The Adventures of Rudi the Rational Man
Rudi, a young donut maker and logician, loses his job. A visit to the unemployment office leads to friendship with an immigrant mute and a visit from the attractive but obviously troubled Rhonda Lingo. Restless and unfulfilled, Rudi leaves his city. Years later he returns and finds work in a small muffin bakery, his only co-worker a possibly homicidal dropout from a PhD program in philosophy. More
Inspired by actual events and described by the author as “a thinly disguised erratalieography,” the story begins shortly after Rudi, a young donut maker and logician, finds himself unemployed due to the controversial closure of a regional bakery. With no job to occupy his time, Rudi sleeps, wakes, and dreams in the quiet of his apartment, waiting each day for the mail to arrive. A chance meeting at the unemployment office leads to a conversation about the meaning of life with an immigrant mute named Martin and a fateful visit from the strangely attractive but obviously troubled Rhonda Lingo. Restless and unfulfilled, Rudi leaves his city and spends time in exile in foreign parts, searching for something he only vaguely understands. Eventually and older Rudi returns to southern California and finds work in a small muffin bakery, his only co-worker a possibly homicidal dropout from a PhD program in philosophy. Rudi searches for a way to help or at least understand his young colleague and just as he continues to search for a way to understand and possibly even help himself amidst his rather absurd difficulties.
Rudi's world is a place where the mind is simultaneously ordered and anarchic, wherein the course of thought is radically unbounded by the very structures of control that logic provides. Comically unsuited to the demands of modern life--or possibly to those of any life at all--and apparently confined to an emotional wheelchair, Rudi is both frightened and fascinated by the world outside and is determined to engage that world such as he is able and such as it is revealed unto him. Rudi’s brain, with all its maddening chatter, cannot prevent repeated collisions with major issues of phenomenology, language, media, ethics, economics, grocery lists, and love.
Abilities of which Rudi is only half aware gradually come to the fore when another fateful meeting occurs, this time in a small urban grocery store, while he is in the midst of pondering a relatively narrow selection of jams and jellies and someone else is buying soup.