Isn't that an odd shape, thought Blurtso, staring at his reflection in the water. That nose, so round and ponderous, like a boxing glove, and that smug little smile, and those attentive, pin-point eyes. What a strange thing it is, that shape, my shape, staring at my shape, that shape. Boxing-glove nose, big and white, grey body, dark-grey hoofs, perked-up ears above attentive eyes. Tuft of hair atop his head. Atop my head. My head housing pin-point eyes looking at his head. Housing looking housing looking. Blurtso one and Blurtso two. Blurtso one and Blurtso too. Double Blurtso smiling smugly, me to me. What does he see when he looks into me? What does he think when he thinks of me? Does he think who on earth could he be? And what's the heart of this mystery?
“Blurtso considers satisfaction”
“Blurtso considers satisfaction”
Satisfaction is what you recognize when you emerge from total engagement in a passionate endeavor...
“Blurtso considers the benefits of intelligence”
My goodness there are a lot of intelligent people at Harvard!... I wonder what it would be like to be intelligent? I wonder if pumpkin pies taste even better?
“Blurtso considers his chances for true love"
It only takes two for true love, thought Blurtso. I’m half-way there!
“Blurtso considers independence and crutches”
If you walk away from your crutch, thought Blurtso, you can’t expect to take it with you.
“Blurtso considers the consequences of fame”
I wonder if I will like being famous? thought Blurtso. When the world is filled with Blurtso t-shirts and coffee mugs, Blurtso paintings and sculptures and smiling Blurtsos cast in bronze, Blurtso billboards and displays, neon and virtual and Christmas and Easter Blurtsos, and spin-off Blurtsos ad nauseum… I wonder if I will remember these days with nostalgia, when a simple donkey could have a simple meal, and take a nap in the comfort of perfect anonymity.
And the people gathered before him and said, “Blurtso of the sacred space, teach us.” And Blurtso replied, “Teach us?” And the people echoed, “Teach us.” And Blurtso replied, “Teach what?” And the people explained, “We do not love all who are among us. We do not love all others. And we are ashamed.” And Blurtso replied, “What will thou doest when thou seest a tempest in the offing?” And the people replied, “We shall seek shelter.” And Blurtso said, “And what will thou doest when thou encounterest danger in thine path?” And the people replied, “We shall pursue a new path.” And Blurtso said, “And what will thou doest when thine well of poison smellest?” And the people replied, “Drink we shall not.” And Blurtso said, “Just as with nature thou wouldst, so with one another other thou shouldst. For each one of thou, in beingst thineself, is for some other a storm, a danger, or a poison. And another for thou shallst be these same things too. So feelest not ashamedst that thou revelst not in the company of all, but rather recognizest the right to existest of the poison, the danger, and the storm, and rejoicest in the natural wisdom that wouldst lead thou unto safety and keepest thou from harm.
“Blurtso checks the want ads”
I have only one rule when looking for a job, thought Blurtso. Beware of enterprises that require any clothes at all.
“Blurtso chews on his eraser”
What do I want to be when I graduate? thought Blurtso, chewing on the eraser at the end of his pencil. Hmmm… maybe I could be the president, or a fireman, or an astronaut. The more he thought the more he chewed… Hmmm… maybe I could be an explorer, or an athlete, or an international spy… Hmmm, he said, gazing at the bits of broken eraser on his desk. I know! he said. I’ll sell erasers!
“Blurtso considers ambition”
Ambition, thought Blurtso, is no substitute for love.
“Blurtso considers being true to himself”
Vulnerability is the price you pay for following your own rules. Self-extinction is the price for not.
“Blurtso considers the essence of television”
Television exists, thought Blurtso, so that the ads can get you to watch more ads that will get you to watch more ads to get you to watch more ads. Fortunately, I have the complete DVD collection of “Mr. Ed.”
“Blurtso considers the here and now”
It’s good to live in the here and now, thought Blurtso. It makes tasty food taste better, pretty sounds sound prettier, and friendly people seem friendlier. Of course, it also makes mean people seem meaner.
“Blurtso considers the need for attention”
I wonder if I am starved for attention? thought Blurtso. I wonder if I would continue to do and say what I do if I didn’t have an audience? I wonder if anyone would continue to do and say what they do if they didn’t have an audience?
“Blurtso considers the enchantment of
What is it in
“Blurtso considers trying to improve”
I could do it more quickly if I improved, thought Blurtso. And I’m sure I could improve if I did it over and over and over. But that would take longer than not trying to improve.
“Blurtso counts to three”
O.k., said Blurtso, on three. One, two, three… go! And off they went as fast as they could… What do you know, thought Blurtso, Pavlov was right.
“Blurtso crosses the field”
What a lovely day, thought Blurtso, skipping across the field. Excuse me, said a voice, but you’ll have to carry a load if you want to continue. As you wish, said Blurtso, bending to accept his load and walking across the field. I’m sorry, said the voice, but you’ll have to carry another. And so I shall, said Blurtso, crouching to accept his load and trudging across the field. And another, said the voice. If I must, said Blurtso, kneeling to accept his load and crawling across the field. And another, said the voice. Whew! thought Blurtso, when he could no longer see the day and the field and himself. I hope it is all still waiting there, beneath this load that has become myself.
“Blurtso curses his clumsy hoofs”
Curse these clumsy hoofs! said Blurtso, kicking away his rubik’s cube and trying to fit two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They’re not good for anything! He looked at his hoofs, then he looked at the puzzle, then he looked at his hoofs. Well, he said, they have carried me down many roads and across many fields… maybe solving puzzles isn't really important.
“Blurtso goes green”
I’d better make sure everything I use is recyclable, thought Blurtso. Lets’s see… I use my eyes and my ears and my nose and my hoofs, and I sometimes even use my tail. Yep, said Blurtso, I’m completely recyclable.
“Blurtso doesn’t take credit”
I can’t take credit, said Blurtso, for just being myself.
“Blurtso ventures a definition of happiness”
Happiness, thought Blurtso, sitting on his haunches with his boxing-glove nose supported on his front left hoof. I see the others, he thought, moving here and there, sniffing and peering, obeying and straying, leading and following with a need on the pillow, a need that stirs them in the morning and settles them in the night. And somehow the reward emerges, from the silence and babble, from above or below, a series of notes rising, repeating in the sound of hoof after hoof after hoof.
“Blurtso gets honked off the road”
Honk!... Honk!... Honk!... Get off the f!@#&!?%!g road you g#&%d d@&!?%ed donkey! Hmmm, thought Blurtso. That person is sure in a hurry. He must be out of pumpkin pie.
“Blurtso goes up for promotion”
Oh no! said Blurtso, I’m going to be fired! How can I cover my tracks?!... I know, I’ll apply for promotion!!
“Blurtso has another scone”
Those look good! said Blurtso to the cook who had just made a batch of scones. Mmmmmm, said Blurtso, biting into the steaming pillow that was dripping with honey. The cook frowned, and continued to frown as Blurtso enjoyed the scone. I think I’ll have another, said Blurtso, biting into a second steaming pillow and letting the honey trickle down his throat. The cook scowled with a glance of hatred and fury. That calls for another, said Blurtso, taking and eating a third, and a fourth, and a fifth. And on it went, Blurtso eating and the cook scowling, until Blurtso reached the last scone which he plopped into his mouth and finished in one bite… Mmmmm, said Blurtso, licking the honey off his mouth and hoofs. Fine! shouted the cook, picking up the empty plate and throwing it against the wall, Now what will you give to me?! What will I give to you? said Blurtso, still licking the honey from his hoofs… I will give you the understanding that your reluctance to share is more selfish than my insistence to take.
“Blurtso is happy to be of help”
I want to help, said Blurtso, but I’ve got to be honest about my abilities. Let me see, he said, I know that I’m not very good at carrying heavy objects, I tire easily and I recuperate slowly. I don’t read and I don’t write, and my hoofs are good for little more than standing on, which I prefer to avoid, if there is a patch of grass nearby. Hmmmm…. my nose is quite good for sniffing, and my ears are quite good for hearing, so I can usually hear when someone is asking someone to give them a hand with something, but of course I don’t have hands and my hoofs are good for little more than standing on, which usually isn’t much help. I’m pretty good company, I guess, if you’re someone who doesn’t move around a lot, or you just need someone to nap with. I’m quite good at that, I believe, taking naps that is. I can take a nap at almost any time and almost any place. And I must be good at other things too, but I can’t remember what they are, because I don’t have a very good memory. But I know I am happy to be of help. I’m quite sure of that. I’m very happy to be of help.
“Blurtso lets go”
Let me see, said Blurtso, I can let go of this and that, and I can let go of that and this. Yes, that’s better said Blurtso, feeling better already. And I’ll let go of that and that and that, and I’ll let go of this and this and this. And of course, I’ll let go of letting go, he said, feeling as good as he had ever felt.
“Blurtso wonders what he’s doing”
What am I doing? said Blurtso. Nobody wants me here… And even if I convince them they want me, I don't want me here. Remarkable, he said, what an ass will do.
“Blurtso looks before he leaps”
Here I go! said Blurtso, looking down at what lay below him. Here I go! he said again, still looking at all the things that lay below. Blurtso’s boney little hoofs clung tightly to the rocky spine on which he stood, and his pin-point eyes were bright and full of frenzy. Here I go! he said a little more quietly and with much less conviction. Here I go! Here I go! Here I go! he repeated and clung even more tightly to the spine that began to cut into his hoofs and make them bleed. Here I go! he said more loudly but with no conviction at all. Here… I… and off he went, slipping, sliding, and tumbling into the only future that awaited him.
“Blurtso looks in the water”
That water is certainly clear, thought Blurtso. It is so clear I can’t even see myself… unless those rocks on the bottom are me.
“Blurtso looks to the future”
The future, thought Blurtso, trying to understand the idea. What could that be? Something that has not happened and is not happening and may not happen but will happen in a present that is not this present. Hmmmm, a present that is not this present. Where does this present end and the next present begin? If I found that point, would that be the future? Blurtso did not have a very big brain, but even he knew that such a point would never be found. There is only one present, said Blurtso with confidence, even I know that.
“Blurtso ponders his place in the universe”
Curses! said Blurtso, my tail is caught in the window!
“Blurtso makes haste and waste”
I’d better get going, said Blurtso, I’ve got so many things to do! First I’ve got to have breakfast, then I’ve got to smell the flowers, then I’ve got to see my friends, then I’ve got to have lunch, then I’ve got to do things, then I’ve got to enjoy what I’m doing, then I’ve got to have dinner, then I’ve got to go to bed, then I’ve got to get some sleep, then… and off he went, to have breakfast, to smell the flowers, to see his friends, to have lunch, to do things, to enjoy what he’s doing, to have dinner, to go to bed… until he finally realized as he dozed off to sleep, that he hadn’t done anything, he hadn’t really done a thing, all day long.
“Blurtso meets the devil at the trombone store”
Hello, said the devil. Hello, said Blurtso. I see you’ve come to buy a trombone, said the devil. Have I? said Blurtso. You must have, said the devil. I don’t think I need a trombone, said Blurtso. You don’t? said the devil. I already have two, said Blurtso. Two trombones! said the devil, you must be very happy! Yes, said Blurtso, I am. Do you want to give me one of your trombones? asked the devil. Absolutely not, said Blurtso. You are happier with two trombones instead of one? said the devil. Yes, said Blurtso, I am fond of my trombones. Well, said the devil, if you are happier with two instead of one, it stands to reason that you would be happier with three instead of two. Yes, said Blurtso, that stands to reason. And if three makes you happier than two, four would make you happier than three. Four trombones? said Blurtso. Absolutely, said the devil, and five and six. I’m not sure, said Blurtso, there must be a point of diminishing trombones. Diminishing trombones? said the devil. When more becomes less, said Blurtso. More becomes less? said the devil, that makes no sense at all. I suppose it doesn’t, said Blurtso, admiring a trombone out of the corner of his eye.
“Blurtso outsmarts the devil”
Hello, said Blurtso. Hello, said the devil. Come in, said Blurtso. Thank you, said the devil. I wasn’t sure you’d come, said Blurtso. I wasn’t sure you’d be here, said the devil. Here I am, said Blurtso. And I, said the devil. The bet is, said Blurtso, to see who can eat the most pumpkin pies. Yes, said the devil. And if I win? said Blurtso. You will have an endless supply of pumpkin pies. And if I lose? said Blurtso. You will relinquish your soul. Very well, said Blurtso, shall we begin with the pie on the table? Yes, said the devil, that looks like a perfectly good pie. Would you like to go first? asked Blurtso. No, said the devil, I wouldn’t dream of it. Very well, said Blurtso, sitting down to the pie. Blurtso cut the pie, slowly, into six equal slices, then proceeded to eat them, one by one, relishing every pupkin-filled bite. When he finished he licked the tin and pushed it toward the devil. That’s enough for me, said Blurtso. Only one? said the devil, that’s no competition at all. Perhaps, said Blurtso. O.k., said the devil, now it’s my turn. Go ahead, said Blurtso. Where’s my pie? asked the devil. I’m sorry, said Blurtso, I just ate the last one.
“Blurtso puts his ear to the cell phone”
O.K., thought Blurtso, I'd better get serious and do some living. Tell my friends and tell my family, be engaged and be engaging, be connected and accepted, broadcast every thing I’m doing, what I am and what I'm not, what I shall and I shall not, not forgotten when I’m talking, when I'm sitting, when I'm walking, just as long as I keep talking, are you listening are you listening??!!
“Blurtso realizes what it’s all about”
Life, thought Blurtso, is about doing whatever you can to feel what other people feel.
“Blurtso reflects on his first year at Harvard”
Well, thought Blurtso, that was quite a year. It was exciting. I read and I wrote and I thought and I spoke. My mind is spinning. I wonder how long it will spin? I wish I could make it stop… Hey! Is that a daisy?
“Blurtso reflects on the price of Rome”
The stone is clean now, and polished in the sun. And there is no sign of blood. But how many donkeys labored away their lives, hoof after hoof after hoof, to build this place?
“Blurtso says good-bye to
Like my brothers, I have found time to escape time and its burden. I have found pleasure in distraction, and satisfaction in its pleasure. The fugitive light leaves a temporary trace. One sits, another dances, still another builds walls of silver which another with silver shall destroy. I walk beside the waters, an insignificant syllable dissolving in the sand.
“Blurtso sees a mountain”
Look at that mountain! said Blurtso. Mountains can be very exciting! Yes, they can, said Pablo, imagining he was on the edge of a very steep cliff. From the top of that mountain you can see the whole valley! said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo, but you can’t see the mountain.
“Blurtso sees through the bottom of a glass”
Glass after glass, hoping the liquid will erase the differences, until we are all the same.
“Blurtso stands in a field”
I guess I should be bored in this field, thought Blurtso. I guess I should be restless and anxious and troubled. I guess I should be worried about the things I’m missing, all the excitement taking place without me. I guess I should be depressed. I guess I should feel that standing in this field is the worst thing in the world. Yes, thought Blurtso, I’m sure that’s what I should feel.
“Blurtso talks to a man on the street”
Why are you doing that? said Blurtso. This? said the man on the street. I’m doing this so I can do it again tomorrow. Why do you want to do that? said Blurtso. So I can do it the day after that. And after that? said Blurtso. Yes, said the man, and after that. Oh, said Blurtso, watching the man hurry off.
“Blurtso tries to tweet”
Curse these clumsy hoofs! said Blurtso. How am I going to let the whole world know every insignificant thought that comes into my mind?
“Blurtso walks a mile in his hoofs”
Yes, that’s how it is, thought Blurtso, walking a mile in his hoofs. That’s how it is and I know that’s how it is, he said walking, the only way he could walk, in his hoofs. I might pretend to know your hoofs and you mine, one hoof after another, after all, until we fall, you in yours and me in mine.
“Blurtso walks to
“Blurtso wonders what the fuss is about”
Remarkable, thought Blurtso, how we can be more excited about a stranger’s life than we can about our own.
“Blurtso watches the rain”
The rain has stopped, thought Blurtso, and the smog is gone. Everything’s dripping and clean. And beautiful. I wish we could find a way to live on this planet, without killing it.
“Blurtso wonders which way to go” (I)
Any road is a good road, thought Blurtso, that is traveled in harmlessness. And with a pumpkin pie in your pack.
“Blurtso wonder which way to go” (II)
Which way is downhill?
“Blurtso wonders which way to go” (III)
Hey! Is that a daisy?
“Free to go”
I don’t need you anymore, Blurtso, you’re free to go. Free? said Blurtso, looking for anything that resembled a chain.
And the others gathered before him and said, Blurtso, speak to us of justice. And Blurtso replied, “There is no justice but that a person must live with himself. A good man lives with a good man, and an ass lives with an ass.
“Particles in the air”
Hmmm, thought Blurtso, would you look at that, dust particles in the air, illuminated by the sun. I wonder what keeps them afloat? There must be some sort of current. Maybe it’s my breath. I suppose they would settle if I wasn’t here. They are very pretty. I’m glad to be of use.
Occasionally, thought Blurtso, I free my mind to the day. I feel the sounds, the colors, the breeze. And I remember this day, which is every day, a lifetime.
“Blurtso tries not to disappoint”
Hmmm, thought Blurtso. I guess I should do or say something. A lot of people have subscribed to my blog. I don’t want to let them down. But what should I do or say? Maybe I should do something that requires coordination and strength. Like a triple back-flip. That would be impressive! Too bad I don’t have coordination and strength. Maybe I should do something funny. Like attempt a triple back-flip without coordination and strength. That might be funny. But it might hurt. I don’t like things that hurt. I never have. Before I do anything I ask, “Will this hurt?” It’s a good question. Another good question is, “Where’s the food?” That may be the best question, because it usually leads to pleasure, unless there isn’t any food. Then it’s a sad question, perhaps the saddest question of all. Hmmm, thought Blurtso. I guess I should do or say something. I don’t want to let people down.