Day 1: 4:27 PM – Professor Hugh Hodges assigns Jurgen Habermas’ The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Ah, reading, I love a good book! With the fire ablaze and the kettle set to boil, I ease into my comfy chair. I hope it’s a ‘who-done-it’ novel!
Day 2: 2:30 AM – The embers burn down and something’s not right. 25 pages in and not a single murder needs to be solved. Feudalism, capitalism, neomercantilism… I can barely see the argument through the ‘isms.’ I power up the laptop and pray for an answer. Not even Google knows what Habermas is talking about.
Day 3: Power’s out – candle lit – it’s dark outside – Down but not out, I read aloud attempting comprehension -‘Offentlichkeit, Grundherrschaft, oikodespotes’. My wife screams from the other room. She searches the phonebook for healers; she thinks I’m speaking in tongues.
Day 4: Power’s back but time stands still – Jurgen is in the room now. I look into his eyes and realize: ‘this is the moment; this is the man who will kill me.’ Bureaucracies, burghers… he’s beating me down with B words! Ben Chang bursts through the door and peppers us both with his tiger-striped paintball gun. Startled, I come to on the couch with drool on my cheek and a book on my face. The credits roll. I’ve slept through all of Community!
Day 5: Done Counting – The boys are back in town and they’re crowding the page. Hegel, Hobbes, Kant, Locke, Mandeville, Marx, Mill, Montesquieu and Rousseau – this many names in one chapter has to be a fire code violation. In a scene straight out of American History X, Hegel knocks the teeth right out of the public sphere. I need interventionism. Somebody save me!
Day 6: So Finished – The conjugal family retreats to the fringes of the private sphere; I retreat to the menu on Netflix. Refeudalized by 6 seasons of Party of Five, my rational thought is restored. Aura washes over me. Thank you mass media!
Day 7: Back to Base Camp – Our mission complete, Habermas and I return to Hugh Hodges and hand in an incident report. The good professor absolves us of our relationship. I explain to Habermas that, though I enjoyed our time together, I’m an extensive reader, not an intensive reader. I hand him a rose and say farewell. I’m a bachelor again. I’m back on my feet.