Hot potato

This year was très tragic with the long, drawn-out extinction of trīewth. There is no official line yet on how it died. Some sources say that it died peacefully in its sleep. Others say that death itself is fake and truth a hoax. A government spokesperson said they would henceforth be outsourcing trīewth to the Chinese and a Qatari investment fund. Despite a long, shaky and sometimes violent reign over reality, in recent years trīewth had been behaving increasingly erratically. It was seen drunkenly cavorting with bikini-clad teenage girls at poolside parties. It regularly appeared in the tabloid press showing off its “dazzling pearly whites”. It was spotted “scrounging” at a food bank. It was observed “sponging off” the state. But then it was espied living it up with a Russian oligarch on a yacht. One leaked CIA report claimed it had taken up arms with at least eight different warring factions in Syria.

Its followers became frustrated and disillusioned with its maddeningly incompatible examples of what it was. But this time it wasn’t nailed to a cross and deified. It just disappeared into nullity: poof! Textual fossils of it will be used in courtrooms and schoolrooms until a new paradigm can be found. The truth is that trīewth had long been on the wane in most parts of the world. Russia hacked at it and dissembled it in a multipronged, polysemous attack in cyberspace. In the Middle East it was measured and sold by the barrel. In China it pulled off the remarkable feat of having a communistic cake and capitalistically eating it. Trīewth had become too diffuse to withstand this systematic and sustained onslaught of abuse and misuse. We, for one, will sorely miss it. We hope that it might be able to start afresh on Mars one day if only it can get a foothold and gain some traction on the Red Planet (even though red is a historically loaded word).

In the ever-exciting world of fashion, orange really did become the new black. It was a curious shade of orange, not found on any known colour chart. It looked, however, suspiciously like something one might find in the Rust Belt of America, where passions run high and tempers are predisposed to flare around election time and disused industrial machinery lies exposed to the extreme elements. This new orange mixes well with pasty white and ashen white but goes terribly with all shades of yellow and brown. Orange was previously a joke colour but now it is deadly serious. There will be nightmarish, garish, orange-tinged conflagrations.

We will do our due diligence in order to better understand this strangest of colours. We will listen to Prokofiev’s The Love of Three Oranges and read Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. We will examine the turbulent history of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland and we will pick oranges in Orange County, California. We will experience the Oranjegekte that flares up whenever the Dutch national football team play. We will sample Agent Orange, post a letter in Estonia and do time on the International Space Station. We will stain our hands with turmeric, carve a pumpkin, nibble on a carrot. We will wear a Buddhist saffron robe and a high-visibility “firefly” jacket (EU standard ISO EN 20471). We will don a clown’s wig.

The tragic demise of trīewth has reduced us to this mad scramble for sense. Soon we will be rummaging about in trash cans for a scrap of veracity. We will be clambering about in dumpsters for a shred of certitude. We will be wading through landfill sites for a scintilla of validity. In the meantime, we will go to ground. Language is too hot to handle right now. I think the cops are onto me. I suspect someone is spying on me. Someone looked at me strangely at the supermarket yesterday: funnily, weirdly, wrongly. I have my guidebook to edible berries and mushrooms and a sizable stockpile of canned trīewth. So it is time to hibernate, abscond, go on the lam. In my bed, in my head, where trīewth will  have to be my daily bread.

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