Thursday, December 29, 2005

Play me a tune, Mr. Tom Yest! Play me a tune tonight...

The night before his 23rd birthday, Max resolved to listen to the complete works of Philip Glass. Granted, this amounted to listening to one work by Philip Glass over and over again, but Max was good about carrying through with his resolutions. No matter how deranged they seemed to everyone else. He once resolved to try every spice in his mother’s pantry, one per day, and after a mere month, Max could explain the different nuances between tarragon and thyme, between anise seed and dill. So, the night before his 23rd birthday, Max arranged the complete works of Philip Glass in chronological order; then the thought came to him: perhaps the real function of Philip Glass’ mystery could be found alphabetically. For the next hour, he arranged all the tracks thusly. Now it was time to push <<play>>. Half way through the first piece, the mathematical intoxication pervaded Max’s soul. Mathematics! Why yes! This is the way to approach the complete works of Philip Glass. But how to approach the mathematics of Philip Glass’ complete works? According to length of track? According to tempo? According to the vibrations per minute of the beginning tone? The mathematical equivalent of the title, converting the letters into the decimal system and then ordering them from smallest to largest? Unlike my reader, Max’s head, at this point, was not reeling with the implications of all this strange numerology for Max’s head was perfectly suited to questions of numbers and the pure truth they offered. Because, you see, Max was already well aware that to listen to the complete works of Philip Glass, in any order, on the night before his 23rd birthday would be just the thing to keep him up, thereby preventing the concussion he had just suffered from taking his life while he slept.

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