Q. It’s been said ‘You can’t get blood from a stone.’ Why?
A. You mean why do people say that? Or why can’t you get blood from a stone?
A. Take your time. Actually, it’s my time. But I’m a large person.
Q. Um…The first one.
A. Okay. People say you can’t get blood from a stone because you can’t get blood from a stone.
Q. Um…I meant the second one.
A. Why can’t you get blood from a stone?
Q. I don’t know. I’m asking you.
A. Heh, Heh. So. The reason you can’t get blood from a stone is that stones don’t contain any blood. They contain stone, which uses up all the space inside the stone. No room for blood, no room for cookies or milk. No room for debate.
Q. Then why would someone say to me, in a haughty and patronizing tone “You can’t get blood from a stone.” I mean it’s not like I asked him to give me blood from his stone. I’m not stupid.
A. And yet, here you are.
Q. I meant not completely stupid.
A. What exactly did you ask Mr. Haughty Tone?
Q. I asked him a hypothetical question. I said “Let’s pretend you are a stone. Will you donate blood to the blood drive?”
A. Hold on. If he’s going to pretend he’s a stone will he also pretend he’s a talking stone?”
Q. Er, um…
A. You see, there’s a big danger these days in over-pretending. If you’re not careful you could fake your self right out of your life. You’d end up completely detached from reality. Possibly even president.
Q. But what if I’m already president?
A. Then you might as well pretend to be a talking stone. Although, you’ll probably want to pretend you’re a talking boulder.
Q. So what kinds of things would a talking boulder pretend to talk about?
A. You know, if you think about it, pretending you’re a talking stone or a boulder is a pretty hollow existence — your inner stoniness notwithstanding.
Q. I’ve never heard the word notwithstanding used in a sentence before.
A. It’s easy when you’re pretending to know what you’re talking about.
Q. You know what word I’ve always wanted to use in a sentence?
A. It’s not a word that comes up in everyday conversation.
Q. Can you guess why?
A. I’m contractually forbidden to guess at anything. If word got out that that I’m not an authoritative answer-giver and just a common guesser, I’m out of a job. Besides, I think we’re way off topic.
Q. But isn’t thinking the same as guessing?
A. I think not.
Q. Are you sure?
A. I have a degree in thinking. So, as I said, I think not.
Q. Do you ever just think and not just think not?
A. When I think not, I remove my thinking cap and turn on my not-thinking light.1
Q. And then what do you think about?
A. I’m contractually forbidden to think when not wearing my thinking cap.
Q. But suppose you couldn’t find your thinking cap? Could you start thinking “Hmm. Where did I leave my thinking cap?”
A. I’m contractually obliged to keep my thinking cap Velcroed to my pants when thinking not.
Q. So let’s pretend your thinking cap is off and you’re thinking not. Someone says “Let’s pretend you are a stone and your thinking cap is on. Will you give marmalade to the local marmalade drive?”
A. First of all, stones don’t wear thinking caps. It’s not something a stone could even pretend to do, because a stone—even a pretend talking stone—would have no idea what a thinking cap was.
Q. And second of all?
A. You can’t get marmalade from a stone.
1Thinking Cap and light available now at Don’s Dollar store.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2019, all rights reserved.