Sunday, September 4, 2011

One Hand Clapping - Hunter S Thompson

Hunter S Thompson knows how to tell a funny anecdote. Enjoy.

“I knew a Buddhist once, and I’ve hated myself ever since. The whole thing was a failure. He was a priest of some kind, and he was also extremely rich. They called him a monk and he wore the saffron robes and I hated him because of his arrogance. He thought he knew everything.

One day I was trying to rent a large downtown property from him, and he mocked me. ‘You are dumb’ he said. ‘You are doomed if you stay in this business. The stupid are gobbled up quickly.’ ‘I understand’ I said. ‘I am stupid. I am doomed but I think I know something you don’t.’ He laughed. ‘Nonsense’ he said. ‘You are a fool. You know nothing.’ I nodded respectfully and leaned closer to him, as if to whisper a secret. ‘I know the answer to the greatest riddle of all,’ I said. He chuckled. ‘And what is that?’ he said. ‘And you’d better be right, or I’ll kill you.’

‘I know the sound of one hand clapping,’ I said. ‘I have finally discovered the answer.’ Several other Buddhists in the room laughed out loud, at this point. I know they wanted to humiliate me, and now they had me trapped – because there is no answer to that question. These saffron bastards have been teasing us with it forever. They are amused at our failure to grasp it.

Ho ho, I went into a drastic crouch and hung my left hand low, behind my knee. ‘Lean closer,’ I said to him. ‘I want to answer your high and unanswerable question.’ As he leaned his bright bald head a little closer into my orbit, I suddenly leaped up and bashed him flat on the ear with the palm of my left hand. It was slightly cupped, so as to deliver maximum energy on impact. An isolated package of air is suddenly driven through the Eustachian tube and into the middle brain at quantum speed, causing pain, fear and extreme insult to the tissue.

The mink staggered sideways and screamed, grasping his head in agony. Then he fell to the floor and cursed me. ‘You swine!’ he croaked. ‘Why did you hit me and burst my eardrum?’ ‘Because that,’ I said, ‘is the sound of one hand clapping. That is the answer to your question. I have the answer now, and you are deaf.’ ’Indeed’ he said. ‘I am deaf, but I am smarter. I am wise in a different way.’ He grinned vacantly and reached out to shake my hand. ‘You are welcome,’ I said. ‘I am after all a doctor.’

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