PREFACE

Night is always a giant

- Nabokov  

​​​​​On Having No Pants

At university I had a recurring dream where I show up for class naked but no one seems to care until I get in a fight with my prof, who shouts, “Why should we listen to you? You don’t even have any pants!”

I feel the same way about writing this Dictionary. No one wants to hear from a pubic intellectual. If my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd put my head in a guillotine. My position on most issues is near the exit, so I can flee when the crowd turns on me.


But these days we're all one post shy of the stake, so I figure, what the hell. Also, smothering thought-babies in their cribs is no solution. They just bob to the surface in dreams. For example, the other night I dreamed I went to the waterslides, naked.

This time is different, because Jordan Peterson is there. He wears a sour expression, like on YouTube thumbnails. He says, “They sell shorts in the gift shop right behind you.”

Sure enough, there’s a gift shop at the top of the water slide. As I reach for my money I realize Jordan Peterson’s advice is useless because I have no pants, therefore pockets, therefore no money.
But in reaching for my non-cash I reflexively glance down and see that I’m already wearing black shorts.

When I look up  Jordan Peterson is gone. I’m bummed. I wanted to go water-sliding with a famous public intellectual, especially now that I have shorts. Whatever. I’ll go it alone.

The first stretch is all bumpy, because it’s just a stairway with water running down it. Whoever designed this waterslide was crazy. But I persevere.

At the bottom lies a big, dark tunnel mouth. Totally disturbing. But maybe it's not too late to catch up with Jordan Peterson. So I count to three and hurl myself in, and when I shoot out into the light...

...it’s not a waterslide at all, it’s an endless Olympic swimming pool that’s somehow on a tilt. I can’t get up much speed, but I can skim like a pebble along the sunny surface of the water, which feels warm and gentle as a tropical lagoon. Wonderful!