In her gallery talk the curator invited us to ponder this painting entitled, she said, “Schenectady.”

Vita Brevis

It was the end of a long day of gallery tours, and everybody from my office was exhausted. We were ushered into a big white enclosure with pale line drawings covering the walls. They looked a little like engineering diagrams, but from the middle of the room, where we were sitting on avant-garde contoured plastic chairs, it was hard to tell. I hoped the curator’s presentation would be brief, but she kept interrupting herself to talk on her cell phone, and then she decided to demonstrate her recently acquired fiber arts skills by knitting a giant pink fuzzy flower. “Look! I’m knitting a flower! Isn’t it cute?!” she exclaimed. I decided I would never knit anything again. Then the curator introduced the performance-art portion of the program: “As you’ll see, it’s very political.” A group of Nazis burst into the room with their German shepherds and submachine guns and shot us all, one by one.