"Metamorphoses" I leaned back in my chair at my usual cafe and looked up at the ceiling fans. They turned silently, and seemed to be working in unison. Suddenly, the fans took on the aspect of gears inside a clock, bringing to mind the idea of time. I thought of the passage of time - time"s role in the measurement of our personal achievements, time as an ever-diminishing quantity in our lives. I thought of an old Pink Floyd song. Hector bound into the cafe jauntily, like a leprechaun. He sat opposite me and asked, "What"s up, J?" "Oh, just thinking about my life, you know, failures, successes, that sort of thing," I replied. "Well, speaking of success, I have some big news: I, Hector, have, through the office of your friend P. in Chicago, acquired an Italian publisher for my monographs - a firm called Edizioni Testa d"Uovo. They"re going to publish a collection of my writings - you know, Land of the Lawn Jockeys, The NASCARization of the American Mind, Should Gravity Suddenly Fail: A Neurosis, that stuff - next spring. And they"re including a fold-out diagram of my Language-Cruncher machine." "Congratulations, dear fellow!" I exclaimed. "I always knew someone would understand the genius of your writing, but it never occurred to me that you"d have to go as far as Europe to be appreciated." I peered out the window and saw a gang of Ashcroft Youth pelting an immigrant with pocket Bibles. I continued, "What happened to the Language-Cruncher machine anyway? I never hear about it anymore." "Well, friend," he replied, "political discourse in this country has become ludicrous and, thus, immune to satirical commentary. I put things that Bush or Rumsfeld or Ridge say into the Language-Cruncher, and it simply blows a fuse. Time and the metamorphosis of meaning have, it seems, conspired to make my machine obsolete!"

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