Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

My son sees a book I’m reading lying on a table . . .

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” he says. “What kind of a title is that?”

I say, “It’s hard to explain.”

“Life,” he says in a mystical voice, “is like a motorcycle. You must maintain your motorcyle.”

He makes a gong sound . . .


I am in an enormous vault, dead, and they are paying their last respects.

It’s kind of them to come and do this. They didn’t have to do this. I feel grateful.

Now [my son] motions for me to open the glass door of the vault. I see he wants to talk to me. He wants me to tell him, perhaps, what death is like. I feel a desire to do this, to tell him. It was so good of him to come and wave I will tell him it’s not so bad. It’s just lonely.

I reach to push the door open but a dark figure in a shadow beside the door motions for me not to touch it. A single finger is raised to lips I cannot see. The dead aren’t permitted to speak.

But they want me to talk. I’m still needed! Doesn’t he see this? There must be some kind of mistake. Doesn’t he see that they need me? I plead with the figure that I have to speak to them. It’s not finished yet. I have to tell them things. But the figure in the shadows makes no sign that he has even heard.

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