SPEECH BY A MODERN-DAY FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER
Before the Neo-Luddite Convention
Dedicated to Mary Shelley
As recorded by David Arthur Walters
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce myself. I am a Frankenstein Monster.
I have overheard the gossip about me. It is misleading hearsay, so I will speak for myself. I will refer to these notes I have prepared, not because I have a defective memory, but because I fear my broken heart will distract me. I will try to be brief and concise, for I am only too familiar with the impatience of a crowd and its primitive need for simple solutions.
I will only address at this time the vicious rumor that since my story is about an artificial creature that has run amok, it is meant to warn modern man of the dangers of science and its rational technology. Some have gone so far to recommend not only a halt to scientific progress, but even the wholesale destruction of its creations. I am personally familiar with the horrible consequences of that irrational bias, and I say it is ultimately self-destructive. This becomes obvious to those who examine the monster chasers. Be that as it may, allow me to say a few things about myself. I’m sure my anecdotes will be of great import to those who sympathize with monsters, knowing that science is not at fault. Indeed, careful scientific analysis will reveal that a monster would develop into a valuable member of society if it were not for its incoherent members.
I have always wondered about my origins. I must admit that my early memories are fragmented. I think somebody loved me, but I don’t remember who. I was told my mother suddenly died when I was very little. I recall someone saying, much to my irritation: “He’s three years old!” I knew I was actually ancient, much older than that, maybe even immortal.
I remember I loved my father, but he couldn’t personally take care of me for long, so I was placed in a foster home. I was always looking for my father. I was sad, but I knew I was good because of the hurt I felt. It was then that I started to read, or at least to make up meanings for the symbols I saw in books, based upon what I had heard others say.
Since I was alone most of the time, much was left to my imagination, the fruit of my desire. I believed that if I learned the language of the giants I would no longer feel so abandoned.
My father’s intentions were always the best. He eventually remarried and came for me, but I was sorry to leave the foster home where I was allowed to run free. I was even given a quarter on Saturdays to see the triple feature downtown. But my step mother imposed limitations on me. She taught me that I was a bad boy and a liar subject to discipline. I was also accused of being a thief. The charge was that I had stolen another boy’s underpants at the swimming pool. I was thoroughly confused by these identifications, and I blamed the impositions on my father. I began to hate the creator who tolerated and supported the stifling atmosphere of my new home. That was when I started wondering who my real mother was, because surely she would know I was good and would love me always. So I ran away from my new home to find my origin. I believed in a feminine origin, my original mother, to whom I constantly prayed. I have been wandering the face of the earth ever since seeking her and therefore my own identity. Without her I am nothing but a vile jumble of rotting garbage.
I feel like I’ve been haphazardly thrown together, made up of many incongruous parts. I have longed so fervently for integrity, for truth! Others seemed to know who they were. Why not me? I tried the various techniques recommended, but they didn’t seem to work. The methods certainly didn’t sooth the discordant aching of my heart. I began to think that maybe the whole world was full of liars going around saying they knew who they were. Some of them said that there was even more to come after death; that I was to burn in hell if I didn’t do as they said. Oh no!
In any event, I didn’t give up. I kept seeking. Seeking a wife to make me whole: that’s the solution! After I ran away, many were the times I would peer into the windows of homes where I would see apparently happy families in their familiar activities. I would make my own home! I was desperate. I found a wife and made a home. Like my father, my intentions were the best, but the marriage was a puzzle of crazy quilt work that finally unravelled, leaving me in a stupid and painful stupor as always, stupid in that, in my clumsiness, I had crushed the very things I desired the most. I didn’t give up. As a man I was supposed to be a great leader. I tried it again with the same effect. I didn’t know what a home was or how to make one from scratch. I failed miserably, leaving behind me a trail of tears and regrets.
I can’t fathom why I keep meandering about this globe. I feel so useless, but I go on like a zombie. Who made me?
Why can’t I just end it all? What makes me tick? What is my fate? Who am I? What am I?
I’ve stopped looking around for that one woman who can make me right. There are occasions when I inadvertently glance at a woman and, when caught in the act, smile. But the women return my curiosity with a countenance of disgust as if the sight of me gives them cause to vomit. Am I so ugly? I peer into the mirror. I must be the horrible one nobody wants. Who made me this way? When I speak out loud this way, sometimes someone says something nice and encouraging, but they themselves do not want me. They say there is someone out there for everybody, but that someone is not me. Don’t worry, someone feeling guilty says, Jesus loves you (but I don’t). I have their sympathy but not their love.
Can anyone imagine how hard it is to even walk down the street in my state? Alone in my crude dwelling, I have good intentions, so I step out into the crowd smiling, but they are afraid to look at me, they walk right at me as if I didn’t exist. Oh, there’s one who actually sees me! But knowing I have caught his eye, he gives me a murderous look, a look that would turn the most ardent romantic into stone. This hate I feel is incomprehensible. I am enraged. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t rehearse mayhem in my mind. I hear remarks about a man who ran amok with an assault rifle, and wonder why people think that is so astonishing. I have been running from the mob for a long time now. I know what its members are capable of.
Nevertheless, I haven’t completely lost my sense of humor. One of the most comic features of the tragedy is that the mob would lynch a monster on sight, or burn, freeze, electrocute, gas or otherwise execute the execrable creature. I will hide in my cave until they are finished destroying each other, and then I will stand alone to have the last cruel laugh as my revenge, the last man living on the earth, howling with glee to the high heavens!