I am the second sort of escapologist.
“I read once that the first time they put an escapologist in a tank of water, he or she will have one of two reactions, and which one determines the course of their life.
The first sort of escapologist is an ordinary person who has come to the trade organically, by whatever curious sequence of opportunity and happenstance—and that sort will panic. There is very little that is more appallingly unnatural or frightening than being lowered, bound, into a confined space containing an atmosphere you cannot breathe. … Some people just never go back in the tank. … Some get right back in and they master their fear and they go on to be as good as their skill allows. These last are most compelling to watch.
The second sort of escapologist is the sort that doesn’t panic. They touch the water and relax, as if just now realising where they truly want to be. … This sort of escapologist tends not to be very successful commercially, because their contentedness in the tank disturbs the audience. …
The second sort of escapologist … invites a placid contemplation of mortality that is nowhere on the razzle-dazzle shopping list and which will certainly not get you laid. Audiences come out of the theatre sober and chilled, and a little while later they make life changes and spend more time with the people they love.“
—From Gnomon: A Novel by Nick Harkaway
Image: Andrew Basso, The Escapologist. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus