The Corner

Hilbert’s Blog

Saturday evening:  I awoke from disturbing dreams of motion and instability to a changed world.  So far as the interior of my box is concerned, everything is the same:  wood shavings, water dispenser, wheel, food tray.  Beyond the glass walls and mesh roof, however, all is changed, changed utterly:  colors, light, smells, sounds, all different.  Something similar has happened before, long ago, though the memory is dim.  All is still, all quiet, no sign of the Colossal Things.  I am apprehensive.  Shall burrow into my wood shavings and await the further evolutions of fate with the watchful resignation appropriate to one of a philosophical temperament.

Later:  Apprehension much eased.  Shortly after my last post a CT appeared.  This was, as best I can judge (given the stupendous scale of the Things), one of the larger, slower ones.  It came near to the glass walls of my box.  At first I was incapacitated with fear.  Who could tell what the Thing intended?  It might crush me to furry pulp at a whim!  I am ashamed to admit that I burrowed frantically into the deepest pile of wood shavings I could find.

Then I recalled that the CT most familiar to me up to this point — one of the smaller, faster ones — had responded with sounds and odors of pleasure to my working the wheel.  Overcoming my terror-stricken burrowing, I climbed into my wheel and worked it frantically, quickly attaining 100rpm with only minimal pitching and rolling, and no yaw at all.  (Mentally solving all those simultaneous differential equations was a mighty chore, but I believe I have finally cracked the stability problem.)  Sure enough, the CT emitted odors of delight, and made sounds quite free of those harmonics of menace, disgust, and cruelty that I sometimes used to hear–with such inward dread!–from the smaller, high-pitched CTs.  Perhaps all will be well.  Dare I hope thus? 

Yet later:    I truly believe all may be well.  After a brief absence, the same CT reappeared.  Before I could enter my wheel again, he had removed the lid of my box and lifted out the water dispenser.  After a somewhat longer disappearance, he returned again and replaced the dispenser, filled now with cool fresh water.  Furthermore, the water was unchlorinated.  Either this is the normal state of water in this new region of the world, or the CT went to some pains to seek out unchlorinated water for my delectation.  I choose to believe the latter.  All this bodes well… though of course, the true course of my fate for the near future will be more clearly revealed when my wood shavings are changed.  This is now a matter of some urgency, as I have been voiding my bladder more frequently than normal, owing both to having drunk deeply from the fresh water, and to the insecurity attending my new circumstances….

Sunday morning:    My fears of earlier now seem absurd.  After a night of silence — CTs rarely appear at night, when all rational creatures are awake — I had just settled down uneasily in the deepest pile of wood shavings for a day’s sleep, when the large CT from yesterday reappeared.  By its limitless powers, against which I offered no resistance, I was raised from my bed of shavings and deposited in the outer world — an infinite flat plain of that familiar grainy, chewable but non-nourishing texture, featureless but for cracks spaced about a body length apart, extending to infinity in both directions, and overcast with the shadows of vast structures whose purpose I cannot guess.  The CT raised my box, and moved to some outer region of the world beyond my vision.  I spent some time in fruitless explorations, encountering only a few fragments of oatmeal cookie, which I gratefully ingested. 

Then the CT returned.  I was raised again, to be deposited — O joy! — in my familiar box, but now filled with clean, dry, and fragrant wood shavings, and — Joy unconfined!! — a food tray stocked with fresh morsels!  My glass walls had been cleaned, my water dispenser refilled.  Praise be to the CT! 

I have now shed all fears.  Life will be good.  In acknowledgment of these blessings, and although very tired, having been awakened from the early stages of sleep by these events I have just narrated, I worked my wheel steadily for several hundred revolutions, but all the time thinking about those morsels on the food tray.  The CT exuded pleasure, by scent and by sound.  Blessed be the harmony of the universe! 

Now the CT has left and I believe I may sleep securely.  Time for prayers.  “From CTs clumsy and CTs cruel, from the whiskered fiend and the shaggy ghoul, from poison chamber and drowning pool, may the Great Hamster preserve us.”  Amen.  And so to bed. 

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Bill Murray: The King of Cool

Bill Murray’s Bill Murray impression is priceless in On the Rocks, the way John Wayne did a fantastic John Wayne parody in True Grit and Al Pacino found a new level of Pacino-ness in Scent of a Woman. I want to quote every line of dialogue Murray delivers in his new movie for Apple TV+ -- every hilarious piece ... Read More
Film & TV

Bill Murray: The King of Cool

Bill Murray’s Bill Murray impression is priceless in On the Rocks, the way John Wayne did a fantastic John Wayne parody in True Grit and Al Pacino found a new level of Pacino-ness in Scent of a Woman. I want to quote every line of dialogue Murray delivers in his new movie for Apple TV+ -- every hilarious piece ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More
Books

Orwell, Huxley, and Us

To hear some people tell it, America entered a dystopia long before the coronavirus and measures undertaken to combat it altered everyday life almost to the point of unrecognizability. As for which dystopia, and when, well — that depends on whom one asks. For many on the left, the annus horribilis was 2016, ... Read More
Books

Orwell, Huxley, and Us

To hear some people tell it, America entered a dystopia long before the coronavirus and measures undertaken to combat it altered everyday life almost to the point of unrecognizability. As for which dystopia, and when, well — that depends on whom one asks. For many on the left, the annus horribilis was 2016, ... Read More