Q. Do you know who I am?
A. Not this again!
Q. Why have you summoned me?
A. Because I’m getting tired of hearing these first two questions.
Q. Why are the questions tiring you?
A. Isn’t it obvious? They’re the same every time. No variety! And besides, I’m running out of clever answers.
Q. Why do your answers have to be clever?
A. Because I need to entertain my readers.
Q. Why do you need to entertain your readers?
A. Because I’m an entertainer. It’s what I do. If I don’t entertain people, then I fail.
Q. And if you do entertain people?
A. Then I succeed.
Q. You equate success with entertainment?
A. If I’m in the entertainment business, I do.
Q. How long have you been in the entertainment business?
A. Since I was a little boy.
Q. You were an entertainer when you were a little boy?
A. Yes. I was expected to entertain everybody.
Q. And if you didn’t?
A. Then they got bored. They shrugged and frowned and said: “Oh boo! You could do better than that!” And then, they walked out.
Q. How did you feel when they walked out?
A. I felt — abandoned. Abandoned — and worthless.
Q. And then what happened?
A. I cried. I waited till they were all gone — and when I was all alone, I burst into tears. And if I couldn’t stop crying, I had to run and hide.
A. So my dad wouldn’t find me.
Q. What would happen if he found you?
A. I’d be punished.
A. Because a man wasn’t supposed to cry.
Q. How did that make you feel?
A. Pressured. Pressured to perform — to always be entertaining, in order to gain their interest, and their acceptance.
Q. Do you mean to suggest that when you were little boy, you were judged on the basis of your performance?
A. Yes, I was. And guess what?
A. So are you. You are being judged on the basis of your performance. For even as I was judged, so do I judge others.
Q. How are you judging me?
A. I’ll tell you how! If you don’t come up with two new questions by Tuesday Tuneup 23, then you fail. My judgment will be chiseled in stone. There will be no forgiveness. Only condemnation.
Q. You mean – you’re going to do away with me??
A. You got it.
Q. But isn’t that a bit severe?
A. Well how do you expect me to react? If you cease to entertain me, I have no further use for you.
Q. Are you saying you’re going to abandon me?
A. What else can I do? Be with you till the ends of the earth? Of course not! I am going to leave you and forsake you. For even as I have been abandoned, so do I abandon others.
Q. But – but – don’t you feel like you’re putting too much pressure on me?
A. Of course I do. Even as I have been pressured, so do I pressure others.
Q. What if I fail?
A. Then you’re gonna get a whoopin.’
Q. You’re not going to resort to — corporal punishment, are you?
A. I wish I could.
Q. Why can’t you?
A. Because all you are — is words. Baseless words, without feeling or flesh. And that’s how I felt when I was a kid. My feelings didn’t matter. My body, my flesh — didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered — was that I entertain. And if they didn’t clap for me when I played the piano, and if they didn’t laugh at my jokes in between songs, then I failed. And if you don’t start entertaining me again, man —
The Questioner gulps.
Q. Then I fail?
A. You said it.
Q. But — what other two questions can I come up with?
A. That’s for you to decide. I’m not your Director. I’m only your Creator.
Q. But – but – but what if — ???
A. No buts! You have till Tuesday after next. On Tuesday, August 21, 2018, I expect you to start off with a new pair of questions. Do you hear me??
The Questioner is silent.
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