Short story: “See the Moon?”

by look i have opinions

“See the Moon?”, by Donald Barthelme

Appeared in the New Yorker on March 12, 1966 (subscribers can read here); collected in Sixty Stories (on Google Books)

Around ten pages in this hardcover copy of Sixty Stories, so, given the word counts for the other stories, roughly 3,654 words

Now and then I finish a story and realize I’ve been tricked into reading poetry. Poetry! But I don’t resent it, because not only is it good poetry, it also manages to be a good story. No matter how Barthelmianly eccentric (or mad) the narrator may be, his concerns are real and urgent. The battleship passage is probably the best bit.

Some fragments that deserve quoting:

My methods may seem a touch irregular. Have to do chiefly with folded paper airplanes at present. But the paper must be folded in the right way. Lots of calculations and worrying about edges.

Show me a man who worries about edges and I’ll show you a natural-born winner. Cardinal Y. agrees. Columbus himself worried, the Admiral of the Ocean Sea. But he kept it quiet.

riotous with mental health

Did we do “badly” by Gregory? Will we do “better” with Gog? Such questions curl the hair. It’s better not to ask.