Is it enough to abide?

by Charlie Huenemann

The Dude

SOCRATES: Dear sir! You seem to be an happy fellow, able to enjoy the mixed bitter and sweet fortunes of life!

DUDE: Oh, hey, man! Nice toga thing you got going on there. Let it hang, right?

SOCRATES: You are kind! And, indeed, perhaps too kind; for should one man compliment another on what is mere appearance, on the mere vestiges of one’s life?

DUDE: Oh, vestiges, right … What are you having there, old timer? Sangria? White Russian for me, Gary.

GARY: Sure thing, Dude.

SOCRATES: Can you tell me, dear Dude, whether the unexamined life is worth living?

DUDE: Right, the … uh, how’s that again?

SOCRATES: The unexamined life. Pardon me, but I have noticed that you are not exactly a man who delves into the nature of life, of truth, or of knowing.

DUDE: “Delves”? No, I guess I’m not much into the whole delving thing.

SOCRATES: And yet you seem quite happy, Dude!

DUDE: Well, you know, you take what you can when you can, if you can. The Dude abides.

SOCRATES: But is this “abiding” enough? Surely you must admit that someone might abide without leading a happy life.

DUDE: Oh yeah?

SOCRATES: Most assuredly! Imagine a poor soul whose daily practice is only watching the grass grow, or alphabetizing newspaper headlines, or looking for prime numbers in bowling scores. The mere fact that one “abides” is not enough to say they are living well, is it?

DUDE: Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. What’s it to you if someone likes watching grass grow? Maybe that’s, like, their thing, you know?

SOCRATES: But the point is that one cannot know whether one is living well without knowing what it is to live well.

DUDE: I think you’re getting too hung up on it, old timer. It’s not exactly rocket surgery here. You don’t have to know the ins or outs or whatever … you just … do what you feel like doing, right? And if no one is getting hurt, who’s to say you shouldn’t do it, you know?

SOCRATES: But what if I were to want to drink all day and attend lavish banquets?

DUDE: Right on! Nice work if you can get it, eh Gary?

GARY: Right, Dude.

SOCRATES: But would I be living the life of a man? Or of an animal?

DUDE: Hey, man, if you’re into animals, like, whatever … just don’t hurt them, you know? And maybe wear some protection.

SOCRATES: No, Dude, I am not into animals, whatever that means, but I do want to live a life worth living!

DUDE: Worth living? It’s not like you’re going to get an award or a rebate or something, man. Like I said, you’re overthinking it. Just … enjoy, man. Take it for what it is. A strange trip, and then a long sleep. Or maybe it’s not a sleep: maybe … well, like, who knows, right? Who knows? That’s what I’m saying. Don’t wreck it by overthinking it. Just … you know … abide.

SOCRATES: But is that enough, Dude? Just to abide, without knowing whence we come, where we go, who we are, or what we should do? Even if there is small hope of getting answers to such questions, are we not better men for having asked them?

DUDE: But how is this whole delving thing working out for you, man? You seem a little uptight about it all. I mean, no offense, but did you ever think that maybe your questions are your problem?

SOCRATES: True, I am restless in my quest to understand, to find anyone with expert knowledge of such things. But it is this quest that brings my life meaning.

DUDE: Good for you man, I mean it. Far out. You just keep at it, old timer. And keep me posted. You’ll find me here down at the lanes most nights. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta get back to my game.

SOCRATES: Alas! I had hoped you would enlighten me, Dude, but perhaps some other time. Farewell, Dude! Gary, another Sangria, if you please!