Frank Hates Malls

As much as Frank hated shopping, there were times he couldn’t avoid a trip to the mall. On this particular adventure, he was on the hunt for khaki pants. To minimize his shopping exposure, he intended to perform a surgical strike. Get in, buy the pants, then get out.

“Frank? It’s that you?”

The voice caught him completely off guard.

“Frank, it’s Sam. Remember, from high school?”

Frank turned around to discover the forty year old version of his former classmate. He plastered on his best fake smile and replied, “How are you?”

Sam laughed. “Can’t complain. I own my own business. I have three locations now. It keeps me busy enough. How about you?”

Frank hesitated before answering. “I’m the Director of the National Association of Adhesive Notes,” he said.

The smile fell from Sam’s face. It was replaced with abject confusion. “Like Post-its?”

“There’s a lot more to it than that,” defended Frank.

Just over Sam’s shoulder Frank saw the khaki pants he was huntng for.

“Like what?” asked Sam.

Frank refocused on Sam and sighed. “We advocate for new uses for adhesive notes, regulate standards for paper and adhesive quality across the industry. Things like that.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing. How’d you wind up doing that?” asked Sam.

“It’s a long story,” said Frank, going it would end the conversation.

“I bet,” encouraged Sam.

“Well, I had to be a jerk, but I’m in a bit of a hurry,” lied Frank.

“Lemme guess, you’re also the chief of the Post-it police?” laughed Sam.

Memories of high school came flooding back and Frank remembered why he didn’t keep up with Sam.

“Something like that,” grumbled Frank.

“Don’t let me keep you. I’d hate to be arrested for interfering with a Post-it police investigation,” Sam teased. He walked away chuckling to himself.

Frank rolled his eyes. “Don’t tempt me.”

As the two parted ways, Frank made a dash for the khakis. The moment he arrived at the rack, another voice called out.

“Frank!”

Frank groaned. “You gotta be kidding me.”

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The Midlife Change

As they left Caffeination, their usual coffee spot, Louie took a sip if his coffee. Carly laughed at the ghastly expression on he made.

“Life’s too short to drink lousy coffee,” complained Louie. He took another taste and cringed.

“Why’d you try it again?” asked Carly.

“I wanted to make sure.”

“You’re sadistic.”

“I can’t explain it, but all coffee tastes terrible lately,” said Louie.

The two walked in silence for a few seconds. Louie took one more sip, then threw his coffee away.

“It’s so weird,” mused Louie.

“They say people’s tastes change through their lives,” said Carly.

“That can’t be it, can it? Huh. You might be right, I guess, but why’d it have to be coffee? I need coffee.”

Carly stared off into space. “Life is full of mysteries. Who can truly know it?”

Louie sighed. “Especially when I haven’t had my morning coffee.”

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Good Advertising

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On Saturday my daughter and I were watching the Notre Dame football game, when an ad came on screen. Most television ads for universities show picturesque panoramic views of their campuses, smiling, diverse faces of professors, students and alums, with a complementary statistic and an inspiring slogan at the end. Not Notre Dame.

 

It started with a close-up of the face of a young woman, telling us of a rare condition she suffered with, causing her to lose the ability to walk. Several images flashed of her in the hospital, broken and defeated. The next image was of her weeping mother, confirming the severity of her situation.

 

We returned to the young woman, with steely-eyed resolve, proclaiming she would walk again. She explained that the proper walking supports didn’t exist to help her, so she created her own. The next person on screen was a professor from Notre Dame University (the first reference to the school), who spoke of how they helped her along her journey. What followed were a series of images of the young woman learning to walk again. She said it became her purpose to start a company designing supports so that others may overcome debilitating illnesses. Contrasting images, some of her helping others, others of her running in a marathon, should us how she succeeded in her goal.

 

At the end of the ad she proclaimed, “We are the Fighting Irish. What are you fighting for?”

 

My daughter sat on the couch, riveted to a television commercial. “That’s the best university ad I’ve ever seen,” she announced.

 

Maybe it was, maybe in wasn’t. After looking into my daughter’s face, all I knew was, it worked.

 

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Animal Testing

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Gus shuffled his feet as he followed Andrea into the cosmetic shop. Going to the mall was bad enough, but following his girlfriend like a puppy dog was too much. His mind started to wander as she browsed through a rainbow of eye shadow colours. He noticed a sign that read “Forever Against Animal Testing”.

 

“I’m in favour of animal testing. How else can we know if they learned anything?” announced Gus.

 

Andrea blushed. “Keep your voice down,” she hissed.

 

“Why? We subject kids to testing all the time. Nobody complains about that,” said Gus.

 

A customer nearby looked over and smiled. “Am I right?” asked Gus.

 

“You can’t say those kinds of things. You’re going to offend people,” whispered Andrea.

 

“The only people who should be offended are kids. Around here they’re clearly not as important as animals,” proclaimed Gus.

 

“I can’t believe you,” said Andrea.

 

“What?” shrugged Gus.

 

A store employee noticed the exchange and approached. “Can I help you find anything,” she asked.

 

“Do you have any filters for a mouthy boyfriend?” asked Andrea.

 

The employee laughed. “If you invent one of those, you’ll be a billionaire.”

 

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A Legal Avocado

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The Monday after returning from vacation, Colin sat at his desk, plowing through a mountain of email. Halfway through the morning, Toby popped his head over the cubicle wall.

 

“Did you know, in the French language, the masculine word for lawyer is the same word for avocado?” asked Toby.

 

Colin focused on his computer screen as he typed. “Meaning what, exactly?”

 

“Two possibilities. You have to go to law school to become an avocado. Or, you have to become an avocado to practice law,” laughed Toby.

 

Colin stopped typing and glared at Toby. “Good comedians don’t laugh at their own jokes.”

 

“That may be true, but good lawyers make delicious guacamole,” replied Toby.

 

The slightest smile cracked Colin’s face. “Only you would think that.”

 

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Career Plan

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“I was walking in the park downtown today and saw something I’ve never seen before,” said Chip.

 

“If you’re in that park you’re bound to see a few things,” replied Dan.

 

“No, seriously. I saw two guys in a boom lift blowtorching a statue,” explained Chip.

 

The image of that made Dan scowl. “Are you sure you saw that right?”

 

“I know what a blowtorch looks like,” countered Chip.

 

“What were they doing?”

 

“That’s what I wanted to know, so I asked them.”

 

Dan raised an eyebrow. “And?”

 

“They said it’s how they maintain bronze statues. They clean it off and melt some kind of wax over it to protect it,” explained Chip.

 

“That’s crazy,” exclaimed Dan.

 

“Crazy awesome.”

 

“I can’t believe someone gets paid to do that,” said Dan, shaking his head.

 

“Any job that requires a blowtorch,” concluded Chip, “is a job I want to do.”

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Cultural Exploration

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As soon as Angus entered the Blue Star Coffee Temple, a knot formed in his throat.

 

“I shouldn’t be here,” he mumbled to himself.

 

A barista, sporting sleeve tattoos and a handlebar moustache, made eye contact. “How’s it going?” he nodded.

 

What Angus heard was, “What makes you think you’re cool enough to be here?” He swallowed hard.

 

“What can I get for you?” asked the barista.

 

“C-c-coffee,” stammered Angus. His voice cracked like a pubescent teenager.

 

The barista smiled. “No worries, man. What’s your brew? Light? Dark? Something in the middle?”

 

“Dark?”

 

“Good choice,” nodded the barista. He went to work, leaving Angus to survey the Banksy-styled graffiti scrawled across the walls. Surrounding him were young urbanites, absorbed by their iPhones, too busy to enjoy the real world.

 

Angus exchanged a five-dollar bill for six ounces of black gold, then retreated to the outside. He breathed a sigh of relief under the warmth of the sunshine. Angus had as much culture as he could handle for one day.

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