Play #85: The Homily

Over at Miss Lilys café in Picton, Ontario, just exactly beside the table where, on this sunny Spring morning, Magorzata and I are drinking coffee and eating apple turnovers, there is a shelf on which rest a number of irritatingly chatty, downright loquacious china cups, each of them stuffed with a complimentary bag of fancy-dancy tea—as an incentive to purchase them.

The longer I stare at these cups—and they really do seem to stare back at me—the more irritating their bromidic messages become (and curiously, it seems impossible not to read them aloud).  One of the cups is particularly annoying.  It reads (the text is swathed about with ghastly childlike flowers): Only Do What Your Heart Tells You.

GMD (holding the cup up so Malgorzata can see it, thus wrenching her away from her browsing through Marguerite Yourcenar’s The Abyss, which we have just bought for a dollar on a sale table in the bookstore adjoining the cafe): Look at what this cup says.

M (dutifully peering at it): Strange advice!

GMD: Isn’t it? [reads the cup aloud]  Only do what your heart tells you.

M (yearning to return to Yourcenar):  Dangerous.

GMD: I think so too.

M:  And grammatically inelegant.  Don’t they mean “Do ONLY what your heart tells you?  Not “only do”?

GMD: I think they probably do.

M:  “What Your Heart Tells You” is pretty open.

GMD: It’s like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, talking about finding “her heart’s desire” right in her own backyard—no matter what it turns out to be.

M: Backyard desire.  Sounds a bit limited.

GMD: Could be an early play by Eugene O’Neill!

M: What would you do if you took the cup’s advice?

GMD:  I think this cup is an evil, anarchic cup at heart.  I    think it would prompt me to buy it, take it outside and hurl it back at the front window, breaking it into a million pieces!  I could blame it all on the cup!

M (smiling gaily): I hope the cup knows a good lawyer!