Editor’s Note: This letter is satire and part of a larger story. It will run periodically at the end of the letters section.
TO THE EDITOR:
Right after college I landed a good, cushy job set up for me in Charlotte.
But I had gotten it during the first semester of my senior year. I had the whole next semester to potentially learn things, which seemed to not be worth the thousands of dollars I was paying.
Still, just out of habit, I went to my introductory class on philosophy.
The professor mentioned “hedonism.” I had heard my Mom call some of my favorite TV shows and video games “hedonistic.”
So, I raised my hand and said, “What’s hedonism?” He was pretty peeved off and went on to say we’d cover it later — blah, blah, blah, I worked my whole life to teach mutts like you and my wife left me and my daughter hates me — ending with: “And, if you really must know right now, it’s used colloquially to mean the pursuit of pleasure as the highest aim in life.” He then ended class early and was crying.
I went up to that weeping fellow and asked: “So, I can just do things for pleasure?”
He looked me dead in the eye and said: “I’ve spent my whole life trying to prove hedonism wrong and what am I? An old, fat man in a dusty hall wondering at what point these lectures became sophistry for myself. Your eyes shine like mirrors for senescence.”
The old, fat man gripped his chest and fell. On the ground, he mumbled, “Someone, please, prove it was all worth it!” His eyes were looking right up at mine and I pointed to my own chest and whispered, “Who? Me?” He kept pointing at me and I kept pointing to my chest and going, “Wait. Who? Me? You want me to do something?”
He died right as the next class was coming in. They all said I should have called an ambulance a bit sooner, but I tried to explain that we were figuring out this hedonism and I’ve never found pleasure in a phone call. With that in mind I realized that telemarketing job in Charlotte was no good either.
So, I ended up ditching the job in Charlotte to follow my dreams to be a hedonist. It didn’t last quite so long as I hoped it would.
See, this was back when they had that Krispy Kreme on Franklin. Running out of that class, I went to the Krispy Kreme, jumped over the counter and started ramming those hot donuts in my mouth while yelling “HEDONISM!”
Supposedly I ate for 12 hours. Go figure! I wouldn’t know though because I got in the zone around hour two and actually transcended human consciousness. I met an alien named Gerald who was about to explain to me the true meaning of life (hedonism was not it) and then ... blackness.
In the end, I found myself laying facedown in the gutter—the faint taste of vomit in my mouth—and, ultimately, happy I had followed my dreams.
Though there was a chill that night in the gutter, one that consumed me and, I now doubt, will ever leave.
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