The Curse of the Courteous

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When Carson approached the door to the mall, he looked back and saw a woman following behind. He opened the door, passed through, then held it for the woman. It was his habit to show a random act of kindness. To Carson’s shock, the woman shook the door from his grasp.

“How dare you hold the door for me like I’m some feeble female. Chauvinist pig!” she shouted.

Something in Carson snapped. “I hold the door for all kinds of people, all the time. Courtesy does not mean chivalry. Learn the difference!”

The woman stopped and stared at Carson.

“What kind of terrible human being gets mad when someone is kind to them? I mean, really,” shouted Carson.

The woman’s jaw dropped while others stopped to watch the commotion.

“How mean has the world become that holding the door is considered a hostile act!” fumed Carson. He whirled around and turned right into a police officer.

“Excuse me, is this man bothering you?” the officer asked the woman.

She glared at Carson and said, “As a matter of fact, yes. I was minding my own business and he just started raving like a lunatic.”

Carson felt the blood drain from his face.

“Sir, would you please come with me?” asked the officer.

With shoulders dropped, Carson was led by the police officer into the bowels of the mall. They reached an interrogation room where Carson sat down. The officer sat across from him and leaned forward.

“Do you know why you’re here?” he asked.

Carson sighed. “These days, showing courtesy only leads to trouble.”

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The Great Music Debate

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Hal opened the car door and slipped into the passenger seat. Immediately his ears were assaulted by thumping pop music. Mason tapped out the rhythm on the steering wheel.

“Nothing like awesome tunes for a road trip, eh?” asked Mason.

“Absolutely,” replied. Hal. “When are you gonna start playing it?”

Mason stared at his uncle in disbelief. “I can’t believe you just said that. This music is lit.”

“As long as you mean lit on fire. This is awful. Tell me this isn’t popular.,” said Hal.

“Huge.”

“Yet another sign the apocalypse is upon us,” concluded Hal.

Mason rolled his eyes. “Lemme guess. You only like oldies.”

“Depends on what you mean by old.”

“Ancient. Beethoven and junk.”

Hal crossed his arms. “As a matter of fact, I do. Not to mention artists from the seventies and eighties.”

“That’s how old you’d have to be to listen to them,” scoffed Mason.

Hal scowled at his nephew. “At least my music has something to say. Not like today’s music. All they sing about are butts.”

“And you think my music has nothing to say,” laughed Mason.

“Know what’s wrong with today’s generation? They’re a bunch of hedonists,” said Hal.

“Know what’s wrong with everyone else? They think there’s something to live for other than fun,” countered Mason.

“There is. What about the future?” asked Hal.

Mason merged onto the highway and wove recklessly through traffic. “All that exists is the present. I live for now.”

Hal gripped the dashboard with white knuckles. “If you keep driving like this, that’s how long we’ll have left to live.”

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Holy Grounds

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Kyle took a sip of coffee, then admired the cup before setting it down. The spectacle made Nate roll his eyes.

“Have you ever considered the immeasurable wonders of coffee?” asked Kyle.

“Nope,” answered Nate.

“It’s genuinely spiritual,” said Kyle.

Nate looked around the greasy spoon just in time to see a man sitting at the counter, picking his nose with a fork. He cleaned the tines with his fingers, then continued to eat his pie. “Yeah, right,” said Nate.

“Coffee is a supernatural gift. A blessing bestowed to us that reveals the nature of God himself, both complex and mysterious. And it’s one of the few joys in life given freely to the entire world without partiality,” gushed Kyle.

“Awesome,” said Nate. He was still enthralled by the man eating his pie.

“And yet, out of this glorious nectar grows a dark rebellion from the heart of depravity. Frappuccinos, lattés and other frankensteinian abominations that mangle and distort the divine blessing. What God intended for good we have heinously turned into evil,” ranted Kyle.

“Wow,” said Nate. He watched as the man at the counter took another stab at his nose with his fork.

Kyle noticed the distraction. “What?” he snapped.

“Nothing,” shrugged Nate.

“Tell me.”

“It’s just that you talk like drinking coffee is some sort of religious experience,” said Nate.

“It is.”

“Which means this place is like a temple or something.”

“Now you’re getting it,” exclaimed Kyle.

Nate pointed to the counter with a nod of his head. “That dude over there is digging for gold with his fork.”

“So?”

Nate smiled. “Just goes to show. One man’s holy ground is another man’s booger mine.”

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Celebration of Life

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“I went to a celebration of life the other day,” announced Cecily.

“I’m sorry. Was is someone close?” asked Easton.

“A coworker’s partner. I think we met once at a party or something,” said Cecily.

“Those can be awkward,” noted Easton.

“It wasn’t bad actually. The only thing that got me was the term ‘celebration of life’. It wasn’t much of a celebration.”

“It’s just a nice way of saying funeral,” said Easton.

“Then call it that. Don’t try to sugar coat it. Don’t make it sound like something fun,” said Cecily.

“Death makes people uncomfortable. They try to soften it. You know, put a positive spin on it.”

Cecily thought about it for a moment. “Know what? When I die, I don’t want people thinking it’s positive. I want ‘em in deep sorrow, wondering how they’re gonna live without me.”

“When you’re dead, I don’t think you’re going to care either way. People will do whatever they want to do,” replied Easton.

Cecily frowned. “I never thought about it before, but I think funerals are all about the living.

Easton nodded. “Isn’t everything?”

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The Job Interview

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Derwin waited nervously in the boardroom when a man dressed in a suit entered. He carried files and a notepad. The two shook hands and sat across from each other.

“Thank you for coming in. My name is Claude Roger and I’m stepping in for Human Resources,” said Claude.

“I appreciate the opportunity,” replied Derwin.

“Excellent. Let’s get started, shall we?” asked Claude. He opened a file and set his notepad down.

“Sounds good,” said Derwin.

The smile on Claude’s face melted into thoughtful consideration. “Was the worst thing you’ve ever done also the funniest thing you’ve ever done?”

Beads of sweat formed on Derwin’s forehead. “I hope you’re not asking me to confess to any crimes,” he joked.

“Was the worst thing you’ve ever done a crime?” came the unflinching response.

Derwin’s voice raised and octave. “No,” he said.

Claude’s expression softened. “Okay, what was it?”

“I was young and stupid, just keep that in mind,” said Derwin.

“Go on.”

“I duct taped a cat’s paws. It was funny at the time, but after we got in trouble we realized how mean it was. It was a stupid thing to do,” explained Derwin.

“Interesting,” said Claude. He wrote stoically on his notepad. “Okay, besides a house or a car, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever purchased?”

Derwin breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s easy. My education.”

“You purchased your degree?” asked Claude.

“It certainly wasn’t free, and I have the student loans to prove it,” said Derwin.

Claude wrote down another note. “If you were a vegetable dip, what flavour would you be and why?”

“Wow, that’s tough.”

“Take your time,” said Claude.

“I only know a few different kinds,” said Derwin.

“That should make things easier,” replied Claude.

At that moment the door opened and another man entered. He looked around the room in shock.

“Claude, what’re you doing?”

Claude smiled. “Just helping the team.”

“You’re the janitor,” said the other man.

“The what?” asked Derwin.

The real Human Resources person grabbed a sheet from Claude. “Where did you get my questions?”

“Those are real?” asked Derwin.

“Of course,” said Claude. “We take your employee decisions seriously.”

Derwin gathered himself and moved toward the door.

“Where are you going?” asked the real HR person.

“I’ve just decided, I don’t want to work for CrazyCorp,” replied Derwin, then he closed the door behind him.

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The Short List

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“I’m unplugging from technology,” declared Irwin.

Grace winced. “What brought that on?”

“I got dumped via text. Can you believe it? Text,” spat Irwin.

“Mandy dumped you and you think technology’s to blame?”

Irwin fumed. “A dump text is the coward’s way out.”

“Welcome to the twenty-first century. Relationships are digital,” explained Grace.

“Not mine. Not any more.”

“So how do you think you’re gonna meet someone?” asked Grace.

“In the real world,” declared Irwin.

“That shrinks the world of possibilities quite a bit,” said Grace.

“I thought of that. It doesn’t make that much of a difference. It’s not as though I’m gonna find the love of my life in some place like South America.”

“Why not?”

“First of all, I don’t speak Spanish or Portuguese,” said Irwin.

“You have to consider things like age, education, interests, political opinions.”

“Not to mention mutual attraction,” added Irwin.

“From what I see, the list is really shrinking,” said Grace.

Irwin thought for a second. “You’re right. Say, you wouldn’t want to go out with me sometime, would you?”

Grace laughed. “Not a chance. I’m not desperate, I’m bilingual.”

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Scientific Greatness

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The relative peace of the optical lab was broken by a loud crash.

“Crap! That’s the third lens I’ve broken today,” exclaimed Jill.

“What’s going on with you?” asked Karen. She helped Jill pick the pieces off the floor.

“I don’t know. I’ve been so tired lately,” said Jill.

“Did you know scientists have no explanation why people need sleep?” asked Karen.

“Then scientists are stupid,” snapped Jill. She noticed the shocked look on Karen’s face.

“Don’t say that. We’re scientists,” objected Karen.

“How do you figure?”

“We wear white lab coats, for one thing.”

“Well, if you set the bar that low,” scoffed Jill.

Karen buckled down. “We create medical appliances.”

“True,” conceded Jill.

“And, we do it by applying the complex laws of physics,” said Karen, now on a roll.

“That we don’t understand,” added Jill.

“We still do it,” said Karen.

“On machines so technical we barely know how to operate them,” Jill.

“It’s not that bad,” replied Karen.

“I wonder if other scientists are as clueless as we are?” asked Jill.

Karen frowned. “What’re you talking about? We scientists are the greatest people on earth.”

Jill looked at Karen with a raised eyebrow. “Well, at least we wear white lab coats.”

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