The Universe of Discourse

Wed, 14 Feb 2024

The pleasures of dolmen-licking

Ugh, the blog has been really stuck lately. I have lots of good stuff in process but I don't know if I will finish any of it, which would be a shame, because it's good stuff and I have put a lot of work into it. So I thought maybe I should make an effort to relax my posting standards for a bit. In fact I should make an effort to relax them more generally. But in particular, today. So,

here is a picture of me licking a dolmen.

slightly balding dark-haired man with glasses is leaning slightly as
he sticks out his tongue to touch a massive rectangular stone that is
resting at head height atop smaller upright stones.  In the background
are a green hill and a stone wall.  The man has his hands in the
pockets of his blue jeans and is wearing a blue denom jacket.

Here is Michael G. Schwern licking the same dolmen.

A bearded man with a great deal of long curly hair is leaning
over to lick the same stone table as in the other picture.  The day is
much brighter and sunnier.  He is wearing blue jeans, an olive-colored
sweater, and has his hands clasped behind him.

Not on the same day, obviously. As far as I know we were not in the country at the same time. The question is in my mind: who was the first of us to lick the dolmen? I think he was there before me. But I also wonder: when I decided to lick it, did I know he had done the same thing? It's quite possible that Marty Pauley or someone said to me “You know, when Schwern was here, he licked it,” to which I would surely have responded “then I shall lick it as well!” But it's also possible that we licked the dolmen completely independently, because why wouldn't you? How often to you get a chance to taste a piece of human prehistory?

As a little kid you discover that the world is full of all sorts of fascinating stuff that you may be allowed to look at, but not to touch, and certainly not to climb on or to lick. (“Don't put it in your mouth!”) Dolmens are a delightful exception to this rule. Sure, lick the dolmen all you want. It has stood in the same place for five thousand years, and whether it stands there for five thousand more will not be affected by any amount of licking.

My inner four-year-old was very satisfied the day I licked the dolmen. I imagine that Schwern felt the same way.

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