The Conversation

Nobody smokes a pipe just for the fun of it. Soon after the thing has caught fire, the resulting fumes are beyond the bearing of anyone without a secondary motive. The shy man who doesn’t know how to say “no” to a girl is creating a field of repulsion about himself. The pimply young school teacher is propagating an odour of maturity. The man who doesn’t want to go to a party is making himself ill enough to be excused. A bee-keeper may be dazing his hive; a person with a fear of premature burial may be keeping a potential breathing-tube handy; it may be a suicidally foolish route to giving up cigarettes. It may be used to poke, gesticulate, startle, stridulate, apply wood-filler, plug a leak, lever the lid off a paint tin, extend a fishing-rod, create an improvised sign-post, crack a hazel nut. It may be used to provoke a knowing smile from one who has studied surrealism. The list is endless, but not as endless as the list of things people might be doing when they imagine they are simply raising their hat to a nun on a bus.
The mechanism underlying this tableau uses a friction drive governed by an escapement.

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