On Beckett’s bad jokes

Beckett got it wrong because he got there too late. And then all he could do, all he could think to do was to tell a joke. The joke is that one must strive–with no view that toward which one must strive; that one must be patient without hope; courageous without reason; must keep to one’s schedule because that’s the thing to do. The joke is that suicide is not really an option but only because there’s no rope on hand (right, now you’re getting the hang of it) or because one would botch the thing, botch it all to hell. And in trying to go through with it the bow would break and the damned noose would fall and the neck would be a little sore afterward. That would be a good joke–haha–to will, to be patient, to go through the motions, to have an actionable plan. Damned thing is that it won’t come off.

Got there too late. Kept the theological virtues, the moral virtues too, but the practices, the traditions, the ultimate aims, the reasons you know the reasons–these were left behind. Good day not to live. But not too bad to die. Got there too late: the words, all the words, and the names, and the exercises, oh yes the virtues still there, but after the culture had fled, had gone–had long gone, had gone long, had gotten off too long–elsewhere. Can’t go must go I’ll go haha.

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