Derrida and the Umbrella

October 23, 2017

Have you ever helped a Deconstructionist?  It had begun to drizzle and I had an umbrella, but the great French philosopher did not. “Allow me,” quoth I, and opened the faux Gothic entryway door, and the blue umbrella (foomp!), and out we went.

I was nineteen and an English major and our critical anti-Father, was visiting! A loose clot of economics majors was playing whiffleball in the courtyard in the rain, and had no idea whO was trying to sneak through their outfield, nor would have cared.

How I treasure our brief pas de deux, as though the arc we traversed over the wet green lawn were somehow preserved in blue amber, forever — the two of us glowing in the domed umbra of our subjective nylon sky as I deftly ran interference for him with the future bankers.

But the louse of deconstructionism nitpicks at my memory:  did I project the whole thing?  The ramparts and the rain, and the recherche polyglot and I so smartly bisecting the gauche whiffleballers?

Did I project those few hallowed moments when I shielded Art and Thought with my body as we wormed a blue hole through solid History, I and ouroboros — the dapper daemonic, self-consuming zeitgeist in a Givenchy suit?

And did I project that huge redhead, spheroid and freckled and lumbering in the outfield?  Did I project him staggering blindly backward in the rain to field the plastic pop-up?  And slipping, and then wobbling massively, like a vast planet abandoning its axis, smashing into the asteroidally flyweight French philosopher?

And did I project the hallowed thinker flying up, as though sprung from a catapult — up through the rain — soaring past the tracery of the lone Elm, the one with the tire swing that, protected by the walls of academia, had survived Dutch Elm disease?

And did I project him accelerating upward as we all watched, zooming over the crennellated ramparts of our youth — past the ivied towers and up, up through the weeping clouds and beyond the sky and Truth?

Ah, yes, that. That I did project.