Monthly Archives: March 2016

Nagg and Nell

I’m 57 today.

I teach in a middle school.

I teach theatre.

Today, I showed my class Samuel Beckett’s Endgame.


Seeing an absurdist play is never a good idea on your birthday.

Absurdism states that life is absurd, hence the name.

Relationships and language are futile to Beckett.

We are all on our way to oblivion alone and nothing can delay the inevitable.


Nell and Nagg, Hamm’s parents, reside in garbage cans.

Hamm himself is blind and cannot stand,

So he is pushed around by his servant Clov, who cannot sit or lie down.

Hamm calls his parents damned fornicators, blaming them for his very existence.

They don’t pay attention to their son.


They reminisce of the time they lost their shanks in a bicycle accident.

They can hardly see.

They can hardly hear.

It is too painful to touch.


I used to have a picture of an old couple sitting on a park bench holding hands on my wall.

This was my idea of true love.

They have each other and that is all they want.

Their life is not futile because they have each other.


Nagg and Nell do not have a park bench.

They cannot smell the flowers on a warm spring day.

They cannot hold each other’s hand.

They are stuffed in garbage cans, in a cold dark room.


I once met a man who at 77 found the love of his life.

He had been alone for twenty years.

His daughter convinced him to go to a Valentine’s Day dance.

He saw that familiar stranger from across the room and was thunder stuck.


Nell and Nagg do not have a Valentine’s Day dance.

They cannot hear the rhythm of their youth.

They can’t recall that moment when they fell in love.

Their struggle is all that they can feel.


But they are alive.

Nagg can hardly hear Nell

But hardly is more than not.

Nell can barely see Nagg,

But barely is better than not.

And the anticipation of another moment

With their soul’s one and only

As they rise from the darkness of their metal caskets

Gives them hope

If only for another moment

One single moment,

One fleeting moment.