Much Simpler

I gave a talk at Toastmasters about the importance of being easy when parallel parking. I said the anxiety may come that you’ll sideswipe the car you are trying to park behind. But imagine you are a whale, swimming past another whale. You can sense the boundaries of your space.

That’s when I felt the pop, snap and crackle of time travel. The people’s faces from the room faded, the podium was gone. I was sliding through the tubes of time.

I ended up on a bed in a small room. A man, writing at a desk lit by a candle, looked over, shocked to see me.

Since he was a writer, I felt it was safe to say that I was a time-traveler. Writers are self-trained to be open to strange things. The man was fine with the details of my circumstances.

It turns out he was Stephen Crane, the author of Red Badge of Courage. I apologized for having not reading the book. Though to console Mr. Crane, I said that many school children all over the country are forced to read his book. This brought Mr. Crane great satisfaction.

I asked Mr. Crane what he was currently working on. He said he was attempting to write about a Utopian society that saved mankind from demoralization. I said I would save him time by letting him know that in 1921, Science discovered that the lesser morals that are normally frowned upon, turned out to be humankind’s highest possible moral standards, thus eliminating the need for religion. People stopped bathing, apologizing, and the wearing of clothes. For once, we became as happy as the dog.

Mr. Crane set down his pen and looked at his writings. He said “Oh, my. This changes…”

Mr. Crane began to fade, as well as his room. The air crackled as I traveled back to the Toastmasters room. I was surprised to see a naked and bedraggled audience. Someone in the audience said, “What’s that on your body?” I said that I was sorry. Another person said, “What does that mean?”

In my confusion I looked around the room, and suddenly my eyes fell upon a well-worn book called, What’s the Point Then?!?, by Stephen Crane. I took off my clothes, burped, farted, and said everyone could go to hell. The room responded with thunderous applause.

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