So where is Waldo really?

“There is nothing to say and I am saying it.” In his renowned “Lecture on Nothing” Cage implored the audience to enjoy every moment of the lecture even though he admitted that it was going nowhere. He pointed out how we see value in things that only seem to have a deep meaning or goal and by simply saying no-thing Cage described the silence of Waldo- a phenomenon that was to come 30 years later.

The opposite of something is not nothing; rather it is the absence of something. Like Cage pointed out in his book Silence, “Something and nothing are not opposed to each other but need each other to keep going.” Just like that the absence of Waldo is the presence of Waldo. It is because of Waldo’s possibility of being absolutely nothing that Waldo is something.

Then why is it that we so frantically search for Waldo when we don’t even know who Waldo is, when deep inside we know that Waldo doesn’t exist? It is that silence, that “nothing” that no beginning, no middle, no end, of Waldo that keeps us going. We search for Waldo not because Waldo is missing but because we relish in the nothingness of Waldo.

Let us ask ourselves, is the question really “Where is Waldo?” or “Who is Waldo?” I never got a chance to know anything about Waldo- his presence or absence, but when I was asked “Where is Waldo?” for the first time in my life while reading the UChicago prompt I realized that the empty temporal space that Waldo was could be anything I wanted it to be.

Waldo could be a girl; who’s to say Waldo is a “he” but then again who’s to contradict that? Waldo could be the temporary escape of those prisoners clad in black and white striped uniforms as he roams the world so carefree in his identical red with white striped shirt while every child and adult is out there searching for him. Waldo could be what I see myself as in ten years and Waldo could be what I never want to be. Waldo could be the nightmare of a wealthy celebrity who desperately tries to finds Waldo while trying to find himself or Waldo could be the sweet dream of this not-so-wealthy non-celebrity girl as she attempts to find herself.

And so I go on to say that Waldo is nowhere. Who knows the exact definition of nowhere, but the closer we get to nowhere, the more peaceful we feel, for it is exactly what John Cage said it to be “Our poetry now is the realization that we possess nothing. Anything therefore is a delight and thus need not fear its loss.”

Talal Almas is a freelance writer who holds the world record for the most A*s in O Levels