The Price of Vanity

After watching the movie “Interstellar” about the differences in time  when astronauts spend a few hours on a planet with dense gravity, but to someone in orbit, that same amount of time translates into over a decade, I got the idea of how these differences in time might be put to trivial uses.

Specifically, if empty-headed celebrities were so obsessed about staying young through Botox and plastic surgery, what would a wealthy celebrity think of time dilation as a technique for staying young much longer?

Of course, if you tay young while your audience ages, that creates an entirely different situation for a celebrity. Hence the title of my short story poking fun at the idea of what would happen if a celebrity met time dilation. The result is a short story called “The Price of Vanity.”

 

The Price of Vanity

by Wallace Wang

“You don’t have a choice.”

Blake Jacobs stopped, ran his fingers over the stubble of growth on his chin, felt the deep lines of wrinkles creasing his cheeks from years, no, make that centuries, of working the Time Routes, and stared into the baby blue eyes of the freshly scrubbed, pink-cheeked punk blocking the path to his own starship. A quick glance at this young man’s chest, shoulders, and arms showed that he wore no official badge of authority over Blake other than his neatly pressed and tailored business suit that fitted him about as well as hand me downs thrown over a scarecrow in a corn field.

Blake grunted his disapproval and stepped around this young man, only to find his way blocked once again.

The young man smiled the type of grin you have when you’re holding 21 at a blackjack table. “I said, you don’t have a choice.”

Blake dropped his faded flight bag on the pitted concrete floor of the space port. How long had he been lugging this battered bag on his Time Route flights? Ten, twenty years, tops, although to the people on this planet, it must look more like a 300-year old antique by now.

The young man, who couldn’t have been many months past the legal drinking age, reached into his jacket and flipped out a business card that he handed to Blake. JON STARLIGHT, PUBLICIST TO THE STARS, the card read.

Blake refused to take the business card until Jon blinked uncomfortably and shoved it back in his jacket.

“I’m sure even a man of your status has heard the name Heidi Hakima?” Jon spat out the word “status” as the sarcastic insult that it was.

Blake grunted. Names meant little to him. The only names he bothered to memorize any more were the names of the next star systems he would visit. His whole life was devoted to piloting starships through wormholes connecting galaxies together. It was steady work and the pay was great precisely because few people wanted to deal with the drawbacks that involved watching names of people you once knew slowly fade into oblivion.

Blake grimaced and pretended to think hard. “Heidi Hakima?” he blurted out. “Isn’t she that air-headed bimbo with no talent and an equal amount of brains to match?”

Jon puffed out his chest indignantly. “Heidi Hakima is the number one reality TV celebrity in the solar system. She has the top-rated television show with over 40 billion social media followers, a multi-billion dollar fashion and fragrance product line, and numerous movie appearances to her name, not to mention a hit single that topped the pop music charts for a week.” Jon let his eyes conspicuously study the filthy overalls that Blake wore. “And she can probably buy and sell you, your starship, and everything your mother ever bought for you a million times over.”

Blake grunted. “Like I said. That air-headed bimbo who has no talent.” He tried to move around Jon but the stubborn bastard stood in his way again.

“We need your starship,” Jon said.

Now it was Blake’s turn to blink uncomfortably. “I’m sorry. For a minute there I thought you said that you needed my starship.”

Jon grinned and flashed teeth that shined an unnatural shade of white. “You’re a Time Route pilot, right?”

Blake nodded. He didn’t like the fact that Jon seemed to already know something about him.

Jon clapped both hands on Blake’s shoulders as if they were best buddies meeting at a high school reunion. “Then that’s why you don’t have a choice!”

Blake stared in confusion. “Okay. So tell me what that means?”

Jon grinned. “That means you have the privilege to be the exclusive pilot for Heidi Hakima’s next publicity stunt!”

Blake stared at Jon long and hard, then tried to walk around him but Jon inexplicably popped up to block his path again.

“It pays well,” Jon said. “Very well.”

Blake shook his head. “I don’t care if it pays off the international debt of South America. I’ve got a job to do.” Blake tried to walk around Jon and found Jon standing in front of him once more.

“You don’t understand,” Jon said. “You have the only Time Route starship on the planet.”

Blake shrugged. “There’s another one coming in ten years.”

“And Heidi Hakima will be ten years older when that happens. That’s completely unacceptable for someone of Heidi’s stature as the most popular socialite in the solar system.” Jon draped a conspiring arm around Blake’s shoulders as if to share a secret. “Celebrities don’t like aging. It makes them look old.”

“Everyone ages,” Blake said. “And everyone looks old.”

“But not Time Route pilots,” Jon corrected. “They stay young forever. Or at least as close to forever as possible. Tell me, how old are you?”

Blake had to stop and think. For some reason, he found this mental calculation harder than trying to calculate the change in fuel consumption rates when orbiting the gravitational pull of a black hole. “Forty, maybe forty-five years old?”

Jon shook his head with a silly grin. “Three hundred and twenty-nine years, eight months, seven weeks, and three days old,” he said. “Give or take a day or two.” When Blake glared at him, Jon quickly explained, “I looked up your birth certificate in the Hall of Records.”

“Well,” Blake said. “That’s the drawback of being a Time Route pilot. When we go through those wormholes, we’re aging at a different rate than everyone back home.”

“Exactly!” Jon shrieked as if Blake had just won the grand prize on a TV game show.

Blake waited for Jon to say something else, but he just stood there smiling like a mute idiot.

“That’s why most people don’t want to be Time Route pilots,” Blake added. “Who wants to go out for a week on a job and come back to find that everyone you knew at home is now twenty years older than you are? You lose a lot of friends that way.”

“I understand perfectly,” Jon said again with a stupid grin.

Blake waited for further explanation, but Jon just kept grinning that Blake started to fantasize how many of those pearly white teeth would pop out if he punched him in the mouth.

Finally, Jon spoke. “I work in show business. It’s critical, no, make that vital, that my clients look as young and attractive as possible for as long as possible, and you can’t do that when your skin starts wrinkling and draining your youth away like a fatal disease. Tell me, how sexy is a sixty-year old woman?”

“Well, there’s always some people who…”

“Not sexy at all,” Jon interrupted. “Twenty is perfect. Eighteen is better. Sixteen is just on the cusp of ripening into full sweetness while still under the age of legality.”

“You can’t stay young forever,” Blake said.

“Oh yes you can. And you are proof that it is not only possible but preferable.” Jon whipped out two pictures from his jacket and shoved them in Blake’s face.

The first picture showed a young blonde girl, obviously still a teenager, posing and smiling for the camera. The second picture showed the same young blonde in the same seductive pose, but clearly bigger, heavier, and more importantly, older.

Just as quickly, Jon yanked the pictures out of Blake’s hands and shoved them back into his jacket again. “See the difference? That only represents a five year change, but you can already tell that Heidi’s lost some of that innocent glow in her eyes and that skinny body of a raw teenager.”

“Why doesn’t she do what other celebrities do?” Blake asked. “Plastic surgery.”

Jon smiled his stupid grin and shook his head so vigorously that Blake hoped that it would fall off. “Heidi is not just any celebrity. Heidi is unique. She’s a trend setter, not a follower. Besides,” Jon added. “Plastic surgery still doesn’t look natural over time. Get too much plastic surgery and most people wind up looking like deformed monsters that scare little children on Halloween. Heidi doesn’t want to look artificially young. She needs to look naturally young and there’s no better way to do that than to stay young forever.”

“Hence the Time Route.”

Jon nodded. “Hence your lack of choice.”

“No deal.” Blake tried to move away but Jon popped up again to block his way.

“Like I said before,” Jon warned. “You don’t have a choice.”

Blake pointed in the direction of his starship. “I have plenty of choices. Nobody tells me what to do.”

Jon rubbed the fingertips of one hand together with his thumb. “Name it. Heidi’s willing to pay any price.”

Blake rubbed his fingertips together in imitation and slowly dropped all but the middle one to shove in Jon’s face. “Maybe you don’t hear very well, Mr. Starlight. I said no deal. Besides, I’m already booked on a route. You can catch me when I return and maybe by then I’ll have changed my mind.”

“That will be twenty years from now,” Jon said. “Our time. For you, it will just feel like a week.” When Blake glared at him, Jon shrugged. “I looked up your schedule. I know a little about time dilation too.”

“Well if you know so much about time dilation, you can tell Miss Hakima that she can age gracefully like everyone else or she can just go to…”

“Hell-o!” Jon turned and waved at a mob of people that suddenly flooded into the space port. At the tip of the human phalanx crowded the paparazzi photographers, falling all over themselves to snap a continuous stream of images they could hopefully sell to one of the celebrity gossip tabloids.

This rolling, undulating mass of beings reminded Blake of a swarm of mosquitoes, shapeless and formless, but looking quite solid none the less. Occasionally when the paparazzi would part ever so slightly, Blake caught a glimpse of a cheery, smiling, overly made up face of none other than Heidi Hakima.

Protecting her from the swarming mass of paparazzi were a ring of bodyguards who grimly held rank and shoved their way forward like a wall of football blockers guiding their punt return specialist downfield.

Further behind came the screaming fans who fell over themselves in a desperate attempt to touch just a fragment of Heidi’s clothes. Failing that golden prize, they satisfied themselves with reaching their outstretched hands as close to her as possible before one of her bodyguards gruffly shoved them back to make room for the next irrational fan to take his or her place.

Jon turned with a triumphant smile. “May I present Heidi Hakima.”

The phalanx of bodyguards parted like the Red Sea for Moses as the screaming fans mingled with the paparazzi to get the best view of Heidi and catch every word of wisdom that fell from her pouty red lips.

“I’m so excited just to be me,” Heidi squealed. The fans roared their approval while camera flashes burst around her like an out of control fireworks display.

“Get some shots of Heidi in the cockpit,” Jon said, directing the crowd to the open cargo door of Blake’s starship.

“Nobody gets on my starship without my permission!” Blake roared. Two beefy bodyguards quickly blocked Blake from view of the crowd and glared at him to shut his mouth or else.

As the crowd surged into the starship, Jon turned back to Blake. “As I was saying about not having a choice.” Jon reached inside his jacket and pulled out a freshly printed letter on official Star Route stationary.

Blake’s eyes scanned the embossed letterhead, the straightforward order commanding him to do what Jon Starlight asked for or risk having his pilot license revoked for eternity, and the commander’s signature scrawled at the bottom to the make the whole order valid and official.

“Heidi is always willing to pay the price for whatever she wants,” Jon explained. “And she always gets what she wants.” He gingerly plucked the letter out of Blake’s fingers and tucked it carefully back inside his jacket. “Like I said. You don’t have a choice.”

Inside the starship, everything was a mess. Actually, that wasn’t quite true. Everything that belonged to Blake was a mess because someone had tossed everything he owned into sloppy piles that had been dumped in the hallway.

“I had to move your junk out of the way,” Heidi explained as she tossed her perky head one way and then another while posing in the captain’s chair as cameras captured her every move. “It just cluttered the background of my pictures.”

Then Blake saw the broken balsa wood airplane that someone had stepped on and shoveled to the side.

“What’s this?”

Heidi barely took the time to glance in Blake’s direction as she lifted her chin and smiled for the cameras. “Oh, that piece of junk didn’t match the color of my dress so I pushed it aside.

“You broke it!”

“It’s just a stupid toy.”

“It’s not a stupid toy.” Blake tried to keep his voice steady and calm, but the air hissed through his teeth like a locomotive engine about to burst. “That was a toy from my childhood.”

“Just get another one.” Heidi flung a scarf around her neck and dangled the tip of her high heel off the painted nail of her big toe.

“It’s not the toy that’s important,” Blake hissed. “It’s the sentimental value. Let me tell you something about Time Route pilots.”

The throng of paparazzi photographers suddenly went quiet and still.

Blake rushed in front of Heidi as two burly bodyguards immediately pinned his arms behind his back and pulled him away.

“Time Route pilots don’t have a home, we don’t have a family, we don’t have any friends, and do you know why? Because we don’t belong anywhere. No matter where we go, everything changes since the last time we’ve been there. That’s why the only thing we do have are our memories, and those memories are stored in what little we own. You take those sentimental items out of our lives and it’s like cutting our lifeline to who we are and where we came from.”

Heidi rolled her eyes and twirled her fingertip against her temple to indicate a crazy man. The paparazzi tittered. Someone took a picture.

Jon Starlight immediately stepped in front of paparazzi as the two bodyguards hauled Blake away. “Be sure to get pictures of Heidi piloting the starship.”

Heidi put on a grim look and pretended to steer the starship. More camera flashes followed.

“Let’s see the Heidi Hop!” someone shouted.

Heidi made an exaggerated face as if she we’re tired of hearing this, but obediently stood up, balanced on one leg, and hopped on one foot while pursing her lips and tilting her head at an angle.

“Be-bop de-woop,” she giggled and thrust her bottom towards the crowd. The photographers went wild, especially when Heidi did her trademark Heidi Hop once more, put her hand out, and crushed a second balsa wood airplane resting on the control panel.

The words of Jon Starlight still rang in Blake’s ears. “All we want you to do is take a short hop into that wormhole of yours, circle around for a day, and come back. Do that without getting yourself killed and Heidi will pay you 500,000. That’s guaranteed money. If I’m not mistaken, that’s at least a year’s pay for a Time Route pilot like you.”

Blake wasn’t happy, but he couldn’t do anything about it with two of Heidi’s goon bodyguards protecting her at all times. In fact, there really wasn’t much of anything Blake could do once he set the starship on auto-pilot. A pilot’s whole job consisted of landing, taking off, and programming the computer to do everything else. And, he reminded himself, deal with the unexpected, which was something that computers still couldn’t do.

In Blake’s case, the unexpected was having to babysit Heidi and her two bodyguards back and forth through a wormhole while resisting the urge to open an airlock and kick all three of them out in the direction of the nearest black hole.

Despite drifting past galaxies that few humans had ever seen in history, Heidi was already bored.

She glanced at the gold and diamond watch that her fifth ex-husband had bought for her during their honeymoon that had been filmed for the finale of season 6 of her reality TV show.

“How much longer until we get back?” she whined in the tone of a little kid constantly asking her parents on a long car trip, “Are we there yet?”

Blake didn’t say anything so one of her bodyguard goons nudged him with his fist in a not so friendly manner. “Hey, the lady asked you a question. It’s a good idea if you answer it.”

Blake stared into the scarred faces of both bodyguards that looked like they’d taken a full load of shrapnel from some past war that solved nothing. He tapped a button to light up a computer screen. A swirling mass of different colors appeared that looked meaningless to anyone but an experienced Time Route pilot.

“We’re here,” Blake said, pointing to nowhere in particular. “But it will take some time before we can get home.” Another spot on the map caught his eye. Blake chanced a quick glance at both bodyguards, but none of them appeared to understand anything of what they were looking at.

“However,” Blake added suddenly. “We are closer to this planet than we are to home.” Just saying the word “home” sounded foreign to Blake’s lips, but nobody seemed to have noticed.

Heidi glanced at the other planet that Blake pointed at. “So what?”

“So?” Blake tried to imitate the phony enthusiasm that he remembered Jon Starlight’s voice had. “That means more people to see you!”

Heidi perked up. “Really?”

Blake nodded. “It’s a new colony. You could be the first celebrity to visit it. They’ll worship you.”

Heidi squealed with delight. “I’m a trend setter, not a follower,” she boasted.

Blake nodded. “That’s what I’ve heard.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Heidi nearly shrieked. “Let’s go!”

Blake held up a hand and put on the most serious expression on his face he could think of, which was when his beloved Green Bay Packers lost the Super Bowl to a last second field goal. “I have to warn you it will take time.”

“We’ve got plenty of time,” Heidi screamed. Then her voice dropped to a more dreamy tone. “An entirely new planet to worship me.”

Blake glanced at his wristwatch. “We’re supposed to be gone just for a day, but if I take you to this colony and back, that will take us a week.”

“A week, a day, whatever.” Heidi stabbed the computer map with her manicured fingernail. “I can’t let down my fans!”

“Of course not,” Blake said. “But first, we need to get approval to make our course change official.”

“I’m telling you let’s go,” Heidi screamed with joy. “How much more official can that be?”

“Well,” Blake said, “we need authorization and approval. Those things take time, you know. And money.”

Heidi jabbed the computer screen again so hard that Blake momentarily thought her finger would go right through it. “I’ll pay any price to get what I want. You tell me what we need to do and we’ll do it.”

Blake tapped a button to contact the Time Route office. “Okay, I’ll let you take it from here.”

Only later could Blake marvel at the fact that he had spent an entire week cooped up inside a starship with the vapid, pointless, and overbearing personality known throughout the galaxy as Heidi Hakima, and managed to suppress the urge to walk outside in space without a helmet. For someone used to time dilation, Blake had to admit that had been the longest week of his life, putting up with the spoiled behavior of someone who was only famous because she was already famous. It reminded Blake of one of those paradoxes in his science books about Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity.

“I can’t wait for my fans to see me come home,” Heidi squealed. Suddenly she got a worried look on her face. “How do I look?”

One bodyguard pulled out a camera and snapped a quick picture. The second bodyguard pulled out a picture they had taken a week ago. They held the two pictures side by side for Heidi to study.

“You still look the same, Miss Hakima.”

Heidi jumped up and down with joy and stood by the cargo door like a puppy anxious to be let outside before it has an accident. When Blake opened the cargo door, Heidi triumphantly stepped forward, bent one leg in a sexy pose, thrust both arms in the air, and shouted, “I’m back!”

Nobody cared. A few space port workers in greasy overalls briefly glanced in Heidi’s direction and continued on their way.

Heidi looked around in disappointment. “Where is everybody? Where’s Jon Starlight? Where are the paparazzi? Where are my fans? Hello, everyone. This is me!”

This time no space port workers bothered to pause and look in her direction.

Blake strolled by Heidi, touting his worn flight bag, and nonchalantly glanced at his wristwatch. “Right on schedule,” he said. Then he looked carefully at Heidi. “You look as young as you did the day we left.”

This seemed to soften Heidi up, but her lower lip stuck out in a pout when she saw the empty space port that greeted her. “Jon Starlight is going to hear from me about this!” She pulled out her phone and tried to make a call.

“We’re sorry,” said a computerized voice, “but this phone has been disconnected due to lack of payment.“

Blake pretended to stretch his arms. “I forgot to tell you. When you go on a Time Route, you have to make sure you leave behind enough money to pay all your bills. Why don’t you call from the Time Route office?”

Inside the Time Route office, Blake sat in a chair and propped his feet on a desk while Heidi made her call.

“I’m sorry,” said the voice of a young girl who Blake guessed was just an intern out of college, “but Mr. Starlight no longer works for the company. How may I help you?”

Heidi’s face wrinkled up in confusion, and Blake noticed that those wrinkles gave a hint to what she would look like when she would get older. “I’m Heidi Hakima,” Heidi shouted into the phone.

The girl on the other end paused for the longest time. Finally she blurted out, “Who?”

Heidi let out an exasperated sigh. “Only the most popular reality TV star in the universe. Hello?”

“Heidi Hakima?”

“Do you have a problem hearing or do I need to talk to your boss?”

Blake heard the young girl whispering something and then she said, “I’ll put you through to my supervisor right away.”

Heidi pointed to the phone and made a face. Blake shrugged his shoulders in sympathy.

A gruff man’s voice came on the line. “Hello, who am I speaking to?”

“This is Heidi Hakima. You know, the Heidi. The one with the hit reality TV show? Hello? Did everybody get hit by a case of the stupids while I was gone?”

The man was silent for a moment. “Heidi Hakima?”

Heidi let out another exasperated gasp. “Haven’t I been telling you my name for the past five minutes?”

The man went silent for a long time. “Jon Starlight no longer works for the company any more.”

“Yes, yes, I know,” Heidi said. “I think your stupid secretary told me that already.”

The man on the other end of the line sucked in his breath. “Ooo boy. I don’t know how to tell you this.”

The tone of the man’s voice made Heidi pause.

“Where are you?” the man asked.

“I just landed. I’m at the space port right now.”

“Oh.” The man cleared his throat. “We were expecting you years ago.”

Heidi’s face went white. “What are you talking about? I just left a week ago.”

“You see,” the man on the other end continued, “Jon Starlight is dead. He committed suicide after the police caught him embezzling money from all of his clients. Especially you.”

Heidi frowned. Blake hummed softly to himself and pretended not to be listening.

“What do you mean, especially me?”

“You were gone for twenty years, Heidi,” the man said. “The network had to cancel your reality TV show. Once people stopped seeing you on TV everyday, there was no reason for anyone to buy any of your products so your company went out of business.”

“What about the money?” Heidi’s voice could barely speak above a whisper.

“That’s where Mr. Starlight came in. Apparently he stole from all of his clients, but when you failed to return, he basically drained all your accounts and cashed in all your assets. I hate to be the one to tell you this, Heidi, but you’ve been bankrupt for the past ten years.”

Heidi dropped the phone. Blake turned around in his chair.

“Anything wrong?” he asked.

Heidi ran out of the office. Blake followed at a leisurely pace.

Heidi stood in front of a group of space port workers checking a starship. “Hey!” she shouted and waved her hands over her head. “It’s me!”

The workers just stared at her. Finally, the oldest worker frowned and walked up to her. “You look just like Heidi Hakima.”

“I am Heidi Hakima!”

The older man laughed. “That’s impossible. She’d be about forty, maybe fifty years old by now.”

Heidi balanced on one leg, bent the other one, and hopped on one foot while pursing her lips and tilting her head to one side. “Be-bop de-woop,” she desperately giggled, and thrust her bottom out. “That’s the Heidi Hop.”

The man nodded. “You’re good. You could probably get a job in Las Vegas as a Heidi Hakima impersonator.” Then he walked away.

Heidi turned to Blake. “What’s going on?”

Blake exaggerated a yawn and glanced at his wristwatch again. “Time dilation,” he said. “We’ve been gone a week but back here, time moved much faster. If my calculations are correct, one week through the wormhole is equivalent to twenty years here.” He glanced at Heidi. “You still look young though.”

Blake started to walk away, then stopped and turned around. He fished a contract out of his pocket and held it in front of her. “By the way, I think you still owe me 500,000 bucks.”

Heidi stared at the contract in disbelief. “I don’t have any money,” she whispered.

Blake shrugged. “In that case, you’ll just have to work off what you owe me. I’ve been looking to hire a janitor for the longest time because I need someone to clean out grease traps in the kitchen, hose down the walls in the trash compactor, and scrub toilets in the bathrooms. I’ll even pay a little above minimum wage.”

Heidi collapsed in a heap on a crate and buried her face in her hands. Blake sat down next to her. He thought that if you stripped out her entitlement mentality and cauterized her immature personality, you might find a decent person inside after all. In any case, he would have the prettiest janitor in the Milky Way. Provided, of course, that she would actually work for a living, but he would find that out in the next week, or twenty years, whichever came first.

END

The Confederate Flag Debate

During the American Civil War, the Confederacy tried to leave the Union. In the process, they fought the Union armies and killed thousands of Americans, which is more than ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban have killed combined. So that means instead of worrying about Muslim terrorists attacking the United States, we should really be worried about Southern white people attacking and killing innocent Americans instead.

First, we should invoke tough immigration laws since most Southern white people’s ancestors come from Europe, so let’s shut down our borders and deport all Southern white people out of this country and back to where they belong in Finland, Norway, France, Sweden, and England. Obviously it doesn’t matter how long they’ve lived here. They’re not real Americans so they need to go back to where they came from, even if they didn’t come from there.

Second, the Confederate flag represents an army that lost, so if southern state capitols feel the need to fly the Confederate flag, then the state capitols in all the original thirteen colonies should be flying the British flag to commemorate the British loss in the Revolutionary War.

Third, the Confederate flag represents states that supported slavery. So if Southern states want to relive the days of slavery, they’re more than welcome to work in sweat shops in New York and Los Angeles so they can relive the good old days when people worked just to survive one day longer.

Some people say that the Confederate flag represents pride for a region of the country that has the highest poverty levels, the lowest education levels, and a history of violent discrimination against blacks, so it’s easy to see why Southerners would be particularly proud of those accomplishments.

If the South truly wants to boast about their accomplishments, perhaps they need to show the rest of the country how to eliminate poverty, boost education, and treat others who are different to create a stable and thriving economy. If they could do that, then that could justify flying the Confederate flag.

Of course, they won’t do that because that takes effort, intelligence, and a willingness to change their current way of thinking, so in that regard, they’re no different than Northerners running Washington D.C.

You Owe Me a Job

If you have an e-mail address, you’ve probably received dozens of messages from Nigerian oil ministers or American soldiers in other countries who have miraculously stumbled across millions of dollars and need just you to help them transfer the funds to your bank account.

The people running those scams are amateurs. I have a plan to swindle far more people on a daily basis and still hold my head up high as a valued member of society. If you’re interested, you can be part of my new movement called You Owe Me a Job.

This is how it works. Come to me for four years and pay five figures a year in return for my wisdom that I’ll impart upon you, and that wisdom will be giving you lots of free time to party, get drunk, get laid, and have fun.

After four years of sitting in boring classes taught by teachers who have little real world experience making money from their own knowledge, I’ll print up a piece of paper with your name on it with the following letters printed in fancy Old English calligraphy, and this is what that headline of this piece of paper will say:

You Owe Me a Job

All you have to do is hand that piece of paper to any company where you want to work, and that company is supposed to be so impressed that you have a piece of paper with your name on it that they should instantly give you a high paying job based on the four years of knowledge you supposedly accumulated at my organization.

If you want to make even more money, you can come back to my organization for another two to four years and I’ll hand you a second or third piece of paper with your name on it that also has the headline in Old English calligraphy that reads:

You Owe Me a Job, Ph.D.

The more pieces of paper you have that say “You Owe Me a Job,” the more likely a company will have to hire you and grant you a huge salary. Of course, to get these pieces of paper, I suggest you take out more loans than you can possibly pay back within a lifetime, but what does it matter if in return you get an actual piece of paper that tells potential employers, “You Owe Me a Job.”

So the basic idea is that you pay a lot of money to party for four years and have fun, then attend classes learning trivial topics, and in the end you get a piece of paper that you can present to others stating “You Owe Me a Job.”

It’s that simple! And it works (except when it doesn’t, which is most of the time). Don’t bother starting your own business. Don’t worry about learning skills that could help you actually produce results for others. All you need to be successful in life is to have at least one piece of paper with your name on it that you can hand to others stating “You Owe Me a Job.”

By the way, did I mention my special alumni program where people I ripped off (I mean educated) turn around, get jobs and give even more money to my organization so they can feel good about the sports teams I’ll organize?

I’ll make money from broadcasting and licensing rights from my sports teams and in return, you get nothing but a warm fuzzy feeling that can last a lifetime, knowing that you support a sports team from an organization that could care less about your existence other than asking for money from time to time. And all you get in return is a pice of paper you can frame and show to others that says “You Owe Me a Job.”

Those are the most powerful and persuasive words on the face of the planet. Now isn’t that worth going into debt for life to have for yourself?

Keep the Federal Government Out of Our Lives

One of the more common themes you’ll find from conservatives is the idea that the Federal government has too much control. The right-wing wants the Federal government to butt out of state control over education, religion, and discrimination. That way the states can educate people the way they want (keep them ignorant) allow religion to freely flourish (as long as it’s not a religion they don’t like), and pass laws to allow them to discriminate against anyone they choose (especially gays).

So if states want the Federal government to butt out of their lives, how come these same states like the Federal government spending billions every year building weapons, maintaining military bases, and researching every more effective ways to kill people we don’t like?

Certainly if states don’t like the Federal government telling them they can’t discriminate against gays and lesbians, they should also be fighting against a Federally-controlled military-industrial complex too, right?

Imagine if the Federal government butted out of the military. States would be forced to organize and equip their own militias. Without Federal money, the individual states would never be able to afford expensive aircraft carriers, billion dollar stealth fighter jets designed to combat a threat that isn’t likely to happen, or waste money building nuclear missiles that can blow up the world a thousand times over.

Instead, states would be forced to keep their militias at home so American soldiers wouldn’t be sent overseas to invade countries in a pre-emptive strike that will turn out to be based on faulty intelligence, not to mention the immoral idea that attacking other countries is a valid defensive strategy.

Without Federal money, states would never have hundreds of military bases around the world with troops stationed there, wasting Federal money that could be better spent building our infrastructure at home like roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.

Perhaps the right wing has a point. If we got rid of all our Federally-funded programs that prop up the military and defense contractors while bankrupting the nation and impoverishing its own citizens, states and their population might really be better off.

So how come states aren’t arguing to reduce Federal spending on the military? After all, they do want the Federal government to butt out of their lives, right?

A Way to Balance the Budget

Every year, Congress complains that they can’t balance the budget while they spend taxpayer money on their own luxury trips around the world, hiring mistresses as private secretaries, and funnel government contracts to friends and relatives while complaining that serving the public is somehow a hardship.

Since the recent Pacquiao/Mayweather fight recently earned close to half a billion dollars, the answer to balancing the budget by raising money is clear. Have pay-per view broadcasts of Congressmen beating the living daylights out of each other.

If Congressmen (and women) are serious about doing everything they can to serve this country, then risking skull fractures, concussions, and broken jaws should be an available option for them as well. Put two Congressmen in a ring and let them beat each other to a bloody pulp. Now regardless of who wins, the public will at least get their money’s worth, the money from pay-per view can go towards balancing the budget, and everyone gets to see their favorite Congressmen get beaten to a pulp live on TV.

To make the action even more exciting, make the fight last until one Congressman is knocked unconscious. To prevent faking injuries, allow the victor to designate a member of the public to rape the unconscious Congressman in the boxing ring after the fight. This will insure that neither Congressman will have an incentive to take a dive to the canvas and end the fight earlier to avoid physical pummeling.

Congressmen say they’re interested in serving the public, so let’s take them at their word and see how interested they are in getting their nose broken to help balance the budget. If they’re not willing to shed a little of their own blood to help make this country better, then obviously they’re not really interested in serving the public. In which case they should be kicked out of office and have their taxpayer funded pension and health care stripped away from them and given to a citizen chosen at random. After all, why should Congressmen get the benefits of taxpayer-funded pensions and health care when the taxpayers themselves don’t get similar benefits?

Perhaps if watching two Congressmen beat each other to a pulp on live TV proves profitable, we could expand this program to include international politicians as well. As long as the only people getting hurt are politicians, that will be a definite improvement from the way the system works by hurting taxpayers today.

The Pro-Life Mindset

Abortion is murder. That’s the basic idea behind the pro-life movement. If you accept that a fetus, at the time of conception, is a living creature and abortion takes a human life, then you’re firmly in the pro-life side of understanding that abortion is murder.

Yet while pro-life advocates protect unborn fetuses because they want to respect the sanctity of life, where were all the pro-life advocates when a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri?

After all, an unarmed black teenager represents life just as much as an unborn fetus. Whether the black teenager committed a crime or attacked the police officer is irrelevant. What matters is that he was alive and the white police officer, for whatever reason, was responsible for killing him. That’s taking a life just as much as aborting an unborn fetus.

You also never saw pro-life advocates protesting the Vietnam War when F-4 Phantom jets were spraying napalm on villages filled with men, women, and children who had no idea what was going on. Obviously men, women, and children in Vietnamese villages are forms of human life just like unborn fetuses, so where were the pro-life advocates then?

Whenever there’s war, death penalties, and police shootings, the pro-life advocates fail to come out in force to protect the sanctity of life. So based on their actions, the answer is clear. Abortion can be morally acceptable if we just classify unborn fetuses as communist, non-Christian, minorities. Now we can slaughter as many fetuses in abortion clinics and pro-life advocates, based on their past actions, should be happy.

Forget about using a scalpel to scrape out a fetus in an abortion. Let’s spray napalm in those uteruses and root out those fetuses like communist villagers in Vietnam.

Don’t even think of taking pills to prevent pregnancy when you can using a fire squad to kill an unborn fetus like a prisoner on death row.  We don’t need abortion clinics to wipe out generations of fetuses. We just need to send in the Marines to blow up everything that could keep a fetus alive. After all, that’s what we did in Iraq and pro-life advocates didn’t seem to mind watching cruise missiles, live on CNN, blowing up buildings in Baghdad and killing untold numbers of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

If pro-life advocates want to stop abortions because it’s murder, then they should also stop war, the death penalty, and police shootings for the same reason. It’s murder to take a human life, so let’s get all those pro-life advocates together and after they get done bombing an abortion clinic, we can get them to use their bomb-making skills and gunnery skills to mow down innocent people in the Middle East and in our own backyards where poor minorities live in neighborhoods condemned to poverty.

After all, life is precious whether it’s in the form of a fetus, a poor minority, a non-Christian, or someone living in another country that happens to have natural resources that our multinational corporations want to exploit.

I’m sure even pro-life advocates would agree with me on this one. Provided, of course, that they’re actually pro-life.

Religious Freedom vs. Discrimination

Indiana’s governor Mike Pence recently signed a bill (in privacy away from the scrutiny of the media) that protects the right of individuals for religious freedom. That’s great news because that means the Taliban, al-Qaida, and ISIS can now move to Indiana, force everyone to submit to Sharia law, and have full and complete protection from government intrusion under this new religious freedom law.

Perhaps we can even get Boko Haram involved so they can move to Indiana, kidnap hundreds of schoolgirls, sell them into sex slavery while forcing others to become the sex slaves of Boko Haram fighters all under the protection of religious freedom. After all, we wouldn’t want to think Indiana discriminates against Boka Haram because all they want to do is practice their form of religion free from government intrusion.

With the Taliban, al-Qaida, ISIS, and Boko Haram taking over Indiana by shooting men, kidnapping women, and recruiting young children to join their ranks, Indiana’s governor Mike Pence should be more than pleased that he’s allowing religious freedom to protect these groups from government interference. After all, why should the government control what people can say or do when historically religions have been doing that for years?

Perhaps the Mormons can move to Indiana too and start practicing bigamy, which the United States government had earlier forced the Mormons to stop practicing. That’s definitely a clear case of government intrusion into the lives of people who just want religious freedom.

The Ku Klux Klan also practiced their own twisted form of Christianity to justify terrorizing blacks in the South. The burning cross is merely a symbol of Christianity so the KKK should be free to burn crosses on everyone’s lawns in the name of religious freedom.

With so many groups currently banned from practicing their full beliefs until now, Indiana will soon become a religious mecca of complete freedom from government interference. Maybe when the government admits they have no right to interfere with religious freedom, we can even make it legal for the Jehovah Witnesses to visit Mike Pence in Indiana. After a long session talking to a Jehovah Witness, even Mike Pence might want to think twice about granting religious freedom to others without government oversight whatsoever.

Are You a Prostitute?

Are you working with prostitutes? Unless you’re actually walking the streets in fishnet stockings and high heels, chances are most people will say no. Then again, if you look at the definition of a prostitute, the answer is more likely to be yes. the only difference is that the prostitutes you see at work are far uglier and less likely to get you sexually aroused just by looking at them.

At the most literal level, a prostitute is someone who exchanges sex for money, so that pretty much covers at least half of all marriages on the planet with a high percentage of prostitutes marrying politicians, professional athletes, and celebrities. If you go by the strict definition of a prostitute, chances are good you’re not working with any.

However if you avoid the literal definition and consider the concept, chances are good you are working with prostitutes. A prostitute is someone who does something just for the money, so that pretty much covers 90 percent of your co-workers. If you’re honest with yourself, you can see if that covers you too.

Prostitutes in the workplace typically want to make money fast by doing as little as possible, so that covers most union workers and executives right there. The typical characteristic of a prostitute is someone who:

  • Just wants money
  • Cares only for themselves
  • Willing to do what it takes for the money

Using that definition of a prostitute, you can see that practically every workplace is riddled with prostitutes. Instead of wearing short skirts and too much make up, most workplace prostitutes are parading around in standard business clothes, working in a job they don’t like, and tolerating it because they just want the money so they can use it to do what they really want to do, which in many cases is to go see a real prostitute.

If you’re stuck in a job you don’t like that doesn’t fill you with passion and a sense of purpose, guess what? You’re probably a prostitute just showing up for the paycheck and health benefits and doing as little as possible to earn your paycheck. If you don’t want to be a prostitute, then here’s what you need to do.

First, find something you’d be willing to do without being paid for it. By choosing something you love, you’ll increase the chance that you’ll be good at it.

Second, find a way to take what you love and provide a service or product to others. If you love what you’re doing, it will be easy to promote your service or product to others. Based on your passion and enthusiasm, they may likely be swayed to buy from you. The more people buy from you, the more money you’ll make doing something you enjoy doing anyway.

The next time you go to work, first look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re the prostitute. If so, then it’s time to find a way to live life beyond just sacrificing your life for a paycheck. If sacrificing your dreams for money is your idea of a worthwhile goal, you might as well start walking the streets and servicing every scummy character who gives you money to perform unnatural sex acts with them.

If you’re not truly enjoying your work, you’re already a prostitute so you might as well go all the way and start exchanging sex with strangers too. What have you got to lose if you’ve already sacrificed your dignity and self-respect for money?

 

The Importance of Jobs

Listen to most politicians and they seem most concerned with creating jobs. The main purpose of the Keystone XL pipeline is to create jobs, regardless of the environmental issues and whether we need the pipeline to transport tar sand oil in the first place. When politicians argue for greater defense spending to build nuclear missiles that cost billions and will never be used, they justify it because it creates jobs. When they want to relax environmental regulations it’s because it costs companies jobs.

Since creating jobs is so vitally important to politicians, why not create jobs by hiring people to watch the politicians? One group of citizens can be hired to make sure politicians don’t sleep with their interns. Another can track politicians to make sure they don’t visit prostitutes. Still another group can follow politicians around all day long to make sure they don’t use illegal drugs or have affairs with other women because that would violate the family values so many politicians love to parade out every election year.

We could also hire people to check into every politician’s statements to see if they lied like Brian Williams did when he claimed he was in a helicopter that got hit when it really did not. More people could be hired to check if politicians are accepting bribes or violating the spirit of democracy by accepting kickbacks and granting favors to friends. Citizens can also be hired to check if politicians are giving jobs to friends and relatives that pay extremely well for doing nothing but soaking the taxpayers.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways politicians can create jobs by simply hiring people to make sure the politicians are actually morally and ethically upstanding like they pretend to be. That alone could create enough jobs for the entire nation and eliminate unemployment forever in this great nation of ours.

So if politicians are serious about creating jobs, this is the answer. The fact that politicians won’t embrace the idea of hiring an army of people to monitor them shows that they’re really not concerned about creating jobs anyway, but if you had just a smidgin of intelligence, you probably already knew that.

Reclassifying the Homeless as Weapons Systems

Every year politicians complain that they can’t afford to help the poor. Yet every year politicians never seem to have a problem voting themselves pay raises or spending government money on billion dollar weapons systems just because they’ll create jobs in their districts.

Since the government always seems to have money for weapons but never seems to have enough money for the poor, the answer is simple. We need to reclassify homeless people as weapons delivery systems.

This country currently spends billions of dollars building and maintaining ICBMs, nuclear submarines, and B-52/B-1 bombers armed with nuclear tipped cruise missiles. Amazingly, the purpose of these billion dollar systems is to scare enemies so we never have to use them at all. So that’s the secret for helping the homeless.

Just as terrorists use suicide bombers to terrorize governments, so should governments recruit homeless people to become suicide bombers. The goal, of course, is not to actually use them but to maintain them as a credible threat against an adversary. If ISIS or al-Qaeda thinks they can terrorize us by sending a suicide bomber into a shopping mall, guess what? We can retaliate by sending our own suicide bomber into a Middle Eastern market and terrorize their people as well.

By reclassifying homeless people as weapons delivery systems, our government will suddenly have plenty of money to house, feed, and medically care for all the homeless people in the nation. We can get them off the street, get them the medical and psychiatric care that they need, and help turn many of them back into productive members of society.

Housing and caring for homeless suicide bombers would also create jobs, so the politicians can get behind it. After all, someone needs to build housing for the poor, cook food for all these hungry mouths, and provide medical care to make sure our weapons systems are in top physical condition to carry out their mission if necessary.

Best of all, we never even have to send any of these homeless people into combat as suicide bombers. We just have to threaten to use them and let other countries know we have them ready just in case. It’s the same deterrent system that we use with nuclear weapons only on a smaller scale. The goal is to spend as much as possible on weapons we never plan to use.

Think of the self-esteem and ego boost homeless people will suddenly get knowing that they’re considered patriots that other people acknowledge and accept. As weapons delivery systems, homeless people will get a fresh start to change their lives for the better, and all it takes is for our government to see them as a defensive asset rather than an annoying liability of unfair and unjust economic policies that favor the rich.

Turning homeless people into weapons is the only solution. The government will have no problems finding funding, society will support it as long as it creates jobs, and even the homeless people will embrace this new program to boost their self-esteem.

Just don’t tell the Russians, Chinese, or Middle Eastern terrorist groups what we’re planning to do. The last thing we need is a homeless weapon system arms race on our hands.

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