I wish I could remember where I saw it. I remember distinctly what it said. NOW! GET QUADRUPLE POINTS!!! The writing was in big bold bright block capitals, red, I think. There was an accompanying graphic and some smaller print, which it might have been a good idea for me to have read. As it is, not only do I not remember where I saw it, I have no idea what I need to do to get the quadruple points, nor indeed what I might do with them if I got them. I just remember the blazoned promise, so urgent, so life-changing.
It is not that I am particularly seeking to change my life at this moment. I am reasonably content. But there was something about the big bold bright block capital words that gave me pause. Not sufficient pause, admittedly, to pay attention to the graphic and to read the smaller print. What lodged in my head was the thought that, right now, I was being offered the chance to quadruple my points. Only a fool would walk away. So I suppose I must be a fool, for walk away I did, either literally, if I saw it on a hoarding while traipsing the streets, or figuratively, if I saw it on one of those advertising leaflets that fall out of magazines and which one tosses into the wastepaper bin having barely glanced at. If only I could remember, I could retraipse the same streets, or rummage in the bin… but thereagain, perhaps I saw it in another context entirely. I would feel even more of a fool fruitlessly traipsing or rummaging, in pursuit of what, after all, might be a chimera.
For what are the points I can increase fourfold? Do I already have some? What would be the implications of having four times more than I already have? If the points are redeemable, as I understand some points are, then having four times as many is clearly going to be a good thing, for the more points I have, the greater their redeemable value, in any coherent universe. It hardly matters what they are redeemable against, if “against” is the word I am looking for, which I think it is. If it turned out that my points were redeemable against something of no worth to me, still, I could barter them, with another points-possessing person, who might be overjoyed to be able to redeem his points for whatever gewgaw or frippery I had turned my nose up at.
If only I knew the precise nature of the points I was being offered the chance to quadruple. I almost wrote “the once in a lifetime chance”, for who knows if I will ever see those words, that promise, ever again, in all my days? I rue my ignorance. Rue, rue, rue, that’s me. I know so little about the points that I don’t even know if I already have some. But that is the inference, is it not, of the wording GET QUADRUPLE POINTS!!!? Unless one starts with four points as the minimum, but that doesn’t quite make sense. It is as easy as pie to think of situations or circumstances with three, two, or even a single point,
Consider, for example, a cathedral city with a majestic pointy steeple atop its cathedral. That might be the only point in the city, if, say, the remainder of its architecture is rounded and blunt and unpointy. Such a city is conceivable, though off the top of my head I cannot think of a concrete example. Equally conceivable is the idea that, if the burghers of the city took up the opportunity to GET QUADRUPLE POINTS!!! they might find themselves commissioning an architect to design three more buildings with pointy tops, or, the cheaper option, install three pointy lightning rods here and there across the city, thus increasing its pointiness fourfold at a swoop. If they then quadrupled their points again, they would have sixteen points, and if they quadrupled them again, sixty-four points, and if they quadrupled them again, two-hundred-and-fifty-six points, at which point the mind, or my mind, begins to boggle. Carry on like that and you are in Pointy Town territory.
Perhaps that is akin to the process by which Pointy Town became the pointiest town on earth. It cannot, of course, have begun with a pointy-steepled cathedral, for a cathedral would confer city status, usually, and for all its unfathomably numerous points, Pointy Town remains – is proud to remain – a town. But by all that is holy is it pointy! There have been several surveys of the town in recent decades, and none has been able to find even a smidgen of bluntness or roundedness or anything remotely resembling unpointiness. Each and every one of the surveyors has been defeated in their attempts to come up with a definitive count of the pointy bits in Pointy Town, so we cannot say if the total number is a multiple of four. I would like to think it is, but alas I am never going to know. I did, off my own bat, try to count the pointy bits by studying images of Pointy Town on Google Earth (Pointy Version) (Beta), taking the resolution as high as possible, to the point where steam was hissing out of my computer, but somewhere around the two and half million mark my counting was interrupted by a godawful din outside my window, where a cat and a crow and a squirrel were engaged in some kind of bestial contretemps. Being a fool, as, reluctantly, I have already admitted to, I had not been keeping a tally of the pointy bits of Pointy Town, with a butcher’s pencil on graph paper, which is what I would have done if I was no fool. So I would have had to start counting all over again, and quite frankly, I decided I had better things to do with my time. What those things might be, I leave for you to wonder about.