Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Paper Cuts

My Apologies to the Ghost of Evelyn Waugh
don't you understand, and don't you look about
I'm trying to take nothing from you
so why should you act so put out for me?
- Sixto Rodriguez

It might sound strange to compare a person with a piece of folded paper.
It might sound strange but I don’t care, for I have met the origami man and his cardboard wife.
The origami man is folded very neatly along lines of class and twisted social etiquette.
Internally those folds are sharp and complicated, resembling flattened out twists of factual logic that have no bearing on any sense of humanity or compassion.
The origami man totes up debit and credit of favours given and favours repaid – endevouring always to be the one owed.
The origami man is slave to facts and figures, lists and league tables; so much so that the truth is often obscured; his seeking eyes seeing nothing save the totals on the scoreboard.
The origami man is deeply disappointed by the lack of appreciation received from his fellow man – specifically from those of perceived lower social standing – of course to be unappreciated by those above him is to be expected – they are, after all, of higher standing by virtue of career, education or birthright.
The origami man knows his place (and resents it)
The origami man carries the weight of his class burden to the far reaches of the empire where, rather than shed this burden and explore new territory, he continues in the belief that here, at least, he has higher standing than the natives; here he may mix with the higher ranks by virtue of being a fellow countryman.
The origami man dreams of becoming the gentleman he always believed himself to be.
The origami man works hard at achieving nothing more than that which he already had.

The origami man’s wife is made of cardboard.
Not the decorative kind of cardboard used for home-made greeting cards of the vegetarian ethos, but the utilitarian kind of cardboard used to protect fragile objects in transit.
The cardboard woman keeps herself firmly inside the box.
The cardboard woman inquires after your health; your past; your beliefs; the colour of your underwear.
The cardboard woman ventures no information unless specifically asked, and then delivers it in minimal detail.
The cardboard woman appears quite harmless and ecologically sound until you snag yourself on one of the staples she uses to keep herself together.


nzdanboy said...

Hmm so much like the common people of old

Anomie-Atlanta said...

Sometimes I feel like the cardboard woman.

Zatikia said...

I do enjoy your writing Pisces. I think of the folds, so precise, so studied. So easily crumbled, after all, it is just paper.

Pisces Iscariot said...

nzdanboy: they're a couple of the worst kind of wingeing poms.
Thanks for visiting The Far Queue.

anomie: careful with those staples!

zatikia: your comments are always appreciated. Yes, unfortunately I do know these people and this post is an attempt to understand their mind games.

Sarazann said...

I like the story/poem. I have people like this in my family. So sad for the folks that are not grateful for the world around them.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

The cardboard woman appears quite harmless and ecologically sound until you snag yourself on one of the staples she uses to keep herself together.


I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that (most) women seem eager to use their recently acquired “emancipation” to prove they can be as shallow and vulgar as the “modern” man: in the early 1950s, professor Marshall McLuhan was the first to foresee our pathetic future made of “Desperate Housewives”, “Inside Paris Hilton” and other grotesque orgies advertised as refined Gallic hotels!

Pisces Iscariot said...

Funny you should mention McLuhan - I recently picked up an ancient penguin copy of 'The Medium is the Message' at a junk sale - fantastic stuff - and definitely still relevant.
Glad to have you back Doc!

Zanzounito said...

This analogy hits it right on target..this is a disease that infects all people. We must meet the status quo, pisces, where's my Mercedes???

Zanzounito said...


disease that infects many people

Tim Footman said...

If Evelyn Waugh is a cardboard man, what does that make Auberon? A paper boy?

Pisces Iscariot said...

zanzounito: glad you added the correction :-}
Tim: I presume that's a rhetorical question and that you are aware that this is not about the Waughboys. (But doesn't Evelyn look fierce?)

the flying monkeys said...

hello Pisces,

Borrowing from the words of Zatika, "so precise, so studied", I believe this more than ever and I do love this post.

On your striking observation on origami man and cardboard wife,
a kind of metaphor. Am sobered. I have always believed the perfect moment for any nation to shine a new light would be when faced with such obscurity. Unfortunately, a paper has no eyes, no ears. Can it hear what it cannot see?

I love this blog.

the flying monkeys said...

Continuing, on the subject of obscurity and mystery.

Far from dooming jazz to obscurity, if you have not heard this brilliant musician, then that recording will make a good introduction. A symbioses of jazz and mandingo music. I bet, you will love the mistery. Composed without deliberate obscurity, check out Hanks entry @ 1:58 minutes into play, is when it gets really flamboyant.

Let me know if you like it?

Cheers and have a good one.

FlyingRodent said...

I'm sorry to say that you've just described my average day at work.

It's upsetting, since I blog to forget.