Question Everything

Philo_mediev

At the end of his lecture, Dr. Irwin approached Allen.

“Mr. Milo, do have a minute?”

Allen Milo and Dr. Irwin stepped aside. “Sure,” said Allen Milo.

Dr. Irwin held up a paper. “I just want to confirm this is your paper.”

Allen looked at the title page. “Yes, Dr. Irwin.”

Dr. Irwin looked at Allen over her glasses, then flipped through the pages. “You allege the Middle Ages never happened and that we’re currently living in the 1500s.”

“It’s a bit daring, but I think I made a compelling case,” said Allen.

“Mr. Milo, this is a history class studying the Middle Ages. I have spent my entire career researching the subject.”

“So you say. Haven’t you said we’re supposed to question everything? It’s all I hear from you professors.”

“Yes, but that didn’t mean what I teach,” said Dr. Irwin.

“What makes you so special?”

“Why would I deceive thousands of young adults?”

“Power and control. Follow the money. How much does this university have in endowments? That doesn’t even begin to say how much influence you’ve had ideologically with thousands of young, eager minds,” said Allen.

Dr. Irwin’s face reddened. “You have a lot of gall.”

“Let me ask you, Dr. Irwin. Is the Bible true?”

“Of course not,” snapped Dr. Irwin.

“Why?”

“It was written by the church to influence and dominate the masses. Fortunately we’ve moved beyond those archaic ideologies,” huffed Dr. Irwin.

Allen smiled. “Now it’s time to move beyond yours.”

Dr. Irwin crossed her arms. “That doesn’t mean you’ll pass this class. You won’t graduate and you’ll become just another obscure fanatic.”

Allen shook his head at his professor. “It’s already been posted online. It’s been published and republished sixty-seven times. The world you know is antiquated. I don’t need your approval. Or your degree.”

Dr. Irwin’s eyes flared.

“Dr. Irwin? Question everything.”

Posted in education, fiction, flash fiction, history, humor, humour, Middle Ages, school, short fiction, short story, story, university | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sponsorship Initiative

iu

Antonio sat in Stan’s living room, watching him play Skyrim. It was the fifth night in a row and twentieth day that month that they played video games.

In the middle of a fight with a dragon, Antonio got up and started pacing.

“What’re ya doin’? I can’t see,” yelled Stan. He paused the game.

“I can’t keep doin’ this.”

“Aw! Not this again.”

“Life should be more than video games,” complained Antonio.

Stan shrugged. “Why? What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know. I want to do something. Anything. I want adventure. Maybe explore the world.”

“Sounds great. I’ll explore Skyrim while you get a spare million. Every time you do this, it all comes down to the same thing: cash flow. We got no cash, so life can’t flow. Now sit down so I can beat Vuljotnaak,” said Stan.

“Not this time. I got a plan.”

Stan raised an eyebrow at Antonio. “Go on.”

“We get sponsors,” proclaimed Antonio.

“Like athletes?”

“Exactly. We decide what we want to do, then find companies related to whatever that is and make a deal.”

“That’s stupid.”

“No. No, it isn’t. That’s exactly how it works. We’d be living billboards. But we got to get out there. Take the initiative. Plan big,” said Antonio.

“It’ll never happen,” concluded Stan. He restarted his game.

“It can. I read about it online.”

“And the internet is always true,” said Stan.

“It doesn’t matter. Go big or stay home,” said Antonio.

Stan paused his game again. “If you’re gonna freak out like this, then you go home. I’m already here and I’m comfortable.”

Antonio shook his head, then grabbed his coat. “I’m tired of being comfortable. I want to live.” He slammed the door to Stan’s apartment.

“Comfort is living, too,” Stan shouted. He chuckled to himself as he killed the dragon.

Posted in fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, living, short fiction, short story, Skyrim, sponsors, story, video games | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fear Of Missing Out

iu

Philip Ferrier walked from Human Resources to the top floor of the Bream Building. He knocked on the door frame and looked in on his boss, George Bliss.

“Come in, Phil,” said George.

Philip held up a letter without saying a word.

“Why do I already regret inviting you into my office?”

“It’s a letter from a psychologist. It’s about Ross Gross,” said Philip.

“A doctor’s note?”

“Apparently our Mr. Gross suffers from a condition called FOMO,” explained Philip. He handed the letter to George.

“FOMO?”

“It’s the latest millennial affliction.”

George read the letter with eyebrows raised. “The fear of missing out.”

“Dr. Jeffrey Russell explains that our Mr. Gross developed his anxiety from looking at social media with all the exciting things his friends post. He feels like he’s missing out,” said Philip.

George sighed. “Why does no one feel like their missing out on work?”

Philip watched in silence as George read. After a few seconds he said, “You know what I think?”

“That he should stop looking at social media?”

“Be careful. You don’t want to be labeled fomophobic. Dr. Russell mentions that in the second last paragraph.”

“Let me guess. It would hurt his feelings,” snapped George.

Philip ignored the comment. “This is a byproduct of YOLO.”

George shook his head. “What’s with all these acronyms? In English, please.”

“It stands for ‘you only live once’. It means you have to pack as much living into the life you’ve got.”

George dropped the letter on his desk. “If that’s true, then why waste so much time on the computer envying other people’s lives? It’s insane.”

Philip shrugged. “That’s why it’s a legitimate condition.”

George rubbed his eyes. “You know what I’m missing out on? A world that makes sense.”

Philip chuckled as he walked away.

Posted in business, fiction, flash fiction, fomo, humor, humour, life, living, office, psychology, short fiction, short story, story, yolo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Pleasant Dreams

iu

“I had the weirdest dream last night,” said Colby.

“Oh yeah?”

“I dreamed I was pitching a perfect game in baseball.”

“You don’t even like baseball.”

“I know. It’s crazy. It was in the seventh or eight inning when I realized I was under surveillance by Scotland Yard.”

“Huh.”

“Somehow my pitching was part of a plan to steal a huge diamond. In the ninth inning with two outs the police stopped the game by sending a tornado to destroy the stadium,” said Colby.

“I always wondered if the government could control the weather.”

“I don’t know how they did it, but the next thing I know I’m here talking to you,” said Colby.

“Are you expecting me to explain your dream to you?”

Colby looked at the man across from him and frowned. “Come to think of it, I’m not even sure who you are.”

“If you don’t know then I’m not telling.”

Colby had a sudden flash of desperation. “Seriously. Tell me,” he begged.

The man got up and ran out a door. “That’s a mystery you’ll never solve,” he yelled.

Colby woke up in a cold sweat. He wondered why he never had normal dreams.

Posted in baseball, dream, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, mystery, perfect game, Scotland Yard, short fiction, short story, story, tornado | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Rembrandt Parables

I’ve started a new website for my audio podcasts. They’re called The Rembrandt Parables. They’re longer versions of the humorous stories I post on this blog. Please check them out. They’re also available to download through iTunes.

Posted in humor, humour, podcast, Rembrandt Parables, stories, story | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

All In A Day’s Work

iu

“So, have you decided what you want to do with your life?” asked Dr. Midlane.

Albert shrugged his shoulders. “No idea. I mean, how did people choose a hundred years ago?”

Dr. Midlane leaned back in his seat. “Well, most weren’t troubled with the burden of choice. They did what their parents did.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes. Very few were educated, or even had access to education. Children learned the family trade. It was the only education available to them.”

“That’s awful. I can’t imagine living that way,” said Albert, thoughtfully. “My dad’s an optician.”

A frown grew across Dr. Midlane’s face. “How long have you been seeing me?”

“Two, two and a half years. Why do you ask?”

“You’re forty years old. You haven’t had a job in five years. You haven’t worked full-time ever. You’ve started your education on six separate occasions and dropped out of school each time,” said Dr. Midlane.

“What’s your point?”

“My point is, you have too much choice. A hundred years ago people worked to survive.”

“But I want more than that. I want to be fulfilled,” complained Albert.

“You’re assuming your grandparents and great grandparents weren’t fulfilled.”

Albert paused for a second. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

“There’s no perfect life. Just living and not living. Right now, you’re not living,” said Dr. Midlane.

“So I should become an optician, like my dad?”

“Do you have any better ideas?”

Albert’s brow furled. “Not a one.” He slapped his knees. “That settles it. I’m gonna do it.”

“There’s an inherent fulfillment in living,” said Dr. Midlane, encouragingly. “Go and be fulfilled.”

Dr. Midlane walked Albert out, then sat at his desk. Picking up the phone, he punched ten numbers and waited.

“Mr. Craig? This is Dr. Midlane. I have some news. It won’t be long until your son Albert moves out of your basement. Don’t cry Mr. Craig. It’s all in a days work.”

Posted in career, father, fiction, flash fiction, fulfillment, humor, humour, job, optician, short fiction, short story, son, story, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outside the Box

iu

Graham sat in the meeting, trying his best to appear engaged. Carter sat across the table, secretly making faces at him.

“What do you think of this Fisher problem, Graham,” barked Mr. Henry, their boss.

Graham snapped to attention. “Well, I think it’s brobdingnagian,” he said, stalling for time.

Mr. Henry nodded knowingly. “I like the way you think, Graham.”

Carter threw up his hands. “What? He made that up.”

Mr. Henry scowled at Carter. “What are you talking about?”

“He makes up a word and you-”

“I didn’t make it up,” interrupted Graham.

“Prove it,” demanded Carter.

Graham looked around the table. All eyes were on him.

“You know what it means, don’t you Mr. Henry?” asked Graham.

“Of course. But you’ve been challenged, man. Defend yourself,” said Mr. Henry.

Graham put his briefcase on the table and hesitated. He reached inside and pulled out a graphic novel.

Carter laughed out loud. “A comic book? You found it in a comic book?”

“Diablo says it in Avengers #41. It’s a real word,” said Graham.

“Is that true?” said Mr. Henry, suspiciously.

“Yes sir. I enjoy reading classic comics. You never know where inspiration will strike,” whispered Graham.

Carter laughed.

Mr. Henry slapped the table. “I love it. Think outside the box. Graham, you’re an innovator. Brilliant. I wish all my people were like you.”

Carter choked as Graham beamed.

“What’s happening?” Carter whispered to Graham.

Graham smiled. “I’d explain it to you, but those inside the box wouldn’t understand.”

Posted in brobdingnagian, business, fiction, flash fiction, humor, humour, meeting, short fiction, short story, story, The Avengers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment