On Razzle Dazzle, And Its Avoidance

Bombarded by razzle dazzle, he had hankerings. All was buzz and zip, clash and ring, and he sought the peace that passeth all understanding. Therefore, he dug a burrow, and into the burrow he went tumbling head over heels. He had worms for neighbours. He studied their ways. Their ways were not his, nor were they attractive. Indeed they filled him with disgust. The slightest sound became magnified in the burrow, so he could hear the worms and their ways as clearly as the upper din he had fled. What a quandary. He dug further, to where there were no worms. Now it was hot but silent. His eyes adjusted to the lack of light. The walls of the burrow were adamantine. He rested. Fumes woke him. They came from below. Below it was hotter still, darker still, more silent still. He carried on digging. The fumes were those of rot. They grew more noisome as he dug. He gagged on them but persisted. Suddenly he was sloshing about in a torrent. No up nor down. He was carried for miles. Hissing in his ears. Gulping. Then he was deposited, after many a buffet, on a hard landing. Hard and hot. And there was a glow. And a distant din. As he crawled the glow grew brighter, the din louder. Fathoms deep, below his burrow, below the sloshing torrent, there was razzle dazzle, buzz and zip, clash and ring.

This was a disappointment to him. His hankerings had been betrayed. He was at the core, and could burrow no further. He sought a nook, a hot dark silent nook, but there was no such nook. He crept closer to the glow and din. It was incomprehensible. Thus he felt freed, unloosed from sense. This was a novelty, and not unwelcome. So it was without thought that he flung himself into space. Falling pell mell. Into a jet, elemental, of gas or steam upgushing. Atop the jet he was shot ever higher, passing strata through which he had toiled to burrow, past torrents and worms, and up, up, into cold bright dazzling light and air. Then with a thump he was on land, on the surface. And he rubbed his head and sat up, and looked, and was assailed by razzle dazzle.

And so he roamed until he arrived at the foot of a mountain. And he climbed until the air grew so thin he was panting. It was cold up here, and silent. He was higher than birds.

There is a sort of heroism in pursuing one’s hankerings so indomitably. There is, too, stupidity. He repeated this journey, a journey of escape from razzle dazzle, over and over again. First the burrowing, then the climbing. The sloshing and the upgush. Hot dense fumes and cold bright air. It was the thinness of the air that drove him back down the mountain, down through where birds swooped, down to earth, to buzz and zip and razzle dazzle. The stupidity lay in the fact that it was always down or up he went, and never sideways. Sideways might have been a wiser choice.

His objection to sideways was that it was not truly possible. On this planet, one could only go round and round. Better, he thought, to try down or up. His hobbyhorse was the fatuous idea that one day, one day, he might plunge deeper, or clamber higher. That was why he kept pursuing his hankerings, in the face of common sense. It was put to him that he could go, not just round and round, but round and round and round and round, almost but not quite ad infinitum, were he to adjust his trajectory each time round, ever so slightly, by a fraction of a compass point. This gave him pause. He even obtained a compass.

To get the compass, though, he had to immerse himself in the razzle dazzle and buzz and zip and clash and ring of a major leisure and retail facility. Exposure to it, at such close quarters, sundered what little sense he had. He fell out of the compass shop gibbering. A Good Samaritan gathered him up and shoved him on to a bus. The bus creaked and rumbled off, on a trip that, until it stopped, would take it round and round. Thus he might have gathered his wits and seen the beauty of the plan. He might even have tinkled the bus bell and caused it to stop and let him off at a place as far as could be from razzle dazzle. But it happened that the compass he had bought was subject to magnetic anomalies. Its needle spun like the crackers, this way and that, chaotically. He had no understanding of magnetism, none at all, but he could see something was not right. And so he threw himself off the bus as it crossed Sawdust Bridge. And then he threw himself off Sawdust Bridge into the Great Frightening River. And he threw himself from the river into a rowing boat that happened to be there in midstream. And he rowed. He rowed until he came to the sea. And then he kept rowing. He rowed and rowed. Far from land masses of any considerable size, he reached an atoll. That is where you will find him, staring at his compass, day in, day out. Here, he is annoyed by seabirds. This is the best he can do, for the time being.

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