Alan Gorschak was out pulling turnips in the garden behind his home
when the call came from Stockholm telling him he had been awarded
this year’s Nobel Prize for Reverie. “At least, I think they were
turnips,” said Mr. Gorschak. His wife, Alice, a pleasant looking
large framed woman in her late fifties, chimed in with, “Probably,
Alan should have stopped driving years ago. But the car seems to
know where it’s going and it gets him there. We always buy
American. We’re not sure foreign cars could do this, not on our
roads anyway.”

“Of course, I was surprised when I got the call,” said Mr.
Gorschak. “I hadn’t thought about the Nobel Prize in years, not
that I could tell you what I have been thinking about. The
particular reverie they cite is a fugue state I did at least twenty
years ago. I was either a praying mantis or a katydid. I can’t
remember which. I went on that way for a whole summer. It was
pretty good until the nights started to get cool. I’ll tell you it
changed my point of view about a lot of things. Of course, a lot
has happened to me since then.”

Peter Hilfenstein, currently Scrimshaw Professor of Reverie and
Rhetoric at Green University in Providence and author of the
authoritative study, “REM, Reverie and RPM” says that he is
delighted with the selection. “No one can touch Alan’s fugue‘
states. There’s been nothing like it since Bach. What’s so
astounding is the logic, the clarity, the strictness, almost
asperity, exploding into a fabulous realm of freedom. Animate,
inanimate, organic, inorganic, it makes no difference to Alan.
He’s even done plastics and styrofoam. But his recent work is
truly staggering. He started doing enzymes. Then he got into
viruses and now he’s into retroviruses. He can tell us more about
what it’s like to be a retrovirus than anyone else alive. I
wouldn’t be at all surprised if some day he got a second Nobel,
this time for Physiology and Medicine.”

Roger A. Loon of the Fresno State Center for Meta-Cognitive Meta™Studies was only too happy to talk about what Alan Gorschak meant
to him. “Look,” he told us, his Brooklyn accent coming through
clearly in a telephone conversation from the edge of his dolphin
tank, “Alan’s been frustrating us for years. That’s another way of
saying that he’s been our inspiration. It’s very hard to follow a
genius, especially when that genius has no idea what he’s doing.
But we feel very privileged that he’s been willing to let us try to
tag along. Really, he’s been more important to us than even the
dolphins. What have we learned? I can tell you this. His EEG is
all over the lot. His BEAM is a thing of beauty. Sometimes it
looks like the aurora borealis and sometimes it looks like a
creature from the depths of the Mandelbrot set. His brain does
things with labelled glucose infusions we hadn’t even dreamed
about. Besides, on Saturday night, when he lets what little is left
of his hair down, he’s one hell of a jazz drummer. Seriously,
Alan has offered us real hope of being able to map out an escape
route from the doomed monomania of what we now call ‘knowing.'”

Of course, Gorschak has had his critics and detractors. Wendel
Finemost, who is married to a third cousin of Gorschak on his
mother’s side, admits he’s been one of those with doubts. “Alan’s
always cordial at family gatherings. We haven’t seen him and Alice
now in three or four years, but that hasn’t been by design, at
least not on our part. It’s a shame that so much animus has
entered into the debate. I’ve always tried to stay away from that,
but the question is, ‘How much of him is there in any of all this?’
He’s such a down-home guy that it’s hard to notice just how slick
his technique is. Is it really more than a very fancy parlor
trick? At some point we have to push beyond mere imitation and
assume some moral responsibility. It may be true, to quote Delmore
Schwartz, whom virtually no one remembers, that responsibilities
begin in dreams, but that’s where irresponsibilities start, too.
I know the elephant populations have been drastically reduced by
poachers, but still we have to look for ivory and try to tell it
from horn, so that we can know what is coming out of the gates of
horn and what is coming out of the gates of ivory. But I do have
to admit that the guy is dazzling and that he’s been consistent
thorughout his career. Whatever my reservations about his work,
personally, I’m very happy for Alan.”

Gorschak has never replied to his critics. He says he has no
intention of starting to argue now. “I don’t have the least idea
what they are talking about, but I do believe they have the right
to talk. I don’t believe my work is either sense or nonsense. I
think it falls somewhere in between, which is a big place. All I’m
doing, so far as I can tell, is to have some good clean fun. I was
forty years old before it occurred to me that everybody wasn’t just
like me. I can tell you that came as a shock, to figure out that
some people had to try to live without reverie. I’d rather break
rock on a chain gang than try to live without reverie, so I suppose
you could say that I’m still in love with my work.”

Mr. Gorschak said he did plan to go to Stockholm to accept the
prize, but that he thought it was possible that he would end up in
Stockholm, Indiana. “It’s so easy to get off the path. And when
you do, it’s not really that you’re off the path. You’ve just
found another piece of it. I’ve always been specially fond of dogs
who chase their own tails.”

The Nobel Prize for Reverie this year is valued at $.17. Last year
it was worth $.07. In Stockholm, a spokesperson said, “We’re very
happy about the increase in value, 143% in less than twelve months.
It’s just fantastic.”

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