Essentials

TangledCordMessBefore

Jason stood at the front door with his suitcase at his feet. “Let’s go!” he called out.

His son Tyler ran to meet him. He was only carrying a backpack.

“What’s that?” demanded Jason.

“You told me to just bring the essentials,” shrugged Tyler.

“What’s in there?”

Tyler patted his bag. “Laptop, tablet, game console, phone, battery pack, and the charging cords for all of them.”

Jason stared at his progeny in disbelief. “We speak the same language, but the words mean something else entirely.”

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Recurring Grey

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During his normal grooming regimen, Max made an alarming discovery. “Lindsey!”

“What?” she called from the other room.

“I have grey nose hair!”

“Yeah, so?”

“It looks like I have something in my nose.”

“You do. Grey nose hair.”

Max stuck his head into the hallway. “No. Something else, like snot.”

“Do what I do. Pluck it,” said Lindsey.

“Wait. You have grey hair?”

“Yeah. You didn’t notice?”

“No.”

Lindsey rolled her eyes. “Figures.”

“What?”

“You’ve had grey hair in your nose for months and you only notice it now.”

Max’s jaw dropped. “I have? Why didn’t you tell me?”

Lindsey shrugged. “It isn’t that bad. It’s barely noticeable.”

“I noticed.”

“Yeah, about four months later.”

Max started plucking. “I can’t believe this.”

Lindsey listened to the numerous gasps of pain coming from the bathroom. A minute later Bill emerged from the bathroom teary eyed and victorious.

“I got it!” he announced.

“Congratulations. You are grey free until it grows back.”

A tear rolled down Bill’s check. “It comes back?”

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The Spider Did It

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It was the kind of evening that made Linda glad they bought a car with a sunroof. The setting sun was warm and the breeze was refreshing.

Linda looked over at Bill and smiled. That’s when she saw the spider creeping across his headrest.

“Ah!” she screamed.

Bill jerked the wheel. “What?”

“There’s a spider!” shouted Linda.

“Where?”

“On your headrest.”

“Kill it,” said Bill.

“I can’t.”

“Why not?” he asked. He contorted his neck and leaned close to the steering wheel.

“I’m not touching it,” said Linda.

“I can’t see it. You have to kill it.”

“Give me a second,” said Linda. She searched through the car for a napkin. Once she found one, she made a swipe at the headrest.

“Did you get it?” asked Bill.

“I think so,” said Linda. She leaned forward for a closer inspection. The spider no where to be seen on the headrest.

Bill arched his back. “What’s that?” he demanded.

“It’s on your neck!”

The two flailed their arms and shouted at each other. Bill reached around with both his arms and shivered. Linda closed her eyes and smacked Bill in the back of the head. Neither noticed the light pole until it was too late.

A short while later, both sat at the side of the road, staring at the wreck of their car.

“At least it’s a beautiful evening,” said Linda.

Bill glared back at her. “That spider better be dead.”

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Neighbourhood Relations

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“Have you seen the neighbour’s raspberry bushes? They’re overloaded,” said Alison. She threw a few berries in her mouth.

“Did you steal those?” asked Keith.

“What? They have like a millions of them. They won’t miss a couple.”

“That’s still stealing.”

“No it’s not. You’re overreacting,” said Alison.

“Oh yeah? What if they ate from our pear tree? How would you like that?” demanded Keith.

Alison covered her mouth in mock surprise. “Oh no. Not our precious pears. What ever shall we do?”

“You know what I mean. There are rules. You don’t want to live in anarchy, do you?”

“Anarchy isn’t going to break out over a few berries,” said Alison.

“It’s a slippery slope. Today it’s berries, tomorrow it’s something you care about. Then we live in resentment of everyone around us. That’s how it works, you know.” Keith nodded his head for emphasis.

Alison rolled her eyes. “What are suggesting? I go next door and confess my sins?”

“It is good for the soul. You never know. It could improve neighbourhood relations.”

“Whatever. I believe in a different truth: tall fences make good neighbours.”

Keith crossed his arms. “That’s what’s wrong with this world. Better to avoid the problem than find a solution.”

Alison laughed. “You’re like a modern day preacher.”

“Amen,” grumbled Keith.

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Language Barrier

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While traveling in Japan, Brock chose to commemorate the occasion with a new tattoo. After asking around, he discovered a tattoo parlour in Tokyo, and made his request. He chose the Japanese word ‘Warrior’ to be imprinted across his chest. The artist bowed and responded with, “Hai.”

An hour lated Brock emerged with his new ink hidden beneath a thick bandage. In a few short days his chest would heal, revealing his adopted Japanese spirit to the world.

The day of his big reveal, Brock wore a t-shirt with low slung collar. He left his hotel and smiled at the people on the street. A few smiled back. Most others laughed. The further he walked, the more people pointed and giggled.

Instead of the empowered feeling he expected, Brock became self-conscious and awkward. He tried to pull up this collar and hide his chest. That only seemed to invite more ridicule.

It was more that Brock could take. He ran back to his hotel. When he arrived, he stormed up to the front desk. He knew the woman behind the counter spoke English.

“Excuse me,” he said.

The woman’s eyes momentarily flashed. “Yes?” she replied.

“Would you please tell me what this means?” he asked, revealing the large tattoo on his chest.

The woman covered her mouth and laughed. “It translates ‘stupid foreigner’,” she explained.

Brock’s face flushed. “What? How could he? It’s supposed to say ‘Warrior’. That stupid…” ranted Brock in a fury of curses.

“Excuse me,” said an elderly man from behind Brock.

“What do you want?” demanded Brock.

The elderly man bowed, then said, “You say the tattoo artist is stupid, yes? What does that say for the man who asks for a tattoo in a language he doesn’t understand?”

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Scorched Earth

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All the guests of the party were gathered silently in the living room. Alisha paced back and forth in the kitchen.

“This is a disaster. Nobody’s talking to each other,” she fussed at Sam.

“I’ve been to cheerier funerals,” replied Sam.

“You have to do something. Please,” begged Alisha.

Sam dismissed her with a wave of his hand. “No problem. I got this.”

He walked to the doorway to the living room.

“You know,” he announced, “I think Donald Trump is doing a really great job making America great again.”

A series of gasps sucked the air from the room.

The tension was broken as someone said, “You know, he’s right. The economy’s doing great.”

“Have you lost your mind? The guy’s a mysogynist, racist pig.”

“Oh great, let’s hear from the liberal snowflake.”

“Chauvinist.”

“Social Justice Warrior.”

The room erupted.

Sam made the gesture of pulling the pin of an imaginary grenade and rolling it to the middle of the room. He returned to the kitchen, where Alisha shot daggers at him from her eyes.

He smiled and shrugged. “You’re welcome.”

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Right Place, Right Time

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The cabin lights of the plane dimmed just after take off. Wayne opened his laptop and was about insert his noise canceling earbuds when the man next to him spoke.

“There’s always more work to be done, isn’t there?” asked the man.

“You know it,” replied Wayne as he inserted an earbud in his left ear.

“What sort of work are you in?” asked the man.

“I’m an architect.”

“Wow,” replied the man. “On your way to a project, then?”

Wayne sighed. “Coming back. I need to finish up a few changes and connect with my office.”

“Me, I’m a one man show.”

“Really,” said Wayne.

“Yep. My own boss. A specialist,” added the man.

There was a moment when Wayne wondered if he should give up hope of getting any work done. After a few seconds, he succumbed to the social pressure.

“What do you do?” he asked.

The man presented Wayne with his business card. It read ‘Malcolm Weatherby, Professional Failure.’ Wayne examined his seat mate for the first time. He was immaculately dressed, right down to the Nomos watch.

“Is this a joke?” asked Wayne.

Malcolm laughed. “It’s as serious as a heart attack. But I already know what you’re thinking.”

“You do?”

“You’re thinking ‘Malcolm, if you’re a Professional Failure, then you better not try skydiving.’ Am I right?” he said.

“Actually, I was wondering how someone gets paid to be failure.”

“That’s a great question. It’s easier than you think and it pays very well, thank-you very much.”

Wayne pulled the earbud from his ear. “I don’t get it. What do you do exactly?”

“Well,” said Malcolm. He sat up in his seat and readied himself to expound deep mysteries. “Are you familiar with the saying ‘failure is the best teacher’? In practical terms I’m an educator who parlays failure into an intellectual asset.”

“How?”

Malcolm smiled. “I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you. It’s my own trade secret.”

“Okay then, tell me this. How does one become a Professional Failure?” asked Wayne.

Malcolm looked straight ahead and his tone drifted off into the philosophical. “Like everything else, it was a matter of the right place, right time.”

“Isn’t it always?”

“Opportunity knocks but once, but regret lingers for a lifetime.”

Wayne pondered on those words. “That’s really profound.”

Malcolm laughed. “And that’s why they pay me the big bucks.”

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