Thursday, July 29, 2010

To Never Be Born

Mrs. Rooney: I remember once attending a lecture by one of these new mind doctors, I forget what you call them. He spoke ... 

Mr. Rooney: A lunatic specialist? 


Mrs. Rooney: No no, just the troubled mind, I was hoping he might shed a little light on my lifelong preoccupation with horses' buttocks. 


Mr. Rooney: A Neurologist? 


Mrs. Rooney: No no, just mental distress, the name will come back to me in the night. I remember his telling us the story of a little girl, very strange and unhappy in her ways, and how he treated her unsuccessfully over a period of years and was finally obliged to give up the case. He could find nothing wrong with her, he said. The only thing wrong with her as far as he could see was that she was dying. And she did in fact die, shortly after he washed his hands of her.
Mr. Rooney: Well? What is there so wonderful about that? 

Mrs. Rooney: No, it was just something he said, and the way he said it, that has haunted me ever since. When he had done with the little girl he stood there motionless for some time, quite two minutes I should say, looking down at his table. Then he suddenly raised his head and exclaimed, as if he had had a revelation, "The trouble with her was she had never really been born!" [Pause] He spoke throughout without notes. [Pause] I left before the end ... [Sobs] There's nothing to be done for those people! 


Mr. Rooney: For which is there?
---From All That Fall
Samuel Beckett
As quoted in The Lourdes of Arizona

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