The Democratic Underground Story Of The Day: Defend Your Existence!

I don’t know if there’s any truth to this story I found at the Democratic Underground or if it’s made up from whole cloth, but it sounds just crazy enough to be true and either way, it’s pretty good, so I’m going to post it,

DemoTex: In 1972 a philosophy professor put a .45 automatic Colt to my head and said…

“Defend your existence!”

In retrospect, he was trying to jolt me out of a quasi-suicidal, post Vietnam funk. We were studying Kant at the time, and I had just submitted a required paper that said only” “I kant! I kant!”

He called me to his office for a consultation. Hence the gun-play episode, which changed my life. His too, probably.

I defended for two hours. Specious syllogisms from me got a cocked gun from him. Was he serious with the .45? I don’t know. In the end, I said what he wanted to hear .. and it was, indeed, what I believed. The gun went into his desk drawer and the reefer came out.

Did I ever report him to university officials? No. Did I re-read and re-write the assignment on Kant? Yes. Did I clean up my post-Vietnam act and quit feeling sorry for myself? Yes.

I tell this story as a part of a collection I will tell over the next few days. Stream-of-consciousness (perhaps) leading into the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Tet Offensive (1/31/1968).

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