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"If there were a place you could stand while holding your breath but while breathing you could by smirking almost."

-- spoken by two people at the exact same time: 17:53:27 EST, September 19, 1999. Pedro Marquez of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and Kaoru Hashimoto of Osaka, Japan, both said the words in Algonquin. Both bore an uncanny resemblance to Verna Cable.


The term itself simply refers to persons existing in the same chronological space; further, there is an implied congruence of activity. For instance, while a house painter could very well be the chronological contemporary of an easel painter, usage of the word in this sense would be considered inappropriate. A more accurate rendering would be the statement: The House Painter is the Contemporary of The Organ Grinder who is the Contemporary of The Unbridled Horsey who is the Contemporary of The Bleary-Eyed Rummy who is the Contemporary of the Easel Painter. And so on. Through analogy the original statement could be considered inviolable -- it is only the extreme degree of associative removal which renders it suspect.

And so goes the contemporary wisdom. Associational thought turns this wisdom on its ear -- or perhaps, its eye. In AA parlance, the greater the analogical separation one can achieve would imply greater relation between the objects in question. Turning again to the illustration above, its correct Associationalist presentation would be that statement which benefited most from a long distance analogical partnering, such as: The house painter is in fact nearly identical to the easel painter or maybe not -- but he's sure as shit a contemporary.

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