On Hunger

A: Were you raised by wolves? Where is your sense of human decency, your sense of compassion?

B: I suckled compassionately at my mother’s breast.

A: Only because you had yet to develop teeth.

B: Ouch.

A: I hope you feel the sting that I begin to feel as I watch your nihilism — which you used to wear only as a mask or cloak — seem to seep into your skin and into your blood and to taint all of your observations with hopelessness and bitter grief.

B: I didn’t design the universe. I merely comment on its manifestations.

A: Cowardice.

B: Is it cowardly to state the truth?

A: No it is not. But it is cowardly to throw up your hands and to say “It’s no use. Abandon hope. The future is preordained and we’re all doomed.”

B: But we are all doomed, when, in a few billion years the sun begins to expand . . .

A: Yes, yes, yes. Death is inevitable. But how you choose to spend your time while alive is not.

B: I disagree. I spend my life securing food and shelter, and seeking someone to embrace at night.

A: Now you sound less like a nihilist and more like a human being.

B: I’ve never claimed to be more than a human being. Or more than an animal. You claim that I can live my life doing whatever I want —

A: That’s not what I said.

B: Or, more accurately, that I can engage in activities of my own choosing.

A: More or less. What I actually meant is that you can choose your attitude. That you can live with a sense of hope or with a sense of despair.

B: But I cannot live without a sense of hunger.

A: Bite me.

B: Is that a figure of speech?

A: Are you into cannibalism?

B: I don’t know. Pass the salt.


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