Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #378


Deep in an underground research bunker, because above-ground bunkers are just not as exciting, a conversation is taking place…

Historian #1, the guy with the most seniority: “This is an amazing artifact. Where on earth did you manage to find this?”

Historian #2, with no seniority at all because she was fresh out of college and still smelled like a sorority: “Oh. Well, it really wasn’t all that hard. I simply sat down at my desk and there it was. Does this mean I get a promotion?”

Historian #1, sighing: “No. You actually have to accomplish something of worth before there are rewards. Why do the Millennials not get that?”

Historian #2, pouting: “But that’s not fair. I was raised by delusional parents who taught me that if you just show up to a competition, you will get a trophy. This is discrimination and I plan to sue.”

Historian #1, clenching: “Then sue your parents, because they have jacked you up with unrealistic values that have nothing to do with how the world actually works. If something is simply handed to you without any action on your part to deserve it, then you haven’t actually accomplished anything.”

Historian #2, using an app on her phone to hire a lawyer because Millennials think that clicking on a link will solve all problems: “Don’t care. Still suing.”

Historian #3, casually sauntering through the office door, seniority-status unknown but apparently fairly secure if he can show up at work whenever he pleases: “There’s a whiff of antagonism in the air. Has there once again been an issue with who took the last donut in the break room?”

Historian #2: “My personal rights are being violated and I’m seeking validation on social media.”

Historian #3: “How nice for you. Don’t really care.”

Historian #2: “You should care. I could sue you for sexual discrimination. I have an app for that.”

Historian #3: “How has anything I have done in the last twenty seconds amounted to a violation of any kind? Where did you go to school? Let me guess. Wherever it was, you had to memorize a lot of Bible quotes and everybody was given a trophy for agreeing to hate people who didn’t base their lives on Bible quotes.”

Historian #2: “He who is without sin-”

Historian #3: “Oh, shut up. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Historian #1: “Gerard, despite Nevaeh’s idolatry, she has somehow managed to find an archaeological artifact of possibly profound significance.”

Historian #3, apparently also known as Gerard, even though it sounds suspiciously like something that is not his real name: “Are you serious? How? She never does anything except bellow about Jesus writing the American Constitution.”

Historian #2, apparently also known as Nevaeh, which is “Heaven” spelled backwards, an annoyingly-trendy naming choice for uber-conservative parents who apparently don’t realize that listening to anything backwards is considered a sure sign of the Devil by their preferred political party: “Yeah, I found something really important. So you can suck it and I can sue you and I’m gonna get a trophy.”

Historian #1, sighing: “I think we might be losing sight of the real mission this morning. We need to confirm the authenticity of Nevaeh’s lackadaisical discovery. If this is photo is truly what it seems to be, then it’s a tremendous development that will get our department some recognition, and we might even start getting our budget approved on a yearly basis instead of monthly. We’ll have a more secure future than public-school teachers!”

Gerard, formerly known as Historian #3: “Well, since you put it that way, Horace, I think I better take a look at that photo. A steady income stream is what all of us who weren’t born into wealth dream about on a nightly basis. Exactly what do you think the backward-Heaven child has found?”

Historian #1, apparently known as Horace and thereby completing our narrative transition from vague character designations to more-specific identities: “Well, I don’t want to color your judgement, so I’ll just let you decide for yourself.” He hands the photo to Gerard, after wiping off some gospel-dust that Nevaeh had spritzed on the photo, as she did with everything that she touched. (She buys it in bulk at Sam’s Club.) “What do you see in this image?”

Gerard, pausing briefly to sneeze, comes to a quick conclusion: “It looks like the prototype for the first blow-up doll, ever.”

Nevaeh: “I have a blow-up doll of Jesus!”

Gerard: “Of course you do.”

Horace: “That wasn’t quite where I expected you to go.”

Gerard: “What? I know a blow-up doll when I see one.”

Horace: “I’m aware of that. You mentioned it on your job application. But this image is actually something beyond that.”

Gerard: “Pray tell.”

Nevaeh, spontaneously grasping Gerard’s hand in a paroxysm of misguided insight: “Prayer answers all things!”

Gerard, snatching his hand back: “Are you even aware of most of the words in this conversation? Because I think you’re only getting the Reader’s Digest version, otherwise known as The Cherry-Picking Edition. You have to read the entire Bible before you start passing judgment or voting in elections or grabbing somebody’s hand.”

Horace: “Gerard, just let it go. She’s an intern. She hasn’t made the transition from starry-eyed student with a narrowly-focused syllabus to someone who understands that, in the real world, you’re going to run into people who don’t think the same way that you do.”

Gerard: “That’s rather impressive, Horace. I think I’m finally starting to respect your point of view.”

Horace: “Which is why I think you’ll agree that this photo is documentation of the first transgender person who ever existed.”

Gerard, pausing to let all of this process, then: “And my respect for you just hit the toilet with a fairly significant splash.”

Nevaeh: “My pastor says that men who want to use the ladies’ room are just predators who-”

Gerard, leaning down as close to Nevaeh’s face as possible: “You are no longer relevant in this discussion. You can base your life on fear and ignorance all you want, and that’s your priority, but once you let that ignorance motivate you to take away the rights of other human beings without taking the time to understand them, you are the problem, not them.”

Horace: “Now really, Horace, you’re going a bit far.”

Gerard: “And as for you, you twitlick-”

Horace: “Uh oh.”

Gerard: “-transgender people have been around since dirt. It’s nothing new, it’s not a fad, it’s not a disease, it’s not a choice. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be used as a weapon by a political party that capitalizes on fear and ignorance in order to win elections.”

Historian #4, wandering back from the breakroom: “What’s going on in here? Why does everybody look really constipated? Wait, is there an issue with the cream filling in the donuts? Because I had three of them.”

Nevaeh: “I’m filing a lawsuit on my smartphone because I can’t grasp the concept that my right to free speech means that I have to take ownership of what I say.”

Horace: “I’m just trying to accommodate both sides of the argument without taking a real stand, which means that I probably won’t vote in the next election cycle and then I’ll be disappointed in the results.”

Gerard: “And I’m trying to figure out when this country went from the land of the free to the home of the bigoted.”

Historian #4: “Got it. So, business as usual in American politics. I’m just gonna head back to the breakroom and wait for the next shipment of donuts.”


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