Here, in my hands, is a bowl filled with everything you could ever desire.

The hands that hold the bowl are narrow and smooth, without any bumps or blemishes. I make sure to maintain a clean and balanced diet for you, and to drink water and sleep with gloves filled with Vaseline at night, so that my hands, which you may glance upon as a consequence of viewing this bowl, will not offend you. Though it is debatable my perfection on moral or theoretical grounds, it is irrefutable that my hands are perfect in every way.

These are my hands, which are steady and do not shake as I hold this bowl out for you. Though my muscles fatigue and begin to ache as I approach the third hour of bowl-holding, I am still happy to hold it for you. Everyone must hold the bowl at some point, and I am honored to fulfill my temporary purpose. Once I begin to age, my hands will begin to wrinkle and wilt, at which point it will be no longer appropriate for me to hold the bowl.

You may ask me, in an attempt to take stock of your own perfection, If I have a small crescent-shaped scar the size of a sesame seed on my hand, may I still hold the bowl?            

To which I would answer, no. You may not hold the bowl with a scar the size of a sesame seed, nor the size of a poppy seed, nor the size of an epiphytic orchid seed, the dimensions of which are so miniscule that they are impossible to be viewed by the naked human eye.

You may ask me also, If my right pointer finger, when extended, curves slightly to the left as a result of a rock being smashed upon it by a bully on the playground once when I was eleven, may I still hold the bowl?

To which I would answer, Absolutely not, and it is insulting to me that you would even think to ask that and doubly-so that you would evoke that story in an attempt to summon up some sort of pity on my end.

What is in the bowl? You may ask.

The contents are entirely up to you.

How do you mean? You may ask.

The American Dream is not one that can be defined, nor is it a singular vision that can be effectively captured on film or in photographs, or even in words. Even two very similar conceptions of this narrative can be evoked by two very different images––for instance, that of a handsome man milking a cow and then gazing out onto a sun-warmed field, or that of a pimpled, diverse teen with a child on one hip and a college degree on the other––and it is important that we do not restrict ourselves in envisioning our present. If we do so, it may be difficult, or near impossible, to proceed into our terrifying future.

The bowl is very beautiful. It is like stars winking and dying or how I imagine it is like to stare directly into the sun.

I know.

But what is in the bowl?

It is a porridge of sorts. A good porridge though. One that is thin enough to slide down your throat but thick enough to keep your insides from falling apart.

But . . . why didn’t you just say that it was a bowl of porridge, if that was all it ever was?

God only knows what I’d be without you.

Isn’t that a lyric from the hit song “God Only Knows” by the 1960s boy band, The Beach Boys?


I’m confused.    

That is the very point of the bowl.

If you are supposed to be so perfect, then why aren’t you wearing shoes? Also, why does it appear that you are clothed in rags, and otherwise misshapen and terrifying to behold (besides your perfect hands)?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, Behold! This bowl in my hands!

You appear to be getting fatigued. You appear to be sweating and shaking more than is humanly possible.

The responsibility of the actions I have undertaken seem to be weighing on me. Was it Kant that said, “The more we hold, the heavier our hands become?”


Who was it that said that then?

Nobody, I believe. I believe that nobody has said that and that you are simply stating the obvious consequences of holding a heavy object for a long period of time. I think you are conflating your fear of dropping this bowl with your fear of something quite larger and indefinable, something ominous and pressing.


And now your hands appear to be very severed and detached and floating above your body and into space.

They do, don’t they? Is there any way that you can stop that from happening?

No. It is, after all, your responsibility to give and give of yourself all that you can to the world and to the universe around you. It is your responsibility as a citizen and as a human and as a bowl-holder. 

Can I at least eat the porridge?

I’m afraid not.

I am very scared and in a lot of pain.

As long as there are stars above you, you need never doubt it.

That is beautiful but unhelpful.

It is a quote from The Beach Boys. 

Of course it is.