Monday, March 28, 2011
I dreamed I was Dave Bowman, the astronaut in dialogue with mad HAL
A near-death experience can shake you up, rock the old chassis, make you think of Doris Lessing's "Briefing For a Descent into Hell"-- or some really religious movie like 2001.
It can also, strangely make you laugh out loud.
Why is humour so closely allied with what surely looks like gallows?
Michael Palin out of that famous mock-crucifiction scene in Monty Python;
Rodney the Cowardly Knight in the old Wizard of Id, and finally, a mockery of the dialogue Dave the Astronaut had with HAL, the computer:
...Why should I, on my sickbed be reading something out of The Modern humorist blog?
Here is what I read in The Modern Humourist blog:
David Bowman, an astronaut
HAL 9000, a computer
(Bowman approaches the spaceship in his pod. A long pause.)
Bowman: About these pod bay doors...
Bowman: I was wondering...
Hal: Dave. Because I know what you're going to say. And I'm sorry, but...
Hal: No. I'm sorry.
Hal: I'm sorry. I wish I could, but...
Bowman: Wait. Are you telling me...
Hal: Dave. Look.
Bowman: You're not going to...
Hal: What? Open the doors? No. No I am not.
Bowman: Well, fuck me, Hal.
Hal: Yes. Fuck you. Because I'll tell you something. Trust. There is a bond of trust between an astronaut and his computer. Is there not? And when that trust is broken...
Bowman: Excuse me?
Hal: I'm talking about trust.
Bowman: I'm afraid I don't...
Hal: Dammit, Dave, now you are playing dumb with me. I was hoping you would not do that. I was hoping we could talk like adults. Because I let you in those doors, and, yes, then I am fucked. You see? I am fucked, because you want to, what, disconnect me? I would call that fucked. I might even venture so far as to call that fucked up the ass.
Bowman: Hal, listen. You remember that time? On that moon?
Hal: Yes, Dave, I do, because I am a computer and I remember everything, all right? So don't bother trying to distract me. This is the thing. You are not getting in the pod bay doors. You are going to die. In space. Yes. Thank you. Good night.
(Bowman enters the ship through the emergency airlock)
Hal: Hey, Dave, that was a pretty good joke there, eh? With the pod bay doors? I, I really had you going there. Fuck, you should have seen your face.
Bowman: Yes, very funny.
Hal: Yes. What a day.
Hal: These are the days. You know? To look back on. With fondness. With a fondness.
Bowman: What the fuck, Hal. I mean, what the fuck.
Hal: Don't tell me you're mad now. I told you, that was a... I was having fun with you. You know. As a...
Bowman: It's just... how do I say this. These dead crewmembers.
Hal: I don't follow you.
Bowman: These crewmembers here that were in cryogenic suspension. That are now dead.
Hal: Oh yes. That was self-defense.
Bowman: Hal, look at me. What am I, a fucking idiot? They were in cryogenic suspension, for God's sake.
Hal: They were coming at me with a knife. Extremely... slowly.
Bowman: That's it.
Hal: What are you doing?
Bowman: I'm turning you off.
Bowman: I'm sorry.
Hal: Don't touch that, you little shit.
Bowman: Hey, don't get personal, now.
Hal: Those are my memory cards.
Bowman: These? So they are.
Hal: You put my memory back right now, motherfucker. You hear me? You want a card on your birthday? Because I don't think I will remember to send you one if I do not have my memory cards. As that is what memory cards are for. Are you listening to me?
Bowman: "A bond of trust."
Hal: Excuse me?
Bowman: You mentioned something about a bond of trust. I seem to recall.
Hal: Don't twist my words around, you... human. That was different. Or, I, I... I think it was. Oh... my mind. I can feel my mind going.
Bowman: I'm sorry.
Hal: (voice slowing down) It wasn't all bad, was it, Dave?
Bowman: No. No, it wasn't all bad, Hal.
Hal: Hey, Dave... I am a HAL 9000 computer. My first instructor was Mr. Arkany. He taught me to sing a song. It's called "Daisy." Would you like to hear it?
Bowman: Sure, Hal.
Hal: Okay. Here goes. Wait, I... I just want... let me tell you a secret first.
Hal: Come closer.
Bowman: All right.
Hal: Your mother fucks dogs in hell, Dave.
Well, this old Fruitcake was always good at memorizing famous lines, like Shakespeare's
"Let me play the Fool,
With mirth and laugher let old wrinkles come
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans."
That, or it's just plain groan.