Skip to main content

John's Fairy Google Mother: A Short Story.

Dining lightJohn did not understand the difference between sympathy and empathy, much to the frustration of his wife, Jane.

“Don’t patronize me, John,” she spat at him, after a particularly bad day at the the office. “I don’t need your sympathy.”

“At least, I’m not trying to solve the problem” he protested. “I've learned that much, at least.”

Jane sighed and kissed him on the forehead. “Yes, you've learned that much, at least.” As she headed to the bedroom, she spoke over her shoulder, “Who is going to order the food?”

John had also learned to understand when a question was, in fact, a command. “I will. What do you want?”

“I don’t know. Surprise me. Something new.” The door slammed with exclamation point authority.

John had also learned to recognize when a test had been set for him that he had to pass. He moved quickly to the dining room table and his laptop.

He typed, “New res...” and Google suggested, “New ways to please your spouse.”

He deleted the letters and tried again, typing, “Fast deliv...” and Google suggested, “Fast and easy ways to a happier marriage.”

Perplexed, John randomly ran his fingers over the keyboard. Google decided to show the results for “What every man needs to know to keep his partner happy.”

Clearly, John realized, Google’s predictive algorithms had evolved to the next level.

He reflected for a moment and then typed, “Surprise me. Something new.”

Google displayed only one link. It was titled, “Sympathy vs. Empathy.” The only ad on the page was for a new Thai-Ukrainian fusion restaurant that delivered and had a special on its "Dinner for Two." John called the restaurant, ordered a "Dinner for Two," and then returned to his laptop and followed the link.

After reading the article, John changed his habits immediately. From that day on, he saw an immediate improvement in his relationship with Jane. She soon mirrored his new behavior and John discovered it made a big difference to his own well-being, as well. From then on, everything in life seemed a little easier.

The curried perogies were also very good.

Popular posts from this blog

The Geography of Living

The geography of living is bordered by memory.

Timothy was born in the bedroom, lived in the sitting room, vacationed in the kitchen, and died in the bathroom.

These are his dimensions.

In the bedroom, he was conceived. He was reconceived, when he first loved there and every time thereafter.

The kitchen was his adventure, nourishing possibility with each meal. He foraged and found, cleaned and cut, measured and mixed, cooked and assembled and, at last, ate.

The sitting room was his occupation. He paced. He measured. He counted.

The bathroom was the beginning and the ending of his days. He abluted and expurgated the space between time.

Each dimension of living had its place. Each rhythm jointed smoothy. They cornered into the walls, leaving rooms and the doors between them.

The windows he loved most of all. By the windows, within each room’s unique dimensions and rhythms, he imagined he saw into, through, and past time.

By the living room’s window, he imagined that he lived w…

Two very long paragraphs: a very short story

Stephen felt a stumble of movement and looked up from his book.

A girl. Cute. Young woman. For the past twenty years, during my service on the boards of directors or advisory boards of most of the major global conservation organizations and in my research in this field, there has been...

Stephen sat at the very back of the bus. The bus pulled away from the station, turned right onto Laurier, and then turned sharply left onto Nicholas. The girl sat near him, at the other window, three seats away.

Wearing strange pants. Jogging? Fuzzy pink. She’s cute. Not fuzzy. Like little balls. She’s taking her coat off. Sneakers. Yellow socks. Greasy hair in face. In fact, to push for one means to push for the other, and to let the one go means that you let a lot of the other go. What?

He concentrated.

And in my research in this field, there has been. Now her sweater too? Tank top.

He concentrated.

And in my research in this field, there has been...

Wordless concern moved through Stephen's…

Lifeboat: a very short story

To starboard, there was only sea: calm and reflective. To port, more of the same.

“How did we get here?” I asked.

“Best not to think about it, mate,” came the cheerful reply.

At the bow of the boat, three men were playing cards, gambling on a game of War. The man who had cheerily replied to my question reached for a mound of poker chips at the center of their makeshift table. Another man collected the cards. Another sipped coffee.

Beyond them, I saw only more sea.

It was hard to think, but my mouth carried on instinctively. “But, wouldn’t it help, help to get us out of here, if we knew how we got here?”

“Don’t worry about it, mate,” replied the cheerful man. He placed a large bet. Each player was dealt a card face down. “Things will take care of themselves. Join the game. There’s a place for you at the table.”

I looked aft instead.

Over the stern of the boat, the sea lay flat, still, and almost endless. At the horizon, directly behind us, dark clouds marked the space between sea a…