Epistemological Stance

So anyway there I was sitting up at the bar in the Bishop’s Finger minding my own business saying nothing to anybody when all of a sudden this lanky big geezer with bleached blond hair and ears that stuck right out from his head comes up and sits right next to me and straight away he starts yapping on about social theory. Only really aggressively, like he was spoiling for a fight. ‘So what’s your epistemological stance anyway mate?’ he says insolently, staring me right in the eye. He was so close that I could smell the whiskey on his breath. I could feel myself getting riled up; something inside me was dying to give the bastard a right good pasting. ‘Where is your epistemological stance now, you smarmy-mouthed piece of shit?’ I’d say to him then. ‘Not so smart now are you? I’ll teach you a thing or two about social constructivism…’ I never moved from my stool though. I bit my tongue and stared down at my paper, pointedly avoiding all eye contact. The guy obviously couldn’t handle his drink. Someone would probably teach him a thing or two about social theory before the night was out, but it didn’t have to be me, I reasoned. With any luck he’d fuck off and bother someone else. He didn’t though. He carried on yakking just the same as if I hadn’t ignored him and then next thing I knew he was asking me if I was some kind of a phenomenologist, in a real cocky, sarcastic tone. Someone really needs to take this guy down a peg or two, I muttered under my breath. ‘What if I am?’ I drawl, still without looking up from my paper. ‘Have you got a problem with that?’ Slowly but surely I was changing gears; slowly but surely I was slipping back into the old reptile brain. I could feel the tell-tale signs. That old reptile brain is quick enough to reassert itself – a few hundred million years of evolution don’t really count for much when the chips are down. They don’t count for much at all, in fact! I could feel all those millions of years just slipping away as I sat there. The guy was looking at me in a funny sort of way now, his face had gone all bleary and lopsided, his glasses were on slightly crooked. His mouth was open as if he was going to come out with another smart-ass comment but the comment never came. For some reason I was finding it hard to focus on the dude – I could see his rather ridiculous pale white smudge of a face and nothing else, or I could see lots of swirling colours and shapes all around him but not his face at all. When I looked at your man’s face too long he started to morph into some kind of lanky tree frog with big bulging eyes and a grotesquely wide mouth. Time stood still then and I could hear distant roaring, like faraway surf in my ears. My eyes were utterly unblinking, like twin jewels shining out from the undergrowth in some primeval jungle. I was full of ice-cold aggression – the ancient predator from my brain had taken over and there was no longer anything human about me, nothing at all. The poor dude had picked on the wrong fella tonight and no mistake, I told myself grimly. I was going to eat him alive…





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