Boojums

The Book of the Story

B's dialogs, like g's, are devoid of description, and yet one senses a much less austere, even a domestic setting. This is partly because of the sense of exasperation in his character's voice, and partly, I suspect, due to allusions (room, club, etc.) to daily life.

Edward Threeblossom
CEO, Brunswick University

"There's a Boojum in the room."

"What?"

"A Boojum. Over there, behind you."

"Where?"

"You can't see a Boojum. It's invisible."

"Well, if you can't see it..."

"No use waving your arms about like that, Boojums are intangible as well."

"So what makes you think it's there?"

"Oh, it's always there."

"No. I mean how do you know that?"

"Faith."

"Let me get this straight. You have no evidence that this... this Boojum exists, and yet you believe it does, anyway."

"Oh I have evidence."

"What kind of evidence?"

"It grants me wishes."

"Really?"

"Just last week, I wished that I would do well on a test, and the Boojum came through for me."

"You didn't study?"

"Of course I studied. It would have been presumptuous not to study."

"Then how did you know it was the Boojum?"

"Faith."

"You keep using that word. Are you sure you know what it means?"

"Oh, yes. It means believing things when there's no evidence."

"I thought you said your wishes were evidence."

"They are."

"Okay, prove it. Make a wish right now."

"It doesn't work that way. You can't tell in advance which wishes the Boojum will grant, and which wishes it won't."

"So you make a wish, and if it happens, it's evidence that the Boojum exists. But if it doesn't happen, it isn't evidence that the Boojum doesn't exist."

"Exactly."

"So how can it make any difference whether it does or doesn't?"

"Oh, it makes a world of difference. For one thing, it's a great comfort to me. For another, I belong to a club of Boojum Believers, and we have a terrific community: all kinds of activities, and friendships, and charitable projects—all built around Boojumity. Our whole way of being in the world is informed by our Boojumiosity."

"I think I understand now. This concept of Boojum is a cultural organizing principle."

"Yes."

"It's a conceptual model, which informs the spiritual discipline and culture of your community."

"Exactly."

"So it's not a statement about the physical world at all."

"Of course it is. You're talking heresy now. I'm afraid I'll have to kill you."

"Why?"

"The Boojum told me to."

"But how can you possibly know that?"

"I told you—Faith."