Once upon a time, I met a friendly lawn gnome named Willy. I happened upon him when trimming the bushes along the side of my house – nearly slashed the poor little guy with my electric trimmer. I quickly apologized, and asked him to come inside and have a beer with me. Willy graciously accepted, and inside my kitchen, I poured him a shot glass of Sam Adams Lager, and made some small talk.
“So, have you always live here in western New York state?”
“Where are you from?”
“California originally. But more recently, New York City. Ah, but that was before I was a gnome.”
“What? Haven’t you always been a gnome?”
“Oh no – until 2002, I was Will Farrell’s sense of humor.”
“Eh… what do you mean?”
“Just what I said, me boy. I was Will Farrell’s sense of humor. I particularly enjoyed living in New York from 1997 to 2002, when he was on Saturday Night Live. Then, having been expressed, I now existed on my own. I found New York City to be expensive and crowded, so I eventually headed up this way.”
“You mean that you were his muse, his inspiration, right? I can make no sense of you being someone’s sense of humor.”
“No – not his inspiration, but his sense of humor, like I said. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, me boy!”
“So… if you’re Will’s sense of humor, and you’re no longer in him, then it would follow that Will Farrell is no longer funny. But – he is! Haven’t you seen Elf? It came out in 2003.”
“I hope you know, there are no such things as elves! In any case, me boy, he expressed me, yes, so that as of 2002 I was a gnome. But I didn’t ever say that Will had lost his sense of humor – pay attention, boy!”
“Did you first come to exist in 2002?”
“Right – Farrell was born in 1967, so presumably by the early 70′s, he had a sense of humor.”
“I don’t understand how anything could be a sense of humor – or any faculty, power, or ability – at one time, and that same thing be a self at a later time.”
“Me boy, you think too literally!”
Clearly, I’d offended him. Dropping his little grome pants, he mooned me. Finishing his beer, he stomped back out to the yard, leaving me to ponder the mystery of Willy’s existence.
Next time: what’s the point of the Willy story?