Wisdom Through Humor
Thos Who Kant, Teach

Hans Castro

Let's start this shindig by illuminating the confused and saying that a) Immanuel Kant was thought by many to be the greatest of the secular philosophers; that b) he labored to illuminate the elusive concept of free will in society; and that c) he has absolutely nothing to do with what you' re about to read. As a matter of fact, the only reason he's sitting there in the title is that I REALLY needed a pun. "Those who Can't, Teach" might be a time honored proverb, but, just between us, it ain't too catchy a title. Besides, it never hurts to plug in important sounding dead philosophers. They can't complain, being dead and all, and chicks dig guys with a deep grasp of philosophocality.

As for the above mentioned proverb, I was innocently browsing the shelves of a local bookstore when it jumped at me from the bright cover of a discounted book and grabbed me by the collar. It's not usually a very violent proverb, and God knows what provoked it this time. It certainly got my attention. The book in question was "The Screenplay is the Thing", and it was subtitled: "How to Write and Sell an Award Winning, Blockbuster Screenplay". For those who care about that sort of thing, it was written by E. M. Firenstein, who has in the past "sold 3 screenplays to the Hollywood Machine, among them the celebrated 'Night of the Horny Bunnies' " "Night of the Horny Bunnies"?!? One HAS to wonder: is this a Playboy sponsored skin flick, or are we actually dealing with, well, bunnies equipped with horns?!?

Back to the attacking proverb: "Those who Can't, Teach". I might be wrong about this, Mr. Firenstein, but if you're so sure you can teach me screen writing for $19.95, shouldn't YOUR screenplays deal with something other than bunnies? I zoomed out to take in the whole "Screenplays for Dummies" shelf. My panic intensified when I discovered that the most famous of the screen play gurus was the man responsible for "one" of the Karate Kid movies. ( The fact that the book was mysteriously silent as to WHICH of them probably means it was "The Karate Kid V: The Bowel Movement.")

For a few moments I was mystically transported to that golden era, that age of innocence, those simpler days: I'm talking about the 80's, of course. I clearly remember the excitement after an encore showing of the original "Karate Kid", when I, white bandanna on my head, proclaimed myself master of the ancient art of karate and ready to impart my wisdom in exchange for good money. (A quarter was good money, in those kinder, gentler times, by the way.) Before long, I had rounded ten or so neighborhood kids and had them jumping on command while I shouted inanities: "The true strength comes from within, not from without. Wisdom is your ally. Let the universe guide you towards your goal. Let your karmic stuff concentrate on the tip of your fingers. Kick your enemy in the balls. That never fails." Let me give you an idea of MY own level of personal fitness: for an unusually long time, I thought "bench-pressing" was what Big Aunt Bertha did when she dropped down on a park bench after a misguided attempt at jogging. Nonetheless, I was once master of the dojo. Repeatedly saying chi-hiut-zu-chang as though you mean it will fool an amazingly large number of people into thinking you have a black belt in wang-johng-chen, (which is another Chinese-sounding word I made up.)

When I came back to myself from my 80's flashback (it had nothing to do with the cute bookstore clerk who kept eyeing me suspiciously like maybe I had blacked out and she should call 911) I had been newly enlightened by the sinister possibility: were my teachings and Mr. Firenstein's isolated incidents? Or are we ALL being led by the blind? I scrambled through the bookstore maze in confusion, finally halting in terror before the celebrity section of the store. Darva Conger: "How to Bear Unwanted Fame with Dignity and Courage." Alicia Silverstone: "Secrets to Obtaining Hollywood Longevity." Courtney Cox Arquette: "How I Married the Handsomest, Smartest Man in Showbiz." The implications were horrifying: Are diet books written by wishful shut ins who barely remember seeing their toes?!? Are cookbooks written by starving Ethiopian kids who are starting to consider flies as rare delicacies?!? Are we crawling closer and closer to the edge of the abyss with every generation?!?

The apocalypse is clearly upon us. Kant may have nothing to do with any of it. Then again he just might. I'll leave you with an exhortation to buy my new book: "How to Chill Out: The Handy Dandy Guide to Not Panicking Over Every Stupid Thought that Crosses Your Mind". I think I have a lot to teach you.


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