Sunday, February 17, 2013

Did Socrates Take Bathroom Breaks? Or "It's hard to unpack the mysteries of the Universe on a full bladder."

I'm back to reading Randal Rauser's The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails. Randal has been deeply involved in a philosophical/theological discussion at a college coffee shop with his new atheist acquaintance, Sheridan, who suddenly says,

"Listen, how about we take a commercial break here? I gotta take a whiz." 

"You bet," I nod, relieved for a way out of the awkward moment.  "It's hard to unpack the mysteries of  the universe on a full bladder."

As Sheridan walks away, I look over to you.  I can tell what you're thinking:  isn't it a bit crass to include a bathroom break in a book like this?  After all, Socrates never takes a bathroom break in Plato's dialogues.  Why don't I treat my characters like bladderless talking heads?

"Verisimilitude," I whisper to you.  "I'm trying to make this as lifelike as possible:  In fact, Reader, in order to maximize realism, I think I'll take a quick bathroom break myself.  I don't want to play the omnisicient narrator here, you know?  I've got to be in the story to be credible."  With that I stand up and walk over to the cash register to grab the remaining washroom key.

In case you were wondering, their discussion has been pretty interesting, too.

No comments: