Walker Percy Wednesday 48


The game was the thing. One became impatient with non-game happenings—a nurse coming in to empty the urinal. Time disposed itself in short tolerable stretches between the bright beads of the games. The score itself, toted up and announced, had the cheerful workaday effect of a small tidy business.

It came to be understood too that one was at the other’s service and that any service could be required. As it sometimes happens between two young men, a kind of daredevil bargain was struck in which the very outrageousness of a request is itself grounds for obeying.

. . .

“Then you have nothing to tell me,” the engineer asked him again.
“That is correct. Nothing.”
“But, sir, you wrote many things in—”
“In the first place I didn’t write them to you. In the second place I no longer believe a word of it. Did you ever read the great philosopher Wittgenstein?”
“No sir,” said the other gloomily.
“After his last work he announced the dictum which summarized his philosophy. He said: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should keep silent. And he did. He stopped teaching and went to live in a hut and said no more.”
“And you believe that?”
“No, I don’t even believe that.”

. . .

“Which is the best course for a man: to live like a Swede, vote for the candidate of your choice, be a good fellow, healthy and generous, do a bit of science as if the world made sense, enjoy a beer and a good piece (not a bad life!). Or: to live as a Christian among Christians in Alabama? Or to die like an honest man?”