Fish Bone: A Dialogue

12:33 AM
Moraline: i remember this all you can eat buffet in ushuaia at the end of the world. it was a touring cyclists dream. i went in there and ate for nearly 2 hours. there was meat, fish, salads, asado, barbecued everyhing. great buffet. but then, i ate this smoked fish, and i realized i had a bone stuck in my throat
i kept trying to swallow it.
i felt i was going to choke and die
right there dead in ushuaia in this buffet.
12:34 AM
i could feel myself about to choke and die. it bothered me but then it didnt
then i realized i had to live. i had to get this bone out of my throat.
i had to stop trying to swallow it.
i went in the bathroom and stuck my finger down my throat until i threw up. huge fucking bone. incredible size. thick and very long
problem was i threw up 2 hours worth of eating. i was fucking hungry all over again!!
12:35 AM
so i started all over on the buffet and sat there another 2 hours eating. the owner couldnt believe it. guy was pissed off at me. but it was all you can eat.
how could this fucking skinny motherfucker sit in my restyaurant and eat for 4 fucking hours?
Saint-Maximin: coughing in uncontrollable laugter
12:36 AM
have you published a short story on this?
Moraline: its funny now, but i really could have died. the bone was as long as my pinky finger
Saint-Maximin: it is a good story--choking on a fish bone at the end of the world
Moraline: funny thing is in my throat it didnt feel that big. i thought it was only a small bone and i could perhaps swallow it. i tried very hard to swallow it too
12:37 AM
Saint-Maximin: choking is a terrible feeling. jesus, bulemia
12:38 AM
Moraline: what is worse puking up all that good food you spent 2 hrs eating. what a pain to have to do it all over again when youre hungry
12:39 AM
Saint-Maximin: yes, they are "livre" which is all you can eat--typically 9 reis for a down to earth joint and then 15 reis for a more well to do joint. they also have "por kilo" or by the kilo but it's a rip-off
jesus, 4 hours of eating a 15 minutes of vomiting.
yeah, you can still drink the hot chocolate though.
Moraline: this place in ushuaia was actually kinda expensive. 70 pesos i think. about
30 dollars
12:40 AM
but i ate a ton of food
yeah, i dont mind the hot chocolate
Saint-Maximin: yes but at the end of the world, and especiaally when you get to recharge in the toilet, that's a good deal
12:41 AM
Moraline: it was high quality food. and i ate a ton. worth it. and that fish too i had avoided all day until the end. i saw those bones. stupidly i tried it and nearly died from it.

Language & Life

126. The danger is great. To write too much about life and make of it a deception. What can be said about life then becomes the shield a man uses to protect himself from it. He shields himself against the silence, from having nothing to say.

128. Language is not designed to advance an explanation of the world, but to get something accomplished between men within it.  The men who communicate with each other to erect the house have made more sense of life than the great philosopher. The house is now a protection from the rain and cold, a place where the family gathers. And what of the philosopher’s idea?

142. There are simply facts. You can do no more with them than to point them out. Any explanation of them is nonsense. The will to explain is a bad habit and the most obvious evidence of a man's weakness.

187.  A novel may have a message, as they say. A poem may. So may a film or a photograph or a painting. Perhaps the artist intends these messages to be universal, to function for all men. But in art these messages best function within the work. It works differently for philosophy. A philosopher only has a message. His life and the life of every other man who has ever lived is where he puts his message. A philosopher begins by saying that other men cannot live outside his message. Whether other men want it or not his message has included them. Indeed, some philosophers have attempted to include all things in the world and the existence of the world itself in their message.


Gringos (Part 1)

These young people from Western countries do something called “taking time off.” They go on a trip after college. They backpack it. They ride a bicycle loaded with panniers. They call it ‘adventure’. They call it ‘risk taking.’ They have a book that tells them where to go and where to drink beer with other adventurers and where to eat and where to stay.
They save up money for this trip. Some of them ask people and companies for donations and to sponsor them on their great adventure. Some pledge to travel on their adventure in the name of a cause such as “ending breast cancer” or “curing AIDS.” Some ask companies to give them free backpacks or bicycles or bicycle panniers and tents and other gear so that they might advertise for them.
Many of these young Western people do a few weeks of volunteer work or take some language classes in these poor, under-developed foreign countries. Then they return to Europe or the USA. They put this adventure on their resume and when they are called for job interviews they are excited to talk about it. This trip changed them. They are a new person now. They should be hired instead of other job candidates who have not taken such trips. This trip has been the difference to everything, they say. They have seen poverty and poverty moved them. This trip has uniquely qualified them for the position.
When they learned to speak a few words of the local language they learned things from these people. These people were poor but insisted on giving them food and giving them shelter. These people are poor but gave them things! With this knowledge I will be a better associate at your company, they say. In five years time I see myself here, advancing professionally, sacrificing for this great firm, they say. In ten years too. I have seen and helped the poor and I am ready to work now, ready to improve this company, to be an associate to the middle manager, and my adventures among the world’s poor has been the ideal preparation for this task.



60. In this epoch of the absent gods, the deaths of unexceptional men are called tragedies by other unexceptional men. In this age of democracy every man is called a hero and every incident is “amazing.”

64. Greatness is only measured against the gods. And it is only to a great man that the gods will allow a tragedy to happen. Verily, tragedy is the gift of the gods to great men.


29. Just because it has had a name assigned to it, does not mean that it exists.
30. The world is bent anew for the new word.
32. A man’s life shows more then he or other men can ever say about it.
33. A sitting man is invariably more wordy than an active man. The bigger and more poetic the vocabulary, the less active the man.
51. Scientific showing is something altogether different. It is a showing that has been cornered and scripted and rehearsed. What does not then show itself thematically is rejected and the showing is again performed until it delivers the expected results. Scientific showing is more theatre than life. Science reveals the world according to man’s theme.


A Tiny Crystal

The Peruvian hippie on the malecon at Huanchaco held a tiny quartz crystal. He placed the tiny crystal in my hand.
“This will bring you what you need,” he told me.
“What do I need?”
“It will bring you money.”
“I do not need money.”
“It will bring you love.”
“Look at that Colombian woman over there.” I pointed at Ines. “Mira, parce. You can see that I do not need love.”
“It will bring you security in your travels.”
“I make my own security, parce. A knife works better than a tiny crystal.”

"Then you will not buy this tiny crystal from me? Even for a favor?"

"I have no need for your tiny crystal. I would only lose it and regret giving you soles for it. Sell it to he who has the need."
It stunned him that I needed nothing, that his tiny crystal meant nothing to me. South Americans were constantly wishing or praying for something to happen for them. Peru in particular was filled with witch doctors and brujeria. It was an attitude that I didn’t understand. If you wanted something to happen you made it happen. Certainly there was luck. But luck ran good and bad and you could not do anything about it. Luck was a mystery. And no man could summon it from a tiny crystal.

My Message for Suscal

I met Alberto in the small park near my hotel as I walked up the hill for breakfast. We talked for awhile and then Alberto asked me to prepare a message for the people of Suscal and to deliver this message during the evening church service. I agreed to do it.
I thought I would make remarks about the simple beauty of their mountain culture and the strength of their religious beliefs and how this made their happiness. This I would contrast with the unhappiness of my country and its conspicuous consumption and rejection of religion.
But as the day progressed and I thought more about speaking to these indigenous people, I realized I knew nothing about them. I was only presuming they were happy. I knew nothing of their lives. They wore black wide-brimmed hats and the women had purple or pink handmade dresses and they were all very short and dark and Indian looking. That was all I knew of them. I didn’t understand them in any deep way. Not like I knew America. America I knew well. America I could speak about. But why should I tell these people about America? Why not leave America where it is and leave these Andean mountain people to themselves? Indeed, I had come to South America to receive messages, not to deliver them.
I realized I could not address the congregation. I knew this would disappoint Alberto. I would not know how to explain it to him. I decided it would be better just to miss our meeting at 6pm. If I ran into him before I left I would say I had fallen asleep. I had disappointed people before and I would certainly do it again.
It was better this way. To not make these people any more interested in America than they might already be. I carried with me an intoxicating and dangerous poison and I did not want to spread it. The Spanish had come and changed these people and American culture could easily finish them off. I had not come here to encourage it.
With or without me these people were being changed. In Suscal I saw as many internet shops as food shops, each filled with young people going online. Facebook and videos and games were what they looked at. It wasn’t any different than in Western countries.
After speaking with Alberto I ate breakfast on the avenida principal and a boy and girl at another table watched me as I ate. Neither of them wore the traditional clothing. The young man was dressed in baggy, hip-hop style jeans and the girl in a t-shirt and jeans. When I spoke with the woman who ran the restaurant the boy and girl laughed. My Spanish is of the Colombian north coast and it no doubt was a surprise to hear a strange, long-haired, blue-eyed man speaking it. I thought to myself: though they dress as gringos at least they are not so knowledgeable of gringos as to no longer stare and laugh at them. Verily, when the young can no longer stare and laugh at a foreigner Suscal will have been altogether lost.
Copyright © Moraline Free