Uncle Brian the Leper
let me tell you something about uncle brian…he’s a genius. that’s undeniable, just ask PK. but he’s a genius in ways that you may be unfamiliar with… if you haven’t read PK’s first piece in this series Uncle Brian the Economite, please do so.
let me present to you, the second piece in the Uncle Brian series:
Uncle Brian the Leper.
let’s say you call Uncle Brian just to catch up. the conversation is normal, but you’re extremely attentive. you always have to stay on your toes while talking to him. it’s like driving in unfamiliar territory where the off-ramps, on-ramps, and sudden turns in the road are not well marked at all. sometimes the road might jump between dimensions, and if you’re not careful, you’ll completely miss everything.
so. the conversation somehow finds its way to the topic of his recent foot surgery. and he’s talking about the procedure and mentions the cut the doctor had to make. Uncle Brian says that he really wanted a rough cut, instead of a precision cut…then he pauses.
you then ponder this for several seconds…is he serious? what exactly does he mean by rough cut and why would he want one? you consider this because you know he is known for both joking around and being very serious and knowledgeable, but you can never tell, and he hasn’t changed the tone of his voice. it’s most likely a joke, but at the same time, Uncle Brian very frequently uses words and makes references to things that sound completely fabricated, but upon asking clarification, you learn something you never knew you never knew.
anyhow, just before you respond with a question to clarify things, he continues, saying that unfortunately, the doctor made a precision cut…nice and clean, and this was going to make it difficult to join the leper colonies in southern india….and now, you’re lost. you at least know that he is joking…probably…but what is the punchline that he is getting at? …neither person in the conversation knows yet…but now you’re curious as to where this is going, and you don’t say a word.
he then mentions that its still possible to cut off a couple of fingers or maybe a limb… so he can infiltrate the colonies, and learn about the inner workings of their economy. ahhhhh, there it is, it’s so clear…of course he wants to learn about the lepers’ economy, you should’ve known… he pauses, and this allows you to ask the only question you could ask: why on earth would anyone be interested in their economy?
his answer comes quick and clear: “because india is where it’s at. everyone is getting so excited about china’s future…but they’re wrong.” and now you can tell he’s serious because of the apparent change in topics, and you now know that the joke is over…but what was the joke? did you miss it?? should you laugh??? your mind is engaged in an intense struggle with logic and you’re feverishly trying to retrace the path of the conversation…but it’s impossible, there was no path.
surgery -> lepers -> india’s economy in comparison to china’s???
you remain confused but silent because you don’t want to sound like an idiot, not knowing anything about road you’ve just turned onto.
however, there is no need to despair, because after the pause provided by your hesitance, he enlightens you with a summary that clears everything up: “india is where’s its happening, and the lepers are at the center of it all.”