Friday, May 31, 2013

A fictional short story

I haven't been writing fiction lately, and I thought I'd spend some time doing that. I feel like my biggest strength is tragedy, because my words can be artistic. So I decided to not write a tragedy, and instead had a little more fun this time. Here it goes.

And good times were had by all
            There had been an increase in monthly envelope expenditure in both the Shilling and Redding residence. The Shilling family resided at 107 S. Truman St while the Reddings resided at 109. The Shilling place was a modest two bedroom one bathroom Ranch house.  It was plain white with a single green door in the exact center of the face and a window on each side to maintain symmetry. Steven and Cathy Schilling resided quietly at 107 S. Truman with their only child Alexander Schilling.  Alexander was in every way extremely average. Nothing he had done in his seventeen years of existence ever angered his parents or ever excited his parents. Even his birth was regarded as one of the most mediocre moments in Cathy Shilling’s life.
            The Redding place was a more extravagant four bedroom two bathroom Tudor revival with a nice patterned brick fa├žade. James and Emma Redding had six children from ages nine to eighteen. Ashley Redding was eighteen and future trophy wife in training. School wasn’t nearly as hard when eager teenage boys did all the work. Claire Redding at sixteen was often viewed as the “go ask your father… Well what did you mother say” child. Not much is known about Claire Redding except for that she exists. Sophie Redding age fourteen was a much more interesting girl and found passion in intricate (though not good) watercolor paintings and decadent (though not good) cupcake creations.  Adler, Chris, and Skylar were the triplet boys at age nine. James had so desperately begged for a chance to have a boy and eventually Emma gave in. Some parents are blessed enough to receive multiple children when they ask for one, others are cursed enough to receive multiple children when they ask for one. James and Emma were one of each, respectively. Luckily, Emma had the cunning to have the first initials of ACS, which only she ( and now you the reader, and myself the omniscient narrator) knows stands for All Children Suck, All. Children. Suck.
            Back to the envelope problem (which James Redding insisted on pronouncing ONvelope). Both Steven Schilling and James Redding used about half of a 50 pack of envelopes per month. Curiously, over the past two months, both noticed approximately four fifths (40 envelopes for those lacking in mathematical abilities) of a pack was used every month. If we assume a pack of envelopes is reasonably priced at $5 (10 cents per ‘lope), and each is losing fifteen envelopes per month, than Steve and James have suffered a loss of $3 each. Quite an interesting problem, indeed. Cathy Schilling had no use for envelopes because she secretly stole an envelope every day from Landshire Holdings, where she works as a secretary. Cathy Schilling has stolen enough envelopes over the past ten years to reach a total envelope value of three hundred four dollars and twenty cents (this is enough to be charged with felony theft in Illinois. Cathy Schilling is a bad girl that needs to be spanked). Emma Redding had no use for envelopes because she discovered they were no good for assisting in adultery. She found the cellular phone to be much more efficient and enjoyable in communicating the desire to “bone” as she eloquently said softly to her suitor Charlie Quiver (whom resided at 108 S. Truman St.).
            Once again back to envelope problem, (as I got lost in the outstandingly uninteresting lives of the wives on S. Truman St.). Where dem ‘lopes gone too? Would be a question a less educated male would ask; however, Steven and James both attended the prestigious University of Phoenix Online. Let us drop in as the Steven Schilling tries to solve the problem.
            “Had you have been using my envelopes?” (That's almost English Steven, good job.) Steven asked Alexander.
            “Yes.” Alexander replied.
            Well that solves that problem. Alexander has been using them. Now if only we understood why…
            “I’ve been using them to write to Claire Redding.” Alexander continued to explain to his father.
            Mystery solved, I guess. Let’s see if James can figure his problem out.
            “Ashley! Have you seen Claire?” James asked her daughter sitting in the living room.
            “I am Claire. “ Claire  responded.
            “Okay, well if you see Claire, ask if she’s been using my envelopes.”
            “I have been using them. But only to write to Alexander Schilling.”
            Really? I was hoping there was some sort of love triangle. What an uneventful situation. I hope Alexander is a vampire or something. I guess we will dive deeper into the lives of Alexander and Claire to expose their vampire-human love to the world (assuming Alexander is a vampire).
            Alexander sat at the oak stained desk in his room, furiously writing a letter. It read:
                        Dearest Claire,
When will I see you again? The wait between visits slowly tears at my weak heart. I can only hope to live long enough to see you once more. Alas, the war rages on and my English brothers are losing their will to survive. Talk of a German surrender is common, but we both know I’m not that lucky.
                        Alexander Schilling
                        Infantry, King’s Division
            Alexander Schilling is no vampire; he is just a weird kid. I can’t imagine how Claire could stand such weirdness after two months. Alexander sealed his letter in an envelope and left his room to deliver it through the backyard fence that Emma Redding insisted on being built between the Schillings and Reddings. At 4:07 pm Alexander slipped the envelope between the fifth and sixth post of the fence. Alex then did a triple knock on the fence followed by a “cha, cha, cha” and a meow. This signal was awkward an unnecessary as Claire stood on the other side of the fence at 4:07 pm as previously communicated through letters.  
                Claire snagged the letter and scampered (I’m not sure what scampering looks like, but I felt like that was it) inside. She took it to her upstairs room and read it. Then she read it again. And once more before she held it tightly to her heart (well, where she believed her heart is. She’s wrong.) Claire wrote back and violated the one letter per day rule. At 5: 03pm Claire snuck her letter between the sixth and seventh post of the fence to signal that the letter was written by Claire and not Alexander (even though he should probably remember if he wrote the letter regardless of what posts it is in between).
            Alexander went to the backyard quickly to pick up the letter, as if he had been staring out his window waiting for a letter for almost one hour (that’s weird Alexander, don’t do that.) Alexander went back inside and took the letter to room where he read: 
                        Dear Alexander,
                                    You’re quite funny. Let’s make out.
            That is where we end the story. Maybe we will pick up the story again when I don’t have to narrate an awkward first kiss between two weird kids that will probably never find anyone else that is attracted to them. Not to be too critical or anything. 

           And good times were had by all. The End

Thursday, May 30, 2013

To continuously be selfless will result in having no self

The quote of the week for me “The kindest people are often the most depressed.” This is true to a larger extent than I want to believe. Thoughts like that kill the spirits of the endangered romantic. A dying breed most known for flocking together and just hoping that one day everything will be okay. Sometimes not much more can be done than just hoping. After a long conversation about what the “right” thing to do is, I came up with a thought for the selfless, and those that believe in a romanticized happy future.
                Selflessness is the most dangerous compassionate act. It’s more than just refusing to throw others under the bus, it’s throwing yourself in their place. Actively harming your well-being to protect others. It sounds like the right thing to do, it shows concern and love. Yet, it creates no sense of self, it creates  “I’m not happy unless you’re happy.” To continuously be selfless will result in having no self.  I guess it is in the name. Your identity merges with those you love, and you measure your success through their success, even though their success may not benefit you in any other way. You’re happy because they’re happy, and they’re happy because good things happen to them. A little bit down the road, you’re unhappy because you’re so financially, mentally, emotionally (whatever it may be) drained, that you can longer support them. They’re unhappy because bad things happen and you can’t support them.  Maybe there was a time and place when selfless acts were appreciated and would always benefit everyone, but it’s no longer that time, and this world is no longer that place.
                So there’s no happiness in acting for others benefit? That’s not true at all. Much like everything else great in life, moderation is key. Spend that bonus you got on a stranger in a hard time, or spend the little free time you have calling a friend.  But if you work hard so you can afford a jet ski, when you get enough money to buy a jet ski, buy the jet ski. Even if you have a friend struggling, it may just be best to let them ride your jet ski instead of giving up your happiness for theirs.  There is value in giving to others, but if you don’t value yourself occasionally, you’ll have nothing to give.  I guess the best advice for the selfless is the same advice for the selfish. Share the wealth.

It’s summertime and I clearly want to ride a jet ski.