I was awakened this morning by the sound of an insistent knocking at my door. It was a man in a brown suit. He seemed to be in a hurry, as if Death itself were pursuing him.
“One always dies too soon—or too late,” I told him. “And yet one’s whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are—your life, and nothing else.”
“Okay,” he said. “But I’m just the UPS guy.”
“Oh,” I said. “I— Oh.”
“Sign here,” he said.
“I thought you were a harbinger of Death,” I told him.
“I get that a lot,” he said, peering down at the place on the clipboard where I had signed. “Spell your last name?”
“S-A-R-T-R-E,” I said.
“Have a nice day,” he said.
A nice day. How utterly banal.
Tuesday, 4 August, 1959: 3: 30 P.M.
A year ago, in a moment of weakness, I allowed my American literary representative to sell one of my books to a cinema producer for what was described as “a bold exploration of contemporary issues.” Yesterday I received a packet of publicity materials for a film titled “Johnny Sart: PD Squad.” The subtitle, or “tag line,” was “No badge. No gun. No exit.” A series of transatlantic telephone calls followed. Apparently I am unable to have my name removed from this abomination, but I will receive what is called a “co-producer” credit.
Existence is an imperfection.
Thursday, 20 August, 1959: 2:10 P.M.
If Man exists, God cannot exist, because God’s omniscience would reduce Man to an object. And if Man is merely an object, why then must I pay the onerous fees levied on overdue balances by M. Pelletier at the patisserie? At least this was the argument I raised this morning with M. Pelletier. He seemed unconvinced and produced his huge loutish son Gilles from the back, ominously brandishing a large pastry roller. The pastry roller existed, I can tell you that.
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