It's easy enough to convince yourself that the skeleton staring back
at you is outmoded, a tired cliché, even a prank conjured up by
a bored subconscious. The point is granted, even as you comb your hair
for the day, making the skeleton half-jealous, standing there as it does
with a contorted smile, grinding its teeth. At least it could dress decently,
you think --- that Nehru jacket went out decades ago, and the madras shirt
likewise. Is it trying to impress you with these tawdry anachronisms? If
so, it's failing.
You've watched it many days, and wonder what it does after closing
the door of its clumsy front porch. You never hear the slam, but it always
seems peevish as it leaves. God knows you've tried to teach it, to at least
bring it up to the 21st century. But it just sneers, walking around in
those ancient 60s getups like an unregenerate hippie. And the signs it
brings back --- "Ignorance is Strength," "War is Peace" ---- is Orwell
the only author it's ever read?
Lately, it's taken up TV, but only the most tasteless shows --- the
morning news, for instance. Apparently it thinks it's cool, and you hate
to disillusion it. After all, you have nothing better to do in the early
morning but watch it make an ass of itself. In any case, you've had ample
opportunity to prove you can't reform a cliché.