Kategoria (ka-te-go’-ri-a): Opening the secret wickedness of one’s adversary before his [or her] face.

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” To some extent you can judge a book by its cover—like if it says “Cook Book“ it is probably a cook book. But, it could be a meth lab manual. However, 99% of the time a book’s cover will give you a fair idea of what’s inside, unless it’s coded in some way like “Of Mice and Men.” That book’s not about mice and men, literally. It is not a book about how mice and men have shared living spaces since the beginning of time. If it was that, it might be titled “Of Mice, and Men, and Cats.” In the end, I guess you take a risk solely judging the quality of a book’s contents by its cover. We all know this is a cautionary note. Kind of like “what you see isn’t always what you get.”

If I think of the book cover as the exterior you, and your real character as the book’s content, I can say with confidence that I am an idiot—or maybe socially illiterate. If I had bothered to scan your table of contents, I never would’ve gotten hooked up with you, and eventually, married to you. The tile of the book? “I am Your Special Angel: I’ll Never Hurt You, I’ll Never Desert You, I’ll Never Let You Down.” Wow! What more could a guy ask for? But, you ended up doing all three of those things and more.

If I had just taken a peek at Chapter One’s title: “Extramarital Frolics,” I would have had an inkling that something was wrong. But, I paid no attention—I was captivated by your cover. It made you seem perfect. The last chapter, Chapter Five, it is titled: “Cleaning Out the Joint Account and Disappearing.” You didn’t get a chance to live this one out. The bank’s VP clued me in that something was up. You told him we were going on vacation and needed the cash. The joint account had $150,000 in it. That’s an awful lot of cash for a vacation. When he questioned you, you got angry and stalked out of the bank. I think what you tried to do was a bit like stealing.

What a sucker I was. I have filed for divorce and my so-called wife has moved in with her boyfriend, a 40-year-old shelf-stocker at the local Hannaford’s. I had a “meeting” with him at the grocery store. I asked why he had ruined my marriage, and he said “No, you ruined your marriage.” I thought about what he has said for about 5 seconds and then slammed him on the head with a can of “Pringles” fake potato chips: fake, like my marriage turned out.

So, to you, my soon to be former wife: adultery and robbery, and a bunch of other things are the contents of the book of you. If only I hadn’t been spellbound by your cover, I might’ve saved myself a lot of heartache and pain. So, now, the first thing I do is hire a private investigator and run a background check on every women I might have anything to do with. The investigator’s report is like Dating Spark Notes—the report saves time and covers the territory.

I’ve made the new title of the book of me “I Won’t Be Fooled Again. No, No.” It makes me seem a little paranoid, and it is off-putting to most of the women I’ve met since my divorce. Maybe I should give up the book metaphor thing and run my romantic life like a Philosopher, like my brother Eddie. I’m thinking: “In the valley of the blind, the sound of one hand clapping is like a cell phone with a broken volume control, like an auctioneer on speed, like a piece of Camembert softening on a piece of bark.” This reflects the incomprehensibility, the mystery, and the absurdity of the so-called “human condition.” I went to high school with Hannah Arendt. I asked her out every day for four years. She would see me coming and just say “No!” and turn and run before I even opened my mouth. Hannah graduated at the top of our class and went to college in some other country, where she drove a taxi until she graduated. I, on the other hand, barely graduated and went to work as a rag boy at the local car wash: “Suds n’ Fenders.” There you have it! The human condition. We’ll never know what it is, or, even if it exists at all. Maybe it was Derrida who said we can’t know a system in its totality, so we really don’t know anything at all. But, “I think, therefore I am.” That’s good enough for me as I negotiate the world’s wicked ways, neither wasting nor wanting—just seeking, with no map or GPS. I am the Seeker, you are the Sought—not you specifically, but rather, the Global You. I want our spheres to synthesize like a flock of ducks.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

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