Ayn Rand/Objectivism Sightings
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The Virtue of Silliness
Note: My real name is Katherine Lynne Wheeler and I co-authored this with Michael Stuart Kelly by e-mail. We exercised a little poetic license with some events. Both of us are anxiously looking forward to our first meeting. And it will be exactly as described. – katdaddy
* * *
There SHE sat, in Chicago, trying her best to be serious. Her Sense of Life seemed like a thing of the past. SHE had shrugged off a no-good mooching tomcat and felt like a homeless alley kat—between jobs, barely scratching out a freelance kittance, having trouble getting milk for her two kittens… almost foraging for katfood stamps.
How did SHE ever get so low? What was missing?
People told her that God would always provide for her and the kittens. Well, where was God now? SHE knew they meant well, but it still made the fur on her back stiffen up. Her kittens would mew, people would smile and say silly altruistic bromides, or tell her to pray harder and all would be well. SHE would hiss back, "Talk to the paw!"
Nobody ever seemed to understand her. SHE was unconventional and did not fit in well with any of their political or social sentiments. Maybe SHE was an alley kat after all. Once, after a particularly wretched katfight, SHE thought of putting herself down. SHE had almost let herself become a sacrificial animal. But then SHE remembered her kittens, remembered the way life could and should have been…
"Stop it!" SHE had said to herself. "Don’t be silly."
A few years earlier a friend told her, "You’ve got to read Ayn Rand. Seriously, it’s you."
So SHE started by reading Atlas Shrugged. Meowing with excitement, SHE went on to the other books—first the novels, then the non-fiction. Her older kitten even started pawing through Rand and became a rational teenager, that is, to the extent that such an animal could exist.
Here was Objectivism, a philosophy for living here and now. SHE didn’t need to live with contradictions. SHE didn’t need a leash. SHE didn’t need an owner. SHE certainly didn’t need some mystical god to be a moral fearless pussykat or raise her kittens. It was her life and her responsibility.
SHE especially liked The Virtue of Selfishness. Serious stuff, not fluff. When SHE got confused, SHE would meow to herself, "A is A—and I’m no fraidy-kat. I’ll simply have to check my premises."
When SHE thought about having answers like that, SHE would lick her paw contentedly. So what was wrong? Why was SHE so unsatisfied?
* * *
HE had just arrived from Brazil. HE had been roaming the world trying to get away from the silliness of it all. HE was seeking—HE didn’t quite know what it was yet… something serious maybe… definitely a woman who loved like HE did… HE was a randy young man looking for nookie qua nookie when HE had left the USA… and Brazil was so full of gorgeous women…
HE remembered when HE first arrived there. It was like reaching a wild frontier. There were adventures to live, new things to learn, and all that color and singing and dancing and beaches and jungles and cities and tropical food. Everything was so exciting!
The whole country was like one big silly party—VW Beetle police cruisers, electric shower heads that sometimes blew up, nationwide worship of all things soccer, oceans of beer and caipirinhas, and all those stunning women everywhere. HE loved it. HE could turn on the TV and see John Wayne get off his horse, swagger over to a gunslinger and ask, "Como vai? Tudo bem?" John Wayne speaking Portuguese! Cool! HE could laugh to his heart’s content. Whatever it was HE was looking for, there was no doubt HE could find it here.
But sometimes things didn’t feel so right. There were some not-so-heroic bribes you had to pay and a very unmetaphysical inflation that sent your money to a kind of financial noumenal realm where it disappeared forever. Stuff didn’t work when you needed it to. Everyone was late all the time. Why were there all these unnecessary problems? Why this huge blank-out party?
Oh well. What did HE think a frontier was supposed to be anyway? HE had his ready-to-wear perma-press life back in the States if that was what HE wanted. Here HE could make a difference. No more chains to the past. No more sanction of this here victim. HE was alone in the wilderness and loving it. But HE was alone and longing, and it was such wistful longing…
His Brazilian friend once said to him, "You work too hard. You want good sex? Good food? Good weather? You came to the right place. You want more? If you fancy getting serious, go back, go back."
But HE was razzled and dazzled by all the new adventure. "Stop it," HE told his friend. "Don’t be silly."
HE especially wanted to do something about Objectivism in Brazil. HE could even make his own Objectivist friends from scratch, from pure raw Brazilian people stock… In the States Objectivists were always snapping and bickering and fighting with each other. Some were really ornery and most were no fun at all to be around anyway. Argument-from-intimidation freaks.
HE was extremely lonely for people who thought like HE did without all the sour-pussing. Well now HE could do something about that. In Brazil HE could even handcraft his very own happy-go-lucky Objectivist woman to love—feminine, beautiful, sexy, laughing and smart. What a glorious task!
And it was too, except that the results were glorious failures. “You just can’t do it second-hand that way,” HE finally concluded. “Got to find something else … something different… a little more feline maybe… someone who is already rational and playful and sexy… someone I don’t have to change…”
So after many magnificent failures at severely dichotomized love, and many daring adventures, and many analytic-synthetic years, HE decided to go back to the USA.
* * *
SHE hunted all over the internet for spiritual chow. SHE needed more than just books. SHE was a social animal and wanted to meet others who shared her worldview. Who knows? Maybe there was even a rational, playful, sexy HE for her out there somewhere. A HEro-kat SHE could look up to. One who was ruthlessly honest and unafraid to drag stuff into the middle of the floor and let this particular kat smell it. Someone who loved the best within her.
One day SHE came across SOLO. Hmmm… Looked pretty darn good. SHE silently stalked in the background for long time, patiently watching and waiting… and then impatiently. SHE finally couldn’t bear it anymore and pounced. SHE was lonely.
Then one day SHE froze. A doubt had crept in. Would this be in vain too? Maybe SHE had found some pretty cool kats, but most were gay, married, randroids or pomo-wankers. Some were good for pussyfooting around with. Some SHE had to use a kat-o’-nine-tails on. But SHE couldn’t find much for a lonely hard-thinking kat in heat. “Where is HE?” SHE meowed over and over. “There has to be at least one for me out there.”
Wait. Maybe there were many. Maybe they were hiding. Maybe they just didn’t care too much for her. Maybe SHE wasn’t good enough…
“Stop that,” SHE told herself. "Don’t be silly."
* * *
HE was lonely and confused. Over thirty years in Brazil and what did HE have to show for it? HE had conquered some of the wilderness. HE had won some hard-fought battles. HE had even grown to love this new culture. But where was his SHE? Did SHE even exist? HE had to keep looking…
Then HE discovered SOLO. Water in the desert. Manna from heaven. Real people talking Ayn Rand, talking reason and productiveness and pride and all the rest—and they were able to laugh while they did it. Not like those HE had met years before in college…those who so badly needed a dichotomectomy. HE had to think. Were there really Objectivists around now who were not castrated or constipated? What had happened while HE had been gone? Was a place like SOLO an oasis? Were there others? Or was this a psycho-epistemological mirage?
HE started posting. Others posted back. Cyber-friendships were born. HE even managed to post to Barbara Branden, his real-life heroine. HE had carried her in his heart all over Brazil for over thirty years. Now here SHE was posting to him! Wow! Miracles do happen! This was for real! This was fun! HE couldn’t get enough.
Then one day HE stopped in his tracks. His heart started beating faster and HE whistled in admiration. There was a pretty Kitten posting, picture and all. Dayaamm…
Maybe? Could it be? But wait a minute. Not so fast. This place was full of good, value-oriented, self-esteemed-up individualists and all, but… what was all that gay stuff about? Huh? Nothing wrong with gays, but that certainly was not for him. “Got to be careful,” HE thought. “You don’t want to embarrass or hurt anybody.”
Besides, SHE called herself a fag-hag. Well what on earth did that mean? Was Kitten a frog in disguise? Was Kitten in reality a human man in katdrag? Was katdaddy a stage name for a drag queen?
“Go slow,” HE told himself. "And don’t be silly.”
* * *
SHE got into a few katfights on SOLO—discussions about katerwauling, legalization of katnip, integration of metaphysical katness and why superheroes wear their underpants on the outside. SHE proudly strutted her stuff.
HE was broadsided a few times because HE disagreed with a few silly issues. Once HE even said that Ayn hiccuped about Kant and the katcalls were merciless.
With all that ruckus going on, they noticed each other at times. Interesting. Very, very interesting…
One day SHE was rereading The Fountainhead and wondering about why SHE had the heebie-jeebies all the time. What was wrong anyway? Could SHE do anything about it? Was there any sense to all this? Then SHE came across a passage that seemed to sum up how silly it all was. This was it! Eureka! SHE had found the words to express her restlessness perfectly! So SHE blurted the quote out on SOLO:
“Toothbrush in the jaw toothbrush brush brush tooth jaw foam dome in the foam Roman dome come home home in the jaw Rome dome tooth toothbrush toothpick pickpocket socket rocket”
What? Did HE hear a mating call? Was Kitten meowing? Dayamm! That was one sexy pickup line! Was that hot little Kitten in heat? What could HE ever do to answer such an erotically charming come-on?
This was serious.
HE did not want to blow it. How could HE tell HER that HE was interested, but still keep the backdoor open for an honorable exit just in case HE got the signals wrong?
Hmmm… Got it:
“Branden in the rand branden done done brand rand meek seek in the meek peikoff seek so weak weak in the rand peek seek brand branden brand pig gigolo polo solo”
SHE could not believe her eyes. HE understood. HE had heard. And HE was silly too! They were on the same frequency… like two cartoon characters on the same show! Could this possibly be real… or just dumb cyber-banter that withered away into boring unreality later?
“Well, pay attention,” SHE told herself.
SHE started noticing his posts even more. Sometimes serious, sometimes silly. SHE was confounded. Could it be him? Was this guy for real? SHE wondered "Oh, My Galt! What if HE is gay too?”
Where on earth was his picture? Was HE ugly? What if HE looked like Jabba the Hutt? What if HE was bony and dorky? What if HE had two noses and seven eyes? Was HE afraid to be seen? Nonetheless, HE made her purr like SHE had never purred in her entire nine lives.
Sometimes SHE pounced too boisterously and got too frisky. Then HE would pop up and tell her, “Git to the kitchen.” Kitchen? Wait a minute. Who did HE think HE was anyway? Nobody had ever dared to tell her anything like that before. SHE would show him a thing or two! SHE would swat him so hard that SHE would put him in a katatonic coma, and without a living will.
But SHE always waited… eagerly breathless for the next time.
One day SHE got tired of kat-and-mouse. SHE sent him a private e-mail threatening to scratch his eyes out after HE posted a particularly unkatty remark. HE answered with a laugh. Laugh? Hey, SHE was being serious! Hmmm. HE was for real! And HE seemed interested! Really interested!
His picture finally came online. Not Jabba! Two eyes and one nose! HE was downright adorable. What a relief!
They sent e-mails and started calling and instant messaging each other every day—and posted on SOLO, of course. Some laughed there. Some called them silly. One even scowled in disgust. But they were way beyond caring.
Sometimes HE talked in a sweet Southern drawl. Sometimes HE seemed like HE was thinking HER thoughts. HE was like nothing that had ever crossed her path before. SHE lapped up his tales of adventure in Brazil, his heart jerking sagas and outrageous silliness. HE was like all her heroes in Atlas Shrugged and favorite cartoon characters all rolled up in one very real and exciting man. SHE had found her hero.
Kitten was smitten.
HE couldn’t believe his luck either. Here was a woman serious about life and silly about living. Feline, beautiful, rational, playful and sexy. HE had roamed for decades over two continents in a desperate quest for this. HE had lived a legion of wild hair-raising adventures. HE knew agony and HE knew ecstasy. Now HE was taming a lioness disguised as a kitten. Was this a dream? Or was HE embarking on his greatest escapade? Did HE dare?
In a fit of passion, HE had written her a haiku (but changed the animal, just in case):
Duck floats on rough pond.
Two swan siblings trail behind.
The sun shines and smiles.
And lovingly SHE wrote him a Seussed-up ode…
I do so like my Southern ham.
I’ve liked him since our poetry slam.
I‘d like to do it here or there.
I'd like to do it anywhere.
In a house, or down south.
With a goatee. On a boatee.
In the rain. On a train .
In a box. With my fox.
Maybe in a tree. We shall soon see!
They had seriously fallen in love on SOLO… in silly cyberland.
* * *
They finally met. Two lonely misunderstood egoists seeing a perfect real-life reflection of themselves for the first time. It packed an overwhelmingly erotic punch. They rushed into each others arms, smothered one another with passionate kisses and tore at each other’s clothes…
Ahem… at this point there is a rather discreet fadeout to signify the passage of time… a fairly long time in fact…
* * *
They are laying beside each other. Silent. Pensive. Happy. Serene. So what happens next?
They look deeply into each other’s eyes. There is a fierce love shining through them that had been bottled up for so long. Far too long. Then a flicker of doubt appears.
Each thinks gently, timidly… “Is this real? Will it end soon? Will the other become a frog, or worse—a dichotomy? Will such uncontrollable happiness be denied? Is this rapturous joy a mere illusion?”
They both sigh… No, not an illusion. It is very real. It is right there in front of them. They exist. They love.
"Don’t be silly," they murmur in unison.
And they live happily, forever after...
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