Friday, March 29, 2013

55: Getaway Weekend

Forty long hours of work. Eight for class, and eight more on homework. Six or seven in the car. Three at the gym (four if you’re good).

But on that Friday afternoon, knowing you’ll soon be surrounded by trees, the tension slips away like a long, slow exhale. I can already smell that fire pit.
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FFF-55 Vol. L. Tell a story in exactly fifty-five words. Go see G-Man.

The Old Tree

Here there once stood a great tree, which sprouted perfect and true. But through years of improper and cruel pruning, misdirection, and abuse, it became misshapen.

Still it grew as beautiful as it could, handsome and proud, though flawed, into the world. There it encountered many storms which, had it remained healthy, would not have affected it so. Thus this tree, as it aged, became gnarled and scarred as a result.

Over time the tree made offspring, and though they were born perfect and true, it knew not how to raise them so. Instead, it began to twist and stunt them in its own image, in the only ways it knew how to grow.

Over many years of storms and disease, the old tree succumbed. His last storm took him down in a sad and cruel assault. He fell silently into the forest. There lay his broken trunk finally open so all could see the beauty that was there, locked within.

And I, his offspring, grow truer and straighter without his shadow, but still sometimes wish for a guide, taller and hardier, as I make my journey toward the sky. I am still gnarled and scarred, but no longer can I blame the old tree--he did his very best. And looking back at the stumps of his past, I realize that he performed miracles of patience, and love, and nurturing, even though he did it with gnarled hands and stunted heart.

And now I will grow as straight and true as I am able. In honor, yes, but also for my own sake, and for the love of my offspring, who started out so perfect and true, but now are beginning to bear the signs of my influence.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

“Idiots,” I mumbled under my breath as I saw yet another math-themed meme on my Facebook feed. This one read: “3+3x0+1=? ‘Like’ if 7! Comment if 4!” I mourned the wane of human intelligence and considered the simplicity of the order of operations and the beauty of the only pure science in the universe. The answer to this question wasn’t—would never be—either multiple choice or up for discussion!

“This’ll show them,” I thought as I entered the answer and prepared a tirade for anyone who might have considered themselves bright for doing anything other than dismissing this ridiculous game, especially those who engaged in arguments over why different answers might be correct. I took particular pleasure in insulting one person couldn’t even be bothered to type the full words “you” or “your.” After a smug and self-satisfying click of the post button, I went about my day.

It took less than an hour: throughout the higher functions of my morning, a thin doubt forced its way into my esoteric superiority and crumbled my confidence. In a panic, I went back to the comment to delete it, only to find that someone else had used it in their own tirade against my apparent ignorance. He took particular pleasure in using my words against me. His last insult to me was appropriately blistering: he called me an idiot.
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This was meant to be a 55, but grew into something a little bigger. Enjoy!