Metabasis (me-ta’-ba-sis): A transitional statement in which one explains what has been and what will be said.
Professor Pentaclause: I have told you all I know about crème sauce, it’s history, ingredients, and uses. Next, we’re going to have a look at my “difficulties” while I down a few shots of bourbon and smoke this joint. I’ve been teaching “sauces” here at “Governor Clockmoore’s School of Culinary Arts” for 8 years. As you know, Clockmoore’s is located at the pinnacle of perfection—it is like a Platonic Idea of culinary arts. We operate in full service of the senses, speaking to the taste buds in the languages of savor, sensuality, and lip-smacking revels spanning the spectrum from sweet to bitter, frozen to hot, chilled and warmed. I have diligently taught you that there is no real difference between what tastes good and what is good. That writhing in a field with your lover on a warm summer night under a star-filled sky is good, just as good as rescuing a puppy whose leg is stuck in a metal trap, mercilessly crushing his little speckled paw. When faced with the choice between what feels good, and what is good, what feels good should win the prize: what is good can hurt you and even possibly get you killed. Which should it be? Jumping in front of a bullet? Or, a large order of fries and a sojourn in a hot tub?
Yes. Yes. Thank you for the applause. But nobody is perfect. That includes me. I have succumbed to the good that has no apparent sensual payoff, and while I have told you to oppose it, and resist it, and seek sensual pleasure instead, I have not, and I have concealed it out of shame and embarrassment for not living in accord with my own credo: “If it feels good do it, and pay money for it if you have to.”
This baby Robin had fallen out of its nest. It’s mother was going crazy, cheeping and running back and forth on the nest’s branch. The baby Robin had landed in the street. It was a busy street with cars and trucks zooming back and forth. The baby Robin had landed on the white line. I was standing on the curb eating a Peruvian dark chocolate cupcake with mashed truffle icing and a small ball of edible gold foil on top. It tasted like it was made by angels who were in love with me and wanted to carry me off to Miami, or LA., or some other wonderland. But the baby Robin’s cheeping broke through the din and drew me into the street like a macaroon made by Pierre Desfontaines himself! Holding my cupcake over my head, I stepped into the traffic. Tires squealed. Horns honked. Curses were hurled. After almost getting killed a couple of times, I reached the baby Robin shivering and cheeping on the street’s white line. I threw my magnificent cupcake to the ground. I picked up the baby Robin and cupped my hands, and held the little guy as I risked my life getting back to the sidewalk. I was standing under the branch that the baby Robin had fallen from. I couldn’t reach the nest to return the baby Robin, so I threw it. After five or six tries, he landed in his nest, where his mother promptly threw him out. I picked him up and carried him home. I bought him a birdcage and named him Robin. I looked up baby bird food recipes on the internet. They were disgusting. I wasn’t ready to run earthworms through my high-tech blender, or mash them with a mortar and pestle. I dealt with my trepidations by garnishing the worms with egg yolks and finely chopped pickles.
My garnishes made Robin very sick. I had to take him to the Vet. The Vet pumped Robin’s stomach with an eye dropper and admonished me for what I had done. I should’ve read the whole baby bird feeding article—it explicitly said not to garnish the worms. I felt terrible. I had almost killed an innocent baby bird! But, in a weird way, I felt good—a different kind of good than my credo advocates. The feeling was intangible, yet somehow sensual. I am baffled.
Accordingly, I am taking a sabbatical. Robin and I will be taking up residence in a monastery specializing in coddling rich people who think they have stepped off the cliff of spiritually and are tumbling toward a giant puddle of mud filling a mall parking lot and preventing them from freely shopping. This is a complex metaphor requiring delicate and subtle philosophic examination. “Mumbo Monastery” provides the kind of bleak and austere environment that induces insight, reflection and facilitates personal change.
So, I’ll see you around. Where’s my Robin? Did anybody see where he went?
Student: Yes, Professor Pentaclause, the janitor grabbed him when you weren’t looking and ran out the side exit!
Professor Pentaclause: Oh. When you see him tell him I gave him the bird with both hands.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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