Conferences and Lighthouses

I’m going with the Hairy Muse to a conference (in Edinbrrrrrrr!) in February.  In other words, he will be sitting in a stuffy auditorium all day, listening to interminable papers on The Lighthouse (I am assured he likes this sort of thing), while I swan about the town’s cultural highlights.  He always gets knackered at these things: so many events, so many papers to be given, no time to digest anything….

…maybe he and the other delegates could take a leaf out of Stanislaw Lem‘s book:

Each speaker was given four minutes to present his paper, as there were so many scheduled…To help expedite the proceedings, all reports had to be distributed and studied beforehand, while the lecturer would speak only in numerals, calling attention in this fashion to the salient paragraphs of his work. … Stan Hazelton of the U.S. delegation immediately threw the hall into a flurry by emphatically repeating: 4, 6, 11, and therefore 22; 5, 9, hence 22; 3, 7, 2, 11, from which it followed that 22 and only 22!  Someone jumped up, saying yes but 5, and what about 6, 18, or 4 for that matter; Hazelton countered this objection with the crushing retort that, either way, 22.  I turned to the number key inhis paper and discovered that 22 meant the end of the world.

Stanislaw Lem, The Futurological Congress, 1971, Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, p. 20.

And on another note…poems featuring lighthouses; know any?  I can only think of that lovely one by Julia Darling.


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