Monday, December 10, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: What do you get him for Father's Day?

Yusef was a very wealthy man. He was born into money, grew up in money, went to college to learn how to make even more money, and the summer after graduation he made such an embarrassing amount of money for his father's company that the few people who had tolerated him in college stopped talking to him, to focus on their screenplays and jobs at McDonalds. Yuseff inherited his father's company, and built himself a palatial mansion. He had symmetrical swimming pools, a private lake (not for swimming, but to repopulate a couple of endangered species his daughter thought were cute; his children got whatever they asked, no matter what), a private road, and a private airport (which sported its own symmetrical swimming pools that Yuseff and his family could take a dip in if they didn't feel like flying once they got there).

But Yuseff was unsatisfied. Sure, he had a platinum-plated wrist protector that kept his gold watch from chaffing, and a road no one else could drive on, but he didn't have enough. Consumer culture was too small for him. He lost sleep and spent an increasing amount of time away from his wife and kids trying to create something worth having.

One night, inspiration struck. A map. The world's first real map. Not a flat one, not a globe, not one that made Greenland look accurate in size, nor even one of those adjusting zigzag maps in the background of all the movies about the White House or U.N. Building. A map of total accuracy. A map that would have every coastline accurate to the kilometer, every building represented, and a key that read "1 Mile equals 1 Mile." That would show Capitalism how it was done!

Immediately he hired thousands of scientists who were very relieved to be employed after all that time in college with their parents asking what they would do with their lives. They experimented on how to get paper to fold extra times, on refractive light and holographic technology, and spent an awful lot of time surveying. Meanwhile, Yuseff handled the logistical end, trying to secure a place for his map. He wanted to try the moon, but his close advisors apologetically informed him that it was smaller than the earth, and even with cutting edge paper-folding technology, the map would probably knock the moon out of orbit. He almost licensed the sun for storage space, but it was informed that it was a poor locale, even if it was well-lit, and that if he tried to claim property on the sun, the Russians would probably declare war. And then, while he was filing the patents, he heard a nasty rumor and almost sued Google Earth for trying to steal his idea.

Early one morning he got a call from his wife. She was worried about their youngest daughter, Anita. The girl had been acting strangely for months, had been coming home covered in white paint, and wasn't playing with the other children. Yuseff begrudgingly cancelled his afternoon meetings and flew home to meet his daughter, who ran into his arms, her hands and face smudged with white paint. Yuseff asked her what this was all about and what was wrong with her, but her first reply was only to point at an industrial paint machine, usually applied for making lines on football fields. Before he could ask further, she dragged him to the roof of the mansion, where a telescope was fixed. After she threatened to cry if he didn't humor her, he looked through. Every so often in the distance of all four directions were large, white line segments, all perhaps fifty feet across, each row emanating from their property.

Yuseff gave his daughter a flabbergasted look, to which she responded, "One Mile equals One Mile!"

He blinked, looked through the telescope one more time, turned back to her, and hugged her to his side, saying, "Well, that'll do."

1 comment:

  1. You know, I think I like this even better the second time reading it. It's not only clever, a bit satirical, and humorous, it's also heart-warming and sweet in a totally original (and non-sappy) way.


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