Pistachios: A Parable of Modern Discourse

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“I think pistachios are the most maligned of all the nuts,” announced Seth.

“Random Man strikes again!” proclaimed Khalif.

“Are pistachios a nut? I didn’t know that,” added Landon.

“What did you think they were?” asked Khalif.

“I dunno. I never thought about it before,” replied Landon.

“That’s my point exactly. Unappreciated,” concluded Seth. He pounded his fist on the table.

“Wait a minute. That proves nothing. I can’t tell you the last time I thought about Brazil nuts. Does that make them unappreciated, too?” asked Khalif.

“Sure, but not as much as pistachios,” replied Seth.

“I think I see your point,” said Landon. “Pistachio ice cream is the worst.”

“Landon, that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about,” snapped Khalif.

“Besides, everyone knows the worst ice cream is rum and raisin,” said Seth. He cringed as he spoke.

Khalif shrugged his shoulders in disbelief. “Seriously? You’re both wrong. The worst ice cream is peanut butter. That stuff can actually kill people.”

The other two erupted.

“Have you lost your mind?” asked Seth.

“What’s the matter with you? Peanut butter is awesome,” replied Landon.

“Not for people with peanut allergies,” said Khalif.

“Like that’s the peanut’s fault,” said Landon.

“Yeah, it is,” scoffed Khalif.

“Peanuts don’t kill people. People kill people,” declared Landon.

“What does that even mean?” hollered Khalif.

“If you don’t understand it, then I can’t explain it to you,” dismissed Landon.

Khalif threw up his hands. “This is stupid. I can’t handle this. I give up.”

Seth folded his arms and smiled. “You could’ve avoided all of this if you just agreed with me in the first place.”

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Big Screen Proposal

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Noah was shocked to see his buddy Frank on the big screen at the baseball game. Frank was sitting with his girlfriend Amy. The two were framed in a heart.

Words scrolled across the screen. ‘Amy, will you marry me?’ Noah’s heart sank. A buzz went through the crowd. People around them clapped and urged them on. Amy covered her mouth in shock as Frank settled to one knee.

Without warning, Amy slapped Frank across the face and stormed up the aisle. The crowd groaned as it watched the spectacle unfold on the big screen.

Noah made his way over to his spurned friend. He worked through the stands and sat in the seat once occupied by Amy.

“I didn’t know you were at the game,” said Frank.

Noah nodded. “Saw what happened. Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” replied Frank, focusing on the action on the field.

“You’re putting on a brave face,” said Noah. “I’m impressed.”

Frank chuckled. “Don’t be. It’s not what you think.”

“It’s not?”

“No. Amy will get over it,” said Frank.

“Unless my eyes deceived me, she dumped you.”

Frank looked around the stadium, then leaned in close to Noah. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Sure.”

“Amy told me she’d never accept a public marriage proposal. She hates ‘em,” explained Frank.

“Then why’d you do it?”

Frank smiled like a newly released prisoner. “I’m single again, right?”

Noah sat back in his chair. “Wow.”

“I know. I’m a genius,” bragged Frank.

“You’re something,” said Noah. He immediately stood up to leave.

“Where are you going?” asked Frank.

Noah didn’t look back. This was to become the first day of the rest of his life with his true love.

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The Valentine’s Flag

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“OMG, it’s Valentine’s Day!” exclaimed Seth.

“Did you actually just said ‘OMG? I mean, that’s okay if you’re a fifteen year old girl, but dude,” replied Mike.

“Focus. I’ve got a big problem here. I completely forgot,” said Seth.

“There’s still time. Get her chocolates and flowers,” said Mike.

“I can’t do that. Olga’s lactose intolerant and she says cut flowers glorify something already dead,” explained Seth.

“A live plant, then.”

“She doesn’t have a green thumb. And, she’s like, allergic to everything.”

“Oh.”

“What am I gonna do?” asked Seth. He had a look of fear in his eyes.

Mike shrugged. “I dunno.”

“It’s gotta be something good. I totally screwed up Christmas,” said Seth.

“What’d you do?”

“I bought her a gym membership,” said Seth, sheepishly.

“How is it that you’re married and I’m single? Even I know that’s a terrible idea.”

“C’mon, man. Help,” begged Seth.

“Design her a flag. You know, something that represents her,” said Mike.

Seth choked. “That’s a terrible idea.”

“Says the guy on the fast track to divorce,” said Mike.

“I am not.”

“Okay, then. Get her another gym membership. Better yet, sign her up for Weight Watchers,” said Mike.

“You got a point.”

“Uh huh.”

“A flag, you say,” said Seth.

“Why not? If you do it right, it’s a one-of-a-kind gift. How much more romantic can you get?”

“Um,” mused Seth. “I’m still not convinced.”

“Do you have any better ideas?”

Seth fidgeted with his cell phone. “When you put it like that, I better get started.”

Mike laughed. “Forget love. The true meaning of Valentine’s Day is desperation.”

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February Resolutions

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Cal and Alicia stood in the checkout line at the drug store with a cart full of items.

“Hold on, let me get this straight. You didn’t start your new year’s resolutions until February?” asked Cal.

“Exactly. That takes the pressure off January and it gives me a better chance to succeed,” replied Alicia.

“How do you figure that?”

“In the first week of the new year everybody’s all stressed out about the changes they want to make in their lives. Not me,” announced Alicia.

“You still put pressure on yourself,” said Cal.

“Yes, but it’s a good pressure. Like this year for instance. I’m using Valentine’s Day as the impetus to be a more patient person. You can’t show love without patience,” explained Alicia.

Just then a man joined the line behind them with only three items.

“What this,” Alicia whispered to Cal. “Excuse me, I noticed you only have a couple of items. Would you like to go ahead of us?”

The question startled the man. “Oh, thanks,” he mumbled.

Alicia beamed. “See what I mean?”

The cashier scanned the three items and placed them in a plastic bag. “That’ll be twenty-one dollars and fifty-six cents.”

The man pulled out a bag of loose change. “I think I’ve got that in nickels. Hope you don’t mind.” The change crashed all over the counter, spilling all over the floor.

Alicia watched in horror as the scene unfolded.

Cal wore an unsympathetic smirk. “How that resolution workin’ out for ya?”

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Life Hacks

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While stopping at Snootybucks for his daily cappuccino, Parker ran into his old friend Callum. They hadn’t seen each other since graduating from university. They both majored in sixteenth century Norwegian comparative literature.

“What’re you up to?” asked Callum. “Put your degree to good use?”

“Would you believe I went to trade school?” replied Parker.

“No way.”

“I did. I’m an electrician now,” explained Parker.

“Unbelievable,” said Callum.

“What about you?”

“Up until a month ago I was working at the Canadian embassy in Norway,” said Callum.

“You’re joking.”

“You wouldn’t believe the doors that opened,” said Callum.

“I’m impressed.”

“Don’t be. I left. Something was missing, you know? Fulfillment and stuff,” sighed Callum.

“So what’re you doing now?”

Callum pulled out a business card and handed it to Parker. It read ‘Life Hack Consultant’.

“Never heard of such a thing,” said Parker.

Callum beamed. “I’m a pioneer. A pioneer in helping people.”

“Very noble of you. So, what do you do exactly?”

“I expense wisdom of the modern age,” announced Callum.

“Like what?”

Callum looked around anxiously. “I don’t wanna give away too many trade secrets, but for you, why not?”

“You’re too generous.”

“Take practical grooming for example. Do you hate shaving? Mix hair removal lotion with your shaving cream. You won’t have to shave half as often,” explained Callum.

“I, um, hadn’t thought of that before.”

“That’s what makes me an expert. And what if you’re too rushed to brush your teeth in the morning? Replace the filling in Oreos with toothpaste. The cookie bits scrub your teeth as the toothpaste does it’s job. Those are just a couple of small tips. I don’t want to give away any of the big stuff.”

Parker rolled his eyes. “What could be bigger than those?”

Callum chuckled. “You twisted my arm. Here’s a sure way to know if someone’s lying.”

“Okay,” said Parker, hesitantly.

“Poke them.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Liars hate being poked. It’s a little known fact.”

“I bet it is,” said Parker.

“It’s astonishing how few people know that. So, what do you think? I’m on to something, right?”

Parker struggled to find the right words. “This may not be the best career choice for you.”

“Why not?” asked Callum. His expression was sincere shock.

Parker winced. “I’m not sure you have a good handle on life hacks.”

“What’re you trying to say? You don’t have to sugarcoat it. Tell me what you mean,” pressed Callum.

Parker acquiesced. “They’re stupid. Anybody who follows your advice is sure to ruin their lives.”

Callum’s eyes grew wide. Hurt and anger and suspicion swept across his face in waves. After a few seconds, he poked Parker.

“Ow! What’d you do that for? That hurt.”

Callum smiled. “I knew you were lying. Don’t take it too hard. A lot of people are jealous of my ideas. I forgive you. No worries. Any how, gotta go help the world. Call me some time.”

As Callum left, Parker wondered what just happened.

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How Not To Be Boring

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When Bryce arrived at the party, he scanned the room for anyone he recognized. Spotting Christina, he took a quick step behind a lamp. She was alone, standing at the food table, looking eagerly at the crowd. The movement by Bryce caught her attention. She immediately swooped in.

“I took a course last weekend,” she announced.

Bryce grimaced, then said, “Self-improvement is commendable.”

“Know what it was? It was ‘How Not to be Boring’,” said Christina.

“I didn’t know there were courses about that sort of thing.”

“There are, and know what? It changed my life,” said a bright eyed Christina.

“It’s great news,” said Bryce. He desperately looked around for someone to save him.

“Wanna know how?”

“Maybe?”

Christina laughed and touched his arm. “You’re so funny.”

Bryce nodded nervously. “Thanks.”

“I learned the key to being interesting is empathy,” declared Christina.

“Sounds good.”

“I know, right? Empathy is all about bonding emotionally through shared human experience.”

“Wow,” said Bryce. He took a sip of punch.

“When I heard that it was like, boom! Mind blown.”

“I can imagine,” said Bryce.

“Have you ever been in a situation that blew your mind?” asked Christina. She pulled him close.

“Uh, yeah,” replied Bryce.

Christina leaned in and whispered in Bryce’s ear. “Remember what that felt like?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“How did it make you feel?”

“Well,” said Bryce, backing against a wall, “it blew my mind.”

Christina laughed louder than was socially acceptable. “Exactly! You know exactly how I felt. Amazing.”

“You’re right.” An idea flashed in Bryce’s mind. “Hey, I need to find the little boy’s room.”

“Oh, no problem. I’ll wait for you.”

“Uh, thanks,” said Bryce. He walked out the door, leaving his coat behind.

Christina nodded her head and smiled. “Bonding accomplished.”

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The Real Reason Superman and Lois Never Married

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“Am I pretty?”

Clark didn’t even look up from his pasta. “No.”

An audible gasp escaped Lois. “You don’t?”

“No, as in, I don’t think that’s the question you wanted to ask.”

A hard stare focused on Clark’s impassive face. “Enlighten me.”

Clark matched Lois’ penetrating gaze. “You want to know if you’re pretty ‘enough’. Are you pretty enough for you? Pretty enough for your friends? Pretty enough for the rest of the world?”

“You think so, huh?”

“Why else would you ask?”

“Maybe I just want reassurance that I’m pretty enough for you,” accused Lois.

“Is that really a question for a strong feminist to ask?” replied Clark.

“I asked, didn’t I?”

Clark stared across the table for a full minute.

“What are you thinking?” asked Lois.

“I’m deciding what to do next.”

“Take your time,” said Lois, coldly.

“Some things can’t be rushed.”

“Like deciding if I’m pretty enough for Superman?”

“That’s not it at all,” replied Clark. He released a slow, aggravated sigh. “I was going to ask you to marry me tonight.”

Lois sat up in her chair. “Oh.”

“Then this happened.”

“Right.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“You could always ask,” suggested Lois.

“What would you say?”

“I can’t answer a question that wasn’t asked,” hinted Lois.

Clark sat in quiet speculation once again.

“What?” asked Lois.

“I messed this up, didn’t I?” asked Clark.

Lois fold her arms. “That wasn’t the question I was waiting for.”

Clark hung his head in shame. “I guess romance is my kryptonite.”

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