Wow, Harvard Square is really crowded! I can’t see in any direction. And I can’t move. All I can do is stand here. Well… that simplifies things.
What are you looking at? said Harlan. There’s a knot in one of the roof boards, said Blurtso. Yes there is, said Harlan. I wonder how it grew that way? said Blurtso. I don’t know, said Harlan, the wood around it is smooth and symmetrical. A whirlpool in the stream, said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan. I wonder if the roof is weaker or stronger where there is a knot? said Blurtso. I believe it’s weaker, said Harlan, because when the wood gets dry the knots can pop out. Yes, said Blurtso, now that you mention it, I’ve seen old boards with holes where the knots had been. I guess there’s no good reason, said Harlan, for a knot to remain in a board after it has already asserted its independence by going against the grain. Maybe this one, said Blurtso, asserted its independence by staying.
Everywhere you go, said Blurtso, people are talking about the economic crisis. Do you think we should be worried? Worried about what? said Harlan. About our university, said Blurtso. How are we going to continue offering the services we’ve promised? What services? said Harlan. Our world-renowned classes, said Blurtso. The classes are free, said Harlan. What about our books? said Blurtso. The books are from the library, said Harlan. What about our Thursday evening pumpkin pies? said Blurtso. The pumpkins are from Pablo’s garden, said Harlan, in fact, everything in our university is absolutely free. It’s hard to believe, said Blurtso, what we’re doing isn’t against the law.
Hey, said the tourist, you didn’t sign this one. No, said Bonny, I didn’t sign any of them. Why not? said the tourist. Because they don’t belong to me, said Bonny. Who do they belong to? said the tourist. They don’t belong to anyone, said Bonny. What do you mean? said the tourist. Does the snow belong to the clouds? said Bonny. No, said the tourist. Do the flowers belong to the sun? No, said the tourist. Does anyone own the grass in the field? Well, said the tourist, if someone owned the field, they might think they owned the grass. Yes, said Bonny, but they would be wrong.