A decade after this interview, I wonder: whud's the use of words?
While crystal glasses clink an' compu-screens blink, writing seems curiously hollow.
A growing part of me believes in silence, though another part delights in each keyboard stroke . . .

Post-Bubble Eco-Perspectives:

Johnny Collegiate Speaks

by T Newfields

T Newfields at age 23 (photo taken in Tempe, Arizona in c. 1983

John Collegiate is a part-time poet and freelancer as well as a former Rhodes scholar at a university in the southwestern USA. His essay on structural rigidity received kudos from several senior faculty and was even quoted in a recent issue of The American Journal of Economics. This interview was conducted at a bar near his condo in Flagstaff, Arizona in June 2004, shortly after his graduate studies were completed. He was half-sober during the interview and mainly intent on the grunge music in the background.

TN: How would you rate the government's ongoing reform efforts?
JC: Well, they could make a better beer. Especially when things heat up, a good lager helps cool things down.
TN: Do you think current pension reform measures are adequate?
JC: That depends on the notion of adequacy. It is certainly adequate for the rich. Could I have another pitcher, please?
TN: But don't you think an income tax hike is justified, given the grave financial situation at hand?
JC: Hmm, people have such interesting ways of justifying what they do. I can tell you this beer goes down mighty smoothly. No justifications are needed for that.
TN: You aren't taking this interview seriously!
JC: Roger. Do you think any of my opinions matter? Do you believe anything that I write or say actually matters an iota? Get this straight – you and I are basically irrelevant. The system has a pre-set trajectory, which at this point is towards oblivion. Your entire life is simply a bubble in this beer!
TN: That's a cop out – don't we have a genuine impact on how the world turns?
JC: Get real: your existence is but a quantum fluctuation and entire lifespan a mere ephemera. In the big picture, you're basically insignificant. So shake off your notions of "importance" and enjoy a good beer. The greatest wisdom is to cherish the brief moments that appear. Be kind-hearted and share your suds with those around you. Soon enough, there will be no barrel, no brew, no self.
TN: No one will take such talk seriously.
JC: Do you think ordinary conversation is serious?
TN: Well, anything worth saying?
JC: (crunching on a cold cucumber) Yah, interview some mountains, trees, or rivers. They are wiser than us. Those in power should listen to them more.