Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quarter Life Crisis

Twenty years ago today, I crawled into this world, looked up at the cold, unfeeling stars and have been silently fuming at my lot in life ever since.

The worst part is that I don't even feel like a proper twenty year old. In my mind I'm still this confused, sad little boy hopelessly out of touch with what's going on around him. I know that's not the case, but I feel like it anyway. I always feel like this when the 28th rolls around; glum, despondent. It's best for everyone if I just stay in my room and try to hide my angst.

I guess the reason why I'm so moody is that, honestly, I don't think I have much to look forward to in the coming years as a proper adult. I mean, look at what Generation Z has already been through since 2000: 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and now the global economic crisis. There's a reason why Time Magazine called the 2000's the Decade From Hell. More happened in those ten years to shatter the American dream then anything since World War II. Our parents got the Berlin Wall tearing down, we get record lows in unemployment. I should know: for a whole year I have been trying, time and again, to find someone, anyone in this God-forsaken city that's hiring and not one has called back. No one's hiring, and if they are they're certainly not going to pick the WASP-ish nerd with no work experience fresh out of high school. It's gotten to the point where I'm fighting tooth and nail with 30 to 40 year olds for the privilege of mopping the floor in a fast food joint and loosing. Hard.

Thankfully there is a little ray of sunshine and my fate as a shut-in manchild isn't completely sealed yet. Tomorrow I'm working with my contractor friend again to help build a water run off system at a local nursery (for plants, not babies). In the mean time I've found a little hobby for the downtime between planning new maps: microfiction!

Yes, microfiction, also known as flash fiction, micro-stories and very very short stories is a literary style of extreme brevity. In general, these stories are limited to around a thousand words or less, leaving out all but the barest essentials of detail. It's a fun little exercise, reminding one of the old Reader's Digests. As far as I know, Franz Kafka and even H.P. Lovecraft dabbled in it. I'll be looking for those soon. In the meantime, here's some microstories of my own, all one hundred words or less each!


It was Autumn and cold by our standards, probably not the best day for a barbecue. It was Jeff's idea. I could tell he was regretting it. His sweater was pulled up to his chin. He was eating a chicken kabob. I was standing by the gazebo, hoping no one would ask me about my operation. Suddenly Debbie appeared.

"Hey is it true you have monkey glands now?"

I tore a chunk of steak with my teeth. It was such a good sensation, I started fantasizing about hunting gazelle in the open plains right there. I wasn't invited to Jeff's next barbecue.

Dirty Money

Her shoulder pads stuck out like devil horns. Her nails tapping on the desk were like daggers. Her hair was wound into a tight beehive, looming over wickedly arched eyebrows.

"Bill, you're fired." She said. "I want you out of my office."


"You completely mismanaged the Henderson account."


"Get out."

Bill walked out of the office, dejected. His coworkers avoided his gaze. Taking one last look at his cubicle, he gathered his belongings and started to leave. Down the hall was the goat, staring at him. He knew no one would believe him, but it sabotaged his career.

Toddlers & Tiaras: A Fan Fiction

This was the moment she was waiting for her whole life. Her daughter looked perfect, she would crush the competition.

"Don't forget to smile." She murmured from behind the curtain.

The girl did a spin and struck a pose as the music stopped. Her hair was perfect. The judges applauded. She had this in the bag, that harpy Veronica and her brat would have to settle for second place. Suddenly, a giant squid appeared and strangled her daughter as divine retribution. her head popped off like a wine cork.

The pageant was ruined. She felt like she needed another xanax.

The Lament of Doctor Pritcher

The experiment was a failure. He started falling into a quantum vortex and would be forced to relive this moment over and over, forever. He slowly went insane as time passed. With nothing but the incomprehensible void and his own memories, his life started to flash before his eyes; from playing catch with his dad, 4th of July parties, graduating high school, his first kiss, marrying Judith, his son being born, earning his PhD, writing his thesis on the vacuum energy, the day before the experiment...and now this, a life time of research ruined by a careless mathematical error.

He started falling into a quantum vortex.


So there you go. I've been cranky and mad at the world and the only cure is tiny tiny stores that could fit on a post-it note. Next year, I'm going to celebrate with the fruitiest, frilliest umbrella drink I can find and have someone drive me home because that's the responsible thing to do.

Also, before I forget:

It's Bunday.


mom said...

you turning 21?
thank goodness I have a full year to get ready for that concept.

Linda said...

See Tyler your short stories are funny and inventive and I think most people will enjoy and laugh at them. No one has time for novels anymore, unfortunately. Just think of the endless stories that can pop into your brain while you are working. Every generation has a "bummer" to it. Mine was Viet Nam War, unfair wages for women, plus countless other injustices to people. Maturity has a way of rectifying the dreams that have been dashed and experience teaches us how to move forward with courage and determination. You are doing both quite well and we are proud of you.

Shadgrimgrvy said...

Thank you!

It's good to have perspective on these kinds of things. Lord knows I wouldn't know how to handle the 60's. All in all, I can't complain THAT much.

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