“An Interview with the Concept of Brevity” (humor) by Bob Rich

Recently, Time Magazine decided to expand the scope of its interview subjects by moving beyond simply interviewing people. Last month, Time Magazine managed to secure an interview with Brevity, otherwise known as the Concept of Brevity, or, among friends, Briefness. Here is the transcript:

TM: Brevity, thank you for joining us today for this interview.

COB: You’re welcome. I find that these interviews are simultaneously thought-provoking and challenging. Perhaps it’s the aura of permanence surrounding the notion of doing an interview, in the sense that the thoughts I put forth are recorded for posterity, making our discussion like some kind of a piece of furniture that we construct out of words, as if our words are hands pressing into the clay of time, and the results, when dried, are presented to the public like frozen tablets of relational interplay.

TM: Interesting that you seem to have the gift of being a wordsmith – which I say as a compliment, and yet you perform the service of providing conciseness and the summarization of ideas into condensed packages.

COB: It is only in the presence of the wealth of vast knowledge that one can summarize anything or distill anything to its essence, and thus I have immersed myself in study for the sake of being able to whittle down most any subject, or any body of information, down to its most vital elements.

TM: What do you think of the history of photography thus far?

COB: Not enough orange.

TM: Could you elaborate on that point?

COB: I’ve looked at every photograph ever taken, and I’ve seen the clear, startling absence of the color orange when compared to the other colors, if one were to look at every picture ever taken thus far.

TM: Do you think that the absence of orange reflects anything significant or profound about the human race, whether conscious or subconscious?

COB: No.

TM: —

COB: —

TM: My next question is centered on the topic of breakfast as a cultural institution. Naturally, various cultures around the world have instituted breakfast as a regular function in the morning — often for pleasure, but, at the very least, as a survival mechanism. Commercially, in 20th Century America , breakfast has also become a time for people to reflect on, and celebrate, popular culture, such that, for example, cereal boxes display celebrities. Where do you see the institution of breakfast heading in America , during the 21st Century?

COB: Bigger spoons.

TM: Fascinating. Could you elaborate on that comment?

COB: People are in a hurry.

TM: Yes. Yes, I see your point. (pause) I have a mid-interview thought to offer to you. One thing I might reassure you of is that I myself am not in a hurry, and thus I invite you to speak in greater detail about this subject or any other subject we might explore.

COB: I appreciate your generous spirit, but I am sure you are aware of my name and my very nature, which is grounded in a sense of finiteness, smallness, and consolidation of ideas. Life unfolds with the tenderness of a summer breeze or the intensity of a thundercloud in mid-storm, and no one can fully predict the gentleness or the severity of life’s peculiar ways at any given moment; but, interviews with me are always predictable, as are interviews with any concept. Talk to Beauty and you will find a sense of purpose and worth and aesthetics. Talk to Absurdity and you will discover inane and pointless aspects of life that you had never even come close to understanding before. Talk to me and you’re bound to get a short answer, which gives me such delight than I could practically roll about on the floor in convulsive laughter, my mouth wide in vigorous glee.

TM: Brevity, could I be perfectly forthcoming in my thoughts?

COB: I haven’t known you long enough to judge how perfect your forthcomingness might be.

TM: I am finding you to be selectively brief, such that you seem to be brief when asked meaningful questions, and then you speak at length on other occasions when we are speaking conversationally.

COB: I am still a person, even though I am a concept. Besides, life is too short to be brief all of the time. I’m sure you like to savor a sunset, or to enjoy a good book in a leisurely fashion, or to relax in a hot tub for at least, what, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on whether you’re at the gym or at home?

TM: I have one final question to ask you, and then it seems we will be out of time, speaking of the shortness of things. If you could give one piece of advice to our reading audience about life in general and how to live it, what would you suggest?

COB: Laugh more, worry less.

TM: I like that.

COB: Your response to my wisdom was rather brief, wasn’t it?

TM: Would you care to join me for a picture so that we can provide a photograph of you for inclusion with this interview? Why don’t we stand together here in front of this backdrop which features a wall-size picture of an orange sunset?

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