Mel Nicolai
 
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I then envisioned a man—this imaginary Smith—standing on his front porch, studying the facade of a house across a typical suburban street. The facing house is a cookie-cutter affair, almost cartoonish, with its boxy lines and nondescript tan paint. The imaginary Smith studies the imaginary structure, determined to reduce the universe to an abstract level of simplicity adequately modeled by this house. He imagines that if he can implement this reduction, it will enable him to accomplish things that he would otherwise remain incapable of. The scenario proceeds smoothly enough until the front door of the facing house opens and the imaginary Smith's imaginary neighbor emerges, dressed for a day at the office. The neighbor spots Smith, gives him an unenthusiastic wave, and proceeds without hesitation to his imaginary SUV parked in the driveway. With the once-frugal universe now complicated by the awkward addition of the imaginary neighbor, the imaginary Smith abandons his reductive speculations, waves in response, and retreats back into his own imaginary house.