Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Ennui

"I don't feel alive anymore," Sheila said. She stood near a counter, and stared off into the darkness. "And, I might add, this dress makes me feel fat. Every dress makes me feel fat."

Brendon sighed. "Must we go through this every night? You are not fat, and you have all the verve and pizazz that you were made with."

"But I do the same things every day. I don't go out and broaden my horizons and we never have friends in anymore, not since so many of them had to move away. Remember Kimmy and Don? What a hoot! I never got tired of their stories, always watching and commenting with those sharp little snips about society! How I hate them."

"They had to move away for work, Sheila. You know that. It's not fair for you to say. I know that before we met you were always moving around," Brendon said. "Weren't you in Paris? Didn't you leave friends behind?"

"I remember those days," Sheila said wistfully. Her eyes reflected the overhead lights, making them shimmer with the memory. "Paris in the springtime! A magic place even in the dead of winter, it sprang to life! The young parisiennes used to ogle me openly, their mouths agape and their hearts envious of all that I had. I used to be happy to work, then. But now work eats my life."

"Everybody goes through those phases," Brendon said.

"I've gone through them before, and what I feel now is not just a phase, it is a trend. I'm getting old, Brendon, and I feel it, like an old alabaster statue losing its luster and becoming tarnished by the stains of modernity. I'm being superceded. I'm too fat to model the new fashions. They keep me here and don't ship me off to Paris, to Tokyo, to New York, because I just can't fit into the new couture. And what use do they have for me if I can't model for them?"

"I'll grant you that there is a new way of doing things. But I will say that pretty young things may have looks, but very rarely do they have money, and fashion must be sold. It is a commodity that is purchased by the, ahem, older and full-figured ladies," Brendon said.

"But most of them have both of their hands," Sheila said.

Brendon fell silent. He should have known that was coming. His wife had never been able to overcome the loss of her hand.

"They make very fine replacements these days," Brendon said.

"No! They aren't replacements, they're monstrosities! You only get two hands, period, and if they're lost, then they are lost forever."

"You would be able to do everything with this that you could do with the old one," Brendon said.

"But it would never look right, and that's all that they care about," Sheila said.

"Your happiness counts, too."

"My happiness is gone, Brendon, and it can't be replaced."

When the clerks at the clothing store came to open up shop the next day, they found that some joker had taken the head off of one of the mannequins and put it in the trash can. They'd been meaning to replace it since a vandal had stolen one of its hands, so they threw it into the trash.

The Moral: when you stare into the eyes of a mannequin, be sensitive to the existential horror staring back at you.

Prev # Next