Living well

Mental Health
In every other respect, Morton was living very well indeed. Still, the frequent hallucinations he experienced, in which inanimate objects would glare at him and call him cruel names, seemed to spoil the rest of it.


Getting away with it

Mental Health
It's true that, in general, there's nothing positive about crapping one's pants. And Jeremy did experience the usual range of reactions in the seconds immediately before and after the bursting of his bowels' dam, scurrying, as he did, bowleggedly down the hall to the bathroom just barely too late. He really did feel momentarily consumed with disgust at the sensation, then paranoia that someone had seen or would be able to tell later, then the mental flailing that accompanied trying to figure out just what he was supposed to do with a decidedly brown-stained pair of pants and no change of clothes at hand.
 However, there was a sort of grim satisfaction in dealing with the harsh realities of being in a public bathroom stall with crapped-in pants and no change of clothes or means of cleaning the current ones without leaving the stall in an unfortunate state of nudity. Jeremy would survive, and possibly even go undetected for long enough to make it home. He would blot at his pants with sparse institutional toilet paper, track down an empty garbage bag for his underwear, and walk with his backpack hanging low to cover the seat of his pants. He would rise above this momentary lapse in fecal composure and live to see another, brighter, crapless day.


Some kind of life

Mental Health
Marianne found herself in the weird no-man's-land of partial consciousness, but as most who find their way there, she was distracted from realizing this fact by the kind of thoughts which are thickly atmospheric in semi-conscious mental climates. Her main source of angst, for a very long subjective length of time, was that she had just remembered that on the check she had written to the electricity company, she had totally forgotten to capitalize the '2' in 2014.


The very best I had to offer

Mental Health
Now, what I see when I look at you, sir, is a fine modern gentleman of discerning tastes. Yes, believe me, I can tell after all these years in the business, even though you hide it modestly and well, sir, if I may say so. No, I can certainly tell! Rest assured that I will be showing you, in positively lurid detail, the very finest oversized grey sweatpants we have to offer. Good sir, I am your humble servant and guide on an adventure to the heart of the very meaning of comfort. Please, follow me!


It's not confidential

Mental Health
The sharply-dressed government agent had a birdlike quality to his movements as he glanced around the room and removed a thick manila envelope from his briefcase. He pushed it forward across the table, and his lunch date could see that the 'CONFIDENTIAL' stamp in red ink had a penciled-in 'not' in front of it.
The agent looked sheepish and said, "It would be nice if someone would read all my hard work for once. Anyone. My bosses at the agency don't even pretend to look at it anymore. I mean, they put it through the shredder while I'm still in the room."
The other didn't know quite what do besides order another drink. The agent went on, "There's some top-notch, state secret kind of stuff in there. I try to make the prose lively without going too Tom Clancy on it...what more can I do? I just need someone to tell me if it's good or bad. Just so I know."


You're in luck!

Mental Health
All your current problems will soon be solved by much bigger problems.
Doesn't that make you happy? 


Responding to accusations

Mental Health
The villagers appeared on his front porch carrying torches and pitchforks. Completely oblivious to the town meeting of earlier that afternoon, Milton came running out with his own pitchfork and an unlit torch, shouting, "Alright, woo-hoo! Who are we mobbing tonight, guys?"


Help me help me

Mental Health
"See, the deal I'm proposing is beneficial to both parties. That's what's so great about it. My side gets to borrow this vehicle indefinitely for some very urgent business, and your side gets to keep however many teeth it currently has."


Mixed metaphors

I fully expect this to enter common usage. It fills a need in my language.

Mental Health
From the room over, Jonathan heard the doctor say, "Not only have I never seen one of those before, but I would never have finished med school if I knew they existed."
It was always nice to realize just how much worse things could be. 


It's a Narcissistic Life

Mental Health
Like a college of 16th century cardinals contemplating a heliocentric model of the solar system, the utterly self-absorbed set of acquaintances faced consternation and confusion that morning when a cosmic mix-up switched their consciousnesses with each others'  and they were forced to observe themselves as secondary characters in existence.


Having the tough talks

Mental Health
"Look, this is probably not the best time to bring this up, what with us paying a mortgage from a shared bank account and raising six children together and all, but, well..."
 —"Just say it." 
 "I just wonder sometimes, you know, whether we should at least cut back, is all. On the whole 'luring the homeless out behind the shed and turning them into fertilizer for your award-winning garden' thing."
 —"For the kids, you mean."
"I was thinking more in terms of reducing our chances of getting caught, but sure, yeah, do it for the kids. Whatever."
—"I guess...but hey. Remember our first time?"
"You really fought me for that bum's torso. I mean, you must have just wanted it more."
—"That's when I fell in love with you. And watching you clean up the aftermath is when I realized: this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life dismembering bums with."
"You know what? Forget getting caught."
—"Mmmh. Forget the kids."
"I love you so much." 



The best of everything

Mental Health
For the sort of person who's accustomed to having the best of everything, nothing is worse than discovering there's only one kind of something, that there's no way to have a better one than everyone else. As a favor to this subset of consumers, enterprising perpetual immigrant Stanislaw Buckminster began to market and distribute premium air, with an optimized balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, and encouraged his customers to circulate only the best of breathing air in their mansions.


Creation myths and oral folklore

Mental Health
There is a certain tribe of indigenous hunter-gatherers who, having only very recently welcomed an ethnographic anthropologist into their midst, present an unusual cosmology when compared to pretty much every other tribe of indigenous hunter-gatherers ever pestered by ethnographers, anthropologists, or even the occasional curious amateur.
This cosmology is best illustrated by their answer to the anthropologist's fumbling questions about whether they had any, like, stories or legends about where the world and people came from.
 When approached with this line of questioning, every member of the tribe, from the most wizened, withered elder to the toddlers still using baby-talk, replied in the same way. With narrowed eyes and sidelong glances, they all asked,
"Who wants to know?" or "Why do you ask?"
And on a completely unrelated note:


Let's get real

Mental Health
There are terms for people who feel like different people who were born in the wrong body, or the wrong situation, or whatever. Identities, mistaken and then recognized and transitioned. Vic is happy for them. But in hundreds of doctors' offices and psychology manuals and support groups, Vic still hasn't found anyone who will accept that he is, deep down in his scaly soul, a dinosaur.


The difference between us

Mental Health
Fed up with being quantified and objectively evaluated at every turn, Milton burst into the room where the Evaluators met. He was quietly seething. He shut the door behind him softly and then returned to face the shocked room upon which he had intruded.
"I demand," he said, "a subjective evaluation. Based on my intangible qualities."
They conferred very briefly, their murmurs sounding like the beating of many moths' wings around a bright lightbulb. Their leader then stood forth and said:
"We have reached a consensus. You are subjectively obnoxious and we do not like you at all. Now please go away."


Urgent needs

Mental Health
The hill had felt an unbearable itch on its back for several centuries, and no amount of sheep grazing or occasional hikers and campers could make it go away. The maddening sensation finally came to an end when a backhoe mercifully treaded its way to the top of the hill and began to really dig away.



Mental Health
As you sleep and dream, you witness the universe shifting variables, altering rules, juxtaposing its parts in a sort of perpetual ontological shuffle button. When you wake up and find the world as you left it, it is only because the universe still hasn't found another shuffled state that fits its criteria. But given enough time, who knows? You may fall asleep in one existence and wake up in quite a different one. 
That's what I'll tell my kids, anyway.


Out of sorts

Mental Health
The rogue astrophysicist kicked at the buckled door of his craft until it finally came crashing open, his momentum sending him sprawling out onto the grass in the process. He had made an indelicate landing on a delicately-manicured green courtyard somewhere and some time he didn't recognize, and the commotion had quickly begun to draw a crowd. 
When none of them spoke, he felt obligated to make some sort of statement, however lame and incomprehensible it might be to them.
"Sorry about the grass," he said, and then thought he might try to explain why the accident had occurred. "The problem with infinity is, it just keeps on getting bigger, and in the most unpredictable of ways." 
And now for something completely different: 


You are so unique

Mental Health
Miles Rifter had the habit, essentially unique among sentient organisms in the universe, of temporarily forgetting where he was and, instead of looking around to find out, rubbing one index finger against whatever surface was nearest by and tasting it, thereby apparently hoping to reorient himself.
Miles was frequently lost, but had an astoundingly strong immune system. 


It's nearly accurate

Mental Health
"Well, your honor, did I commit perjury, really? Is it possible to commit perjury by phrasing everything as a question?
"...Can I go now?" 


You're invited!

Mental Health
The ribbons and streamers, the balloons and the latent reserves of confetti, everything was in place. The birthday boy was blindfolded and being led down the creaky basement steps, breathless with excitement. His biggest surprise would come when the waiting axe fell towards his outstretched neck and the party really began.


Party as though it is sometime in the past

Mental Health
Day forty-six. How long can this party last? 
I barely remember a time when I wasn't trapped here. Luckily, I believe I have managed to avoid being seen for what I really am. What I really was. If anyone someday finds the napkins upon which I write this journal, perhaps long after I have succumbed, do not judge me too harshly. I entered the party as a scientist, true, but the music...the light snacks...the disinterested, shouted conversation, they have all infiltrated my mind. All I can hope for now is to chronicle my descent into the partying abyss.


A certain set of skills

Mental Health
"There are a number of things I don't know," he said into the telephone, his voice dripping with menace just as his sandwich had dripped with mustard and mayonnaise. "And a number of things I don't have, including my sandwich. But what I do have is a general range of competencies, and I will probably be able to locate you. And when I do, I will mess you up good and proper, and I will get my sandwich back."