Phil Reads His Book …

It was a roast.

Everyone was dressed well and having a good time roasting Phil, the humble and devoted civic leader.

Person after person got up and talked about the good things Phil did for his community. He raised money. He helped kids. He improved infrastructure. He ran a business. He had a great red-headed wife with curly hair who boasted a cool Tat of the symbol “Teth” between her shoulder blades, and in THIS universe she was straight and actually loved Phil a lot and they both had a lot of great sex. Way more than the average for married couples.

It was Phil as he always dreamed he would be: a good man with a good family including the hot red head and smart kids. Kids that played musical instruments. Kids that were all ready to be Doctors, Entrepreneurs and Movie Stars.

The last speaker got up and smiled. He handed Phil a gift to be opened later – alone. The events of the evening concluded and Phil and Cassie went home to their perfect children, perfect lives and perfect sex.

He woke up later that night and opened the gift.

After unwrapping it, he found it was a book with a post-it note on it telling him to read the last chapter.

Phil, was taken aback. In it was the speech he gave just an hour before.

He was puzzled. He just made it up on the fly. He wrote NOTHING down. But there was no doubt, the scene was a script of his life to this very moment.

He flipped to the part where he was was at the moment in the book. He said “What the fuck?” and turned the page.

The page started with Phil’s question:

“What the fuck?” Said Phil. 

And then he read the last paragraph.

The aneurysm popped and Phil dropped the book and slumped onto the table. It was the end. He realized he didn’t exist at all and he was all just a fiction – until someone else helped create him … only then could he create himself … only then … with the love of others could he truly exist … 

 

 

Phil Meets Grasshopper

Phil was crossing a field of grass on one variation of the planet Earth.

On the ground lay a grasshopper. It was covered in ants and it was writhing in a last ditch effort to escape the biting mayhem.

Phil paused and beheld the suffering grasshopper and the serious, diligent ants.

“My friend, if it were not for soul-wrenching suffering life would be so, so boring! If we had not such destructive agony, why even get out of bed? Comfort is such a banal torture of  intoxication.”

Phil walked on pondering the next time he would be eaten by ants, and in what lifetime as well and how they would wrench away any sense of self-control and freedom he would have in said lifetime, in said timeline, in said universe, in said multiverse.

He paused after facing it as much as he could imagine.

Phil walked over to the grasshopper-ant feeding frenzy and stomped his foot on the lot of it ending the suffering of his vegan friend.

“Illegitimi non carborundum grasshopper.”

Family Pokemon Go

Met a family of 5 walking outside: a five year old pushing an infant in a stroller; Mom walking close behind; Dad holding up the middle. A seven year old boy walking and staring at his phone.
It was Family Pokemon Go … and everyone was in.
ME: “Just to let you guys know, I’m keeping the neighborhood safe. I just captured a Rattata he won’t bug you guys now. Those critters are EVERYWHERE.
SEVEN YEAR OLD: “I just got one too!”

DAD (LAUGHING WITH DISBELIEF): “Yeah, we’re catching them all.”

ME: “There MUST be a nest of them! There are a lot of water Pokemon by the lake!
Later as I rounded the lake with Roxxie in tow, it turned dark and they were slowly making their way around the pond.
ME: “Any luck?”
SEVEN YEAR OLD: “Mom caught one!”
ME: “Awesome!”
***
Some games change the world. More games like this please.

Phil, Cassandra and Certainty

PHIL: “I just wish Cassy, I could be certain about SOMETHING. For crying out loud, is there nothing in this fucking universe one can be absolutely sure about? Why am I obsessed with absolute truth when there is none that can be relied upon?”

CASSANDRA (Sighing): “THIS again? When are you going to figure this out? I’ve been waiting for you to get this on your own, and you keep whining like a baby. So … fuck it … I’m fixing this right now.”

PHIL: “Huh?”

Cassandra got up and poured her and Phil a glass of wine. She sat down at the table they shared.

CASSANDRA: “Have you ever been certain about something? REALLY certain? Dead certain. Cock sure. Fucking CERTAIN only to find out later you were WRONG?”

PHIL: “Yeah.”

CASSANDRA: “Okay. Do you remember how it FELT to be that certain and then find out you were wrong? Do you remember the arrogance it gave you. The stability it provided?”

PHIL: “Yeah.”

CASSANDRA: “How did that feel?”

PHIL: “Great. Powerful. Awesome.”

CASSANDRA: “I know right? Thats why we want certainly so badly. Now, do  you remember a time when you were certain about something, and you were right?”

PHIL: “Yeah.”

CASSANDRA: “Did it feel just like it did when you were wrong and certain?”

PHIL (LAUGHING): “Yup.”

CASSANDRA: “So the certainty you felt while right felt EXACTLY like the certainty you feel while wrong. So, dipshit, why not just choose to create the powerful and liberating feeling of certainty any time YOU want without an object or idea to be right or wrong about?”

Cassandra put a glass on the table. She looked him in the eye from the side to convey that he needed to pay attention.

CASSANDRA: “Is this wine glass right now placed on a table?”

PHIL: “Yes.”

CASSANDRA: “Feel that certainty. KNOW that you see a glass on the table regardless if it is actually there, even IF this universe is a simulation, or if this is a dream. It doesn’t matter, regardless, it SEEMS there for this setting, right?”

PHIL: “Okay. Got it.”

CASSANDRA: “How sure can you FEEL about it?”

PHIL: “Very.”

CASSANDRA: “Can you amplify it to full blown arrogance?”

PHIL: “Sure.”

CASSANDRA: “Can you manufacture that feeling of certainty and just FEEL it without attaching it to the glass? Try it.”

PHIL: “Okay … ”

Phil sat still and started smiling.

PHIL: “Ha! Yes I can. I can feel arrogantly certain just because I want to feel arrogantly certain!”

CASSANDRA: “You have the secret to Cassandra-level smugness Phil.”

PHIL (LAUGHING): THAT IS AWESOME!”

Cassandra sipped her wine.

CASSANDRA: “It’s the secret to Cassandra magic. Don’t fake it till you make it. Just make it till it’s not fake anymore. And then train it into your default reaction and mood.”

Cassandra looked at Phil with a certainty that cut through him like a laser. Phil was visibly uncomfortable and drank his wine nervously.

CASSANDRA: “Certainly … JUST certainty … No words. No object. No ideas. No right. No wrong. Just. Certainty.”

She took another sip.

CASSANDRA: “Work on it.”

Phil and Cassandra Meet AGAIN…

He bumped into her. She turned and looked at him – her green eyes greening.

“Uh-oh” he said.

“Shit,” she said.

“You again.”

“I’m afraid so,” she quipped. “It seems that in the countless multi-verses out there, that the potential for us to appear just like this has occurred.”

“Wait, we may still get out of it.”

“How?”

“If we have an inconsistency between us concerning what we both think this actually is. If there is one inconsistency in this ritual, then the story doesn’t go on in this universe unless we share each other’s mythology exactly.”

“And that means that this is just one of an infinitude of universes where we do NOT live out this mythos,” said Cassandra.

“Exactly.”

“Right. Kay. My name is Cassandra, you?”

“Phil.”

“Check. Our names work. Show me your watch.”

Phil showed her an American World War Two Wrist watch: an A-11.

“That’s the watch,” she said.

“Show me the Tat,” said Phil.

She turned her back and said, “Pull down the neck of my sweater to  the middle of my shoulder blades.”

Phil pulled down her sweater looked at the tat on her spine above her heart. It was an X with a circle around it.

“Yup, that’s it, he said. “So are you STILL GAY in this manifestation?”

“Yeah.”

“GOD DAMN IT!”

“I’m only yours in your dreams Phil. Always.”

“I swear the multi-verse hates me. One last thing,” said Phil holding up his palm vertically.

Cassandra held her vertical palm against his.

“We…” said Phil.

“Are…” said Cassy.

“The Protectors…” Said Phil.

“Of Each Other’s…,” said Cassy.

“Feelers!” they both said in Unison.

They hugged for a long time. Then they walked away together.

“Does that watch do anything special this time around?”

“No. It’s just a piece of junk I got at a hock shop.”

“Good,” said Cassy. “It complicates things when it has super powers.”

“So who is the feeler and who is the protector?” asked Phil.

“I’m the feeler this time. I’m the one to process an infinitude of lifetimes as you keep me safe.”

“Okay. You want to go high tech, low tech, no tech what?”

“Not so fast, shouldn’t you buy a girl a drink first?”

Cassandra’s Class

The class walked in. On the board was a simple statement:

The chalkboard had a header with six inch letters, “SIT IN SILENCE WITH YOUR HANDS FOLDED OR GET A ZERO ON TODAY’S QUIZ. JUST SIT AND PONDER. NO PAPER WILL BE TURNED IN.”

Beneath it was today’s quiz written in cursive.

“TODAY’S QUIZ: What if the issue of freewill or determinism is not the issue? What if the issue is Freewill AND Determinism and how you liberate in BOTH right now and forever? Now DO IT right now!”

She sat throughout class reading a magazine while standing at the podium. As some student’s got bored and got up to leave she cut them down with one sentence.

“Leave and you will flunk my class and not just today’s quiz.”

They sat back down.

She took her rubber-tipped pointer and tapped the question with intention.

Time passed and all hands stayed folded. Eye rolls and body language spread rumors of her obvious insanity.

Five minutes before the bell, she erased the message. One student had a tear running down her cheek. To mark the end Cassandra dramatically broke her pointer in half across her knee and put it in the trash.

The bell rang.

After the bell, the girl who cried retrieved the pointer, went to her father’s wood shop and joined the two halves together herself using a drill press, dowel and Elmer’s Glue. She hung it over her fireplace years later.

Phil Leading Philosophy Class

The discussion was typical.

A materialist was materialist-izing; a spiritualist was spiritualist-izing and a quantum-woo-woo-ist was quantum-woo-woo-ist-izing over the topic of free will.

And just like in the thousands of years prior to today, it was still not going to resolve into a clear answer. The Materialist pointed to current neuroscience, the spiritualist pointed to paradox of soul and mathematical realism, and the quantum-woo-wooist was quoting the movie “What the BLEEP Do We Know.”

Phil was supervising the repetitive arguments while chewing gum; he held a piece of chalk in his hand while facilitating the discussion after class.

The room was empty for the next period, and Phil felt like taking a few extra minutes before dropping one of his “stunners” to end the argument, walk out of the room and look all smug and self-confident like he had done in countless other universes before. But this time, in Kansas.

While the Quantum-Woo-Woo champion rambled on, Phil wrote a simple statement on the wall …

“If you have to rely on a scientific, mythological or philosophical crutch to prove to yourself that you exist and have free will, then your existence and Free Will depends on something OTHER than yourself – so you don’t have it.”

And he walked out.

The sound of a shared Baby Ruth candy bar filled the room as the wrapper crinkled between them.