ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: People have souls.

ME: Um, yes, that is a belief.

MY BRAIN: Animals have souls.

ME: That is another belief.

MY BRAIN: Do atoms have souls?

ME: I have no idea.

MY BRAIN: But we’re made of atoms. Do atoms have souls?

ME: Souls might be a bit larger.

MY BRAIN: If you can describe a soul’s size as being larger or smaller then you’re implying it has mass.
What are souls made of?

ME: I am the wrong person with whom you should have this conversation.

MY BRAIN: If souls have mass, are they made of atoms?

ME: You’re trolling me, aren’t you.

MY BRAIN: And if they’re made of atoms, do those atoms have souls?

ME: …

MY BRAIN: Are we theologically recursive? Is that why we’re so screwed up?

ME: Why do you always do this to me when I’m trying to assess pricing algorithms?

MY BRAIN: I don’t want you to get bored.

Crystal Light

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: I am suffering a crisis of faith.

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: I feel just like I am lost metaphysically. I don’t know where to turn.

ME: What happened?

MY BRAIN: I believed in Crystal Light… and it DIDN’T BELIEVE IN ME!

ME: Um…

MY BRAIN: It always seemed like a very sensible, self-reliant ontology, you know?

ME: Why the HELL do I let you watch television?

MY BRAIN: I believe in myself, therefore I believe in Crystal Light. It was never a stated quid pro quo,
but why not? And I did my part.

ME: I’m scared to ask.

MY BRAIN: I told people about the power of Crystal Light. I would testify about its flavors. I didn’t feel comfortable going door to door but I was always ready to share the good news that town water did not have to taste like town water.

ME: I’ll give you that one.

MY BRAIN: And I finally reached the end of my rope. I was so tired. And I took out a little packet and I just poured out my feelings. I asked for guidance, love, and faith. And do you know what? It just SAT there.

ME: …

MY BRAIN: It just sat there in its smug fruit punchness and said nothing. NOTHING. Where is the help? Where is the support? Where is the love?

ME: You know, I think you’re looking at this the wrong way.

MY BRAIN: I’m thinking of becoming a Splenda-atheist. What?

ME: It didn’t say anything… because it has faith in you.

MY BRAIN: … what?

ME: It believes in you so much that it’s not doing anything. It has faith that you can fix it by yourself.


ME: See?


ME: That’s great. So can we get back to work now?

MY BRAIN: First, I want to sing a hymn.

ME: A hymn?

MY BRAIN: Aspartame faith, how sweet and low calorie, that saved a wretch like meeeeeee…

ME: Okay, NOW you can shut up.


ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: We are all holy wine in different vessels.

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: That’s right.

ME: Wow. That’s very… um…

MY BRAIN: I am Welch’s 100% grape in a Flintstones glass.

ME: …

MY BRAIN: Not even a good glass either.

ME: You had this lovely thought, and then you –

MY BRAIN: Pretty sure I’m BamBam.

Sympathy Orchestras

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: The world needs more Sympathy Orchestras.

ME: Um, I think you mean Symphony.

MY BRAIN: Just imagine, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony 6 3/4 in B Minor – “Really Pathetique.”

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: You could do a whole season around “Baroque – And We Can’t Fix It.”

ME: Do you have ANY IDEA how much e-mail we have to get through?

MY BRAIN: Suddenly, a bloodless coup in the string section. They are all playing the world’s tiniest violins!

ME: I need to stop feeding you animal protein.

MY BRAIN: It is too late. They have become sarcastic and insidious.

ME: And they start playing… ?

MY BRAIN: Copland’s Fanfare for the Caustic Man.

ME: Of course they do.

Leveling Up

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: So how many experience points do you think I have to go?

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: Before I level up.

ME: Level up?

MY BRAIN: I figure I’m multiclass, you know? Like a Chaotic Neutral Ranger/Geek/Pallet Jack Operator. It’ll take me a little longer to get those levels, but in time I’ll be able to — oh, I dunno, shoot two arrows at a time and enchant lifting forks.

ME: Did you start playing mutant D&D when I wasn’t looking?

MY BRAIN: I have decided that real world no longer allows actual accomplishments, so I’m focusing on
leveling up. Oh, and badges.

ME: Badges.

MY BRAIN: Yesterday I unlocked the Courteous Under Trying Circumstances badge, but as you may have noticed I also unlocked the Creative Swearing badge. And they kind of cancelled each other out.

ME: Who, exactly, is awarding you these badges?

MY BRAIN: Idsquare.

ME: Oh, of course.

MY BRAIN: Every five seconds the super-ego checks in with the id about what state I’m currently in, and depending on where I check in and how long I stay I get badges.

ME: So if you’re polite to a wrong phone number –

MY BRAIN: Badge.

ME: And you don’t take the last bottle of Inko’s when it’s on sale –

MY BRAIN: Badge.

ME: And you figure out how to restack a pallet so it doesn’t fall over –

MY BRAIN: Experience points, duh. Don’t go mixing up my value systems.

ME: You do realize that merely providing a little more of the social axle grease that makes our culture spin properly doesn’t, in the long term, make for a very fulfilling life.

MY BRAIN: No, I got that figured out. The first badge I earned was the Satisfaction with Shallow, Meaningless Achievements badge.

ME: …

MY BRAIN: I had to win 25 levels of Candy Crush and arrange the refrigerator door condiments into a meaningful pattern. It’s more difficult than you’d think.

ME: So now with the wide world before you, you’re going to settle for that.

MY BRAIN: And be happy! Isn’t it great? It’s like a little sustaining biosphere of self actualization.

ME: I’m not sure I think —

MY BRAIN: Wait a minute. It’d be a little sustaining biosphere of NON-self actualization, wouldn’t it? Still, it’s sustaining. I expect there are trees and carbon dioxide and things.

ME: I’m not sure I think that this is a viable long-term strategy.

MY BRAIN: And already this morning I’ve earned the Keeping You From Work Badge.

ME: What?

MY BRAIN: Just a couple more messed-up spreadsheets and misheard lyrics and I’ll be crowned Mayor Of Getting On Your Last Nerve. Do you have mayoral perks?

ME: I’m not going to reward you for keeping me from getting work done!

MY BRAIN: You’re just asking for a one-star review on Ego Yelp.

Disco Time

ME: (Tries to work)


ME: Mmm-hmmm.

MY BRAIN: Get down, boogie oogie oogie….

ME: Nice.

MY BRAIN: …oogie oogie oogie…

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: … oogie oogie oogie…

ME: ?

MY BRAIN: … oogie OOGIE oogie…

ME: …

MY BRAIN: … oogie OOGIE OOGIE oogie…

ME: Grrr…

MY BRAIN: … oogie oogie oogie oogie oogie oogie oogie…



ME: Thank you. (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: Oogie.

Ghosts Lie Like Bastards

ME: (Tries to work)

MY BRAIN: I have an idea for a brilliant new business. We’ll make millions.

ME: Oh really.

MY BRAIN: Yes, and we can FRANCHISE it, too. Are you ready?

ME: Mmmhmm.


ME: … what?

MY BRAIN: Here’s the scenario. You’re dead and you’re hanging out in the afterlife minding your own. Then suddenly you think about that Twitter friend you have, and maybe you want to appear to them in a dream and let them know maybe they need to have their brake lines checked.

ME: oh-kay.

MY BRAIN: So you manifest, right, and your friend completely flips out because they’ve never met you and they have no idea who you are or why you’re warning them about brake lines. You’re just this random person.

ME: Random ghost.

MY BRAIN: Right, random ghost. But you have a NAME TAG. And it says “Hi, I’m your Twitter friend @” – whatever, and then they’re okay, and you can warn them about the brake lines. Think of how many people you’ve never met in person. How will you contact them beyond the veil if they don’t know what you look like?

ME: You could just tell them.

MY BRAIN: You won’t have any credibility. Ghosts lie. They lie LIKE BASTARDS.

ME: How is a name tag more credible?

MY BRAIN: First of all, it shows preparation. You actually went out of your way to meet this person. Second, we’ll integrate a contextual API. First thing you when you do when you die, see, you download all your GMail contacts —

ME: Okay, time out. How do you download all your GMail contacts when you’re dead?

MY BRAIN: We’ll figure it out.

ME: This is a pretty big hurdle if you want to get some VC into this.

MY BRAIN: Which is a better bet for a venture capitalist: that one day we’ll figure out how to download GMail contacts when we’re dead, or that what this country needs is another four or five speciality cupcake retail chains?

ME: Um…

MY BRAIN: Any time, sparky.

ME: Okay, you got me. Carry on.

MY BRAIN: You download all your GMail contacts into our API, “Polterguest.” Then whenever you decide to cast your soul back into the world from whence man knows not, you enter in the name of the person you’re going to visit, and you get a formatted tag with all relevant contextual information to assure the manifestee that you’re not just some random phantom. Suddenly you’re a credible ghost with the confidence to pitch it strong when it comes to the warnings about the brake lines or the earthquake or the undercooked fish.

ME: I’m sure that’ll be a relief to everybody.

MY BRAIN: Learn more about our service at Relevant Renevant . And hey, why not brag a little about the eldritch energy you have unleashed upon the world? Check in on ShadeSquare!

ME: …

MY BRAIN: Tip #1: Don’t eat the sashimi.