Peter van Straten Art by Peter van Straten

Why so sad that you cannot flyWhen you never had wings to begin with.

I have noticed a recent return to favour of the idea that monogamy is unatural and that if you lived in a truly healthy relationship you would not feel threatened by your partner entertaining desires inconsistant with societal and marital tradition – that the latter is an unecessary prison for such advanced beings as ourselves. While I understand this viewpoint and concede that it probably is most natural to yearn for broad-based hay- rolling (we’ve all had narrow escapes from near-fatal car accidents due to a certain quality of pedestrian) but what I don’t understand is the notion that one’s urges must be met. As if life owed one that. Is this not the realm of the two year old? Or, more absurd still: the belief that one would be happy if one’s urges were fulfilled.

Here is the great Kilgore Trout (alter-ego of Kurt Vonnegut) speaking to his parakeet, Bill:

‘Then he thought about what Bill himself might want. It was easy to guess. “Bill” he said, “I like you so much, and I am such a big shot in the Universe, that I will make your three biggest wishes come true.” He opened the door of the cage, something Bill couldn’t have done in a thousand years.

Bill flew over to the windowsill. He put his little shoulder against the glass. There was just one layer of glass between Bill and the great out-doors.

“Your second wish is about to come true,” said Trout, and he again did something which Bill could never have done. He opened the window. But the opening of the window was such an alarming business to the parakeet that he flew back to his cage and hopped inside.

Trout closed the door and latched it. “That’s the most intelligent use of three wishes I ever heard of,” he told the bird. “You made sure you still had something to wish for.”’