word "pissy"; it reminds me of a cat having an existential crisis. Intellectually, Kant was the first thinker I truly admired. But intellectual admiration was almost of no significance; I couldn't essentially afford it. My admiration for one's behavior was of the essence; it defined my relationships with people, and here comes Ali into the picture. Ali was an exceptional man – he's not dead – a clone to vitalize my self-love. He mixes milk with alcohol and has the habit of trying to save ants' lives from the sink and bathtub water, unsuccessfully. Ali and I spent two years together in a juvenile home in Cairo back in the mid-80s when were both thirteen. Why we were there; boring, but I'm thankful for those two years and what they had shown me. Thanks to the meals I had vigorously eaten, I learned how to be a gourmet, against my better judgment. I could never afford what haute-cuisine offered. I could never afford what haute-anything offered. But my mother's food, god bless her, brought my shitty taste back to life. It's strange how two types of mediocre food guided my taste to both extremes. As men, Ali and I had an apartment to embrace our promiscuity. He was bisexual, luckier. The only time he hit on me, I was like "Look, dude … I really can't … but I'm overwhelmingly flattered; I never get this from women". Since then he never tried. We were both the most amiable bastards you'd ever meet. We never say bad things about people because we simply couldn't. We would never screamed at anyone and apologize afterwards. We never scream at anyone. We find it so easy not being assholish, pretentious, stupid … we're never surprised that most people are. We find it so easy to stick to the lovely few. We never complain about how shitty our lives are, out of amazing reasoning. Believe me, dear reader. In short, our awesomeness needs to be experienced not described in words. Speaking of Shanghai, my wanderlust has never had the chance to contain anything except for a few spots between my two nations. Ali, on the other hand, was a rich dentist who'd invited me many times to be his perfect traveling companion, and I refused, for boring reasons. Few weeks ago I decided I'd bring home a starving kitten I found on the street. The little bastard escaped a few days later. I never knew why. She must be dead by now. Roger Ebert once wrote that Chaplin's The Tramp was asking us, the audience, to love him, but we love Umberto D. because he never does. I feel the same way about cats. Jorge Borges never shagged in his whole life.

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    Very good.