Tuesday, October 23, 2007


As I left morning Minyan, dark clouds scudded across the sky, a blackish dawn sky lit eerily with colors of rose and orange.

Appropriately enough, I was listening to a Twilight Zone radio play: “Five Characters In Search Of An Exit.” You’ve probably seen this one on the old Twilight Zone TV show. Five random characters - a major, a clown, a hobo, a bagpipe player, and a ballerina - find themselves in a huge, featureless cylindrical room with high, straight walls and no way out except for the top of the room, which is open. A weird, artificial-seeming light comes from overhead, and a deafening clanging is heard at odd intervals. The occupants of the room have no idea who they are or how they got where they are.

It’s an engaging mystery - at least, if you’re among the 0.0001% of people who have never seen the episode on TV and who thus are unaware of the Trick Ending. For that other 99.9999%, it’s an exercise in Overwrought Writing. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, owing to Jason Alexander’s voice-acting skills and the tart interplay of dialogue between the overwrought Major, the witty Clown, and the besozzled Hobo.

And it’s a good working metaphor for those of us who look for a way to escape the daily tedium of life. After all, we’re not all that different from those characters. We’re trapped in a world we never made, as Howard the Duck might say, and we wonder what awaits us on the other side of the wall...

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