Can You Camus

The other night I was picking up Vietnamese takeout, like I do every 2-3 weeks. For the first time I noticed a selection of books by the register. I saw DUNE and I saw BEING & NOTHINGNESS by Jean Paul Sartre, which is quite a hefty tome. When Michael came back – the kid who always runs the front of the house, it’s a family place – I say “kid” but I haven’t the foggiest how old he is, just younger than me – I said, “That’s quite a selection of books you have there.” He said, “I get bored,” in his deadpan way. I said, “Jean Paul Sartre!?” He said, “Yeah, I think I have MYTH OF SISYPHUS back there too… It just helps to know that existential dread goes back a long way.”

MYTH OF SISYPHUS is a book by Albert Camus, but the actual myth was that Sisyphus was doomed to roll a boulder uphill, only to have it roll back down again, for all eternity. If I’d had my wits about me, the next thing I would have said was, “Is your job like rolling a boulder uphill for all eternity? Handing out those phos and spring rolls, over and over? Serving that old red-headed chick the exact same damn order, every second Tuesday? Over and over and over?”

I don’t know, you just never think of the guy who packs up your Vietnamese takeout having such a rich inner philosophical life, but why the hell not? I should be the only one who reads Camus?

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