Calvin And Hobbes: The Last One

He opened his eyes to darkness. He felt around with his hands and found the wall to his right, along which his bed lay. He groped around until he found a switch and flipped it on. Harsh white fluorescent light filled the room and hurt his eyes. Reflexively, he closed them and groaned. His head hurt – no, pounded from within, and it felt like a million sledgehammers threatening to break open his skull. He turned on to his side and winced as sharp points of pain pricked his joints and when he couldn’t take it anymore, he sat up. Still dressed in his clothes from the night before, he looked down at his hands and feet, wondering how he ever got home. The last thing he remembered was his tenth beer. There had been a lot of shouting, a lot of music, loud music, and a lot of dancing. He vaguely remembered throwing up somewhere, and sure enough, he saw the dirty yellow stains on his white shirt and blue jeans.”Shit,” he muttered, and swung his legs off the bed.

Standing in the middle of the room, he stretched himself and took a step towards the bathroom when he stepped on something soft and furry. He looked down at the old stuffed tiger he used to play with as a kid, and kicked it under the bed in anger. He had suffered enough because of it, and he had no intention of ruining his life further.

“Twenty years,” he said to the bit of furry tail still visible from under the bed. “Twenty years of my life ruined because I thought you were real. They stuck me in a nut house and asked me to swallow pills every two hours. I don’t know what I was thinking.” Then, calming himself, he took a few deep breaths and said, almost chanted, “You’re not real. You’re not real.”

He walked into the bathroom, showered, shaved and came out feeling refreshed. As he stood looking at his thirty-year old beaten, worn-out, pot-bellied frame, he thought back to the day in his youth when he had burned his parents alive. The tiger had asked him to do it. The tiger had said it would be a good idea. He had listened to the tiger and killed his parents. Pain wracked through his mind and he shut his eyes tight as tears rolled down his wet cheeks. “I’m sorry,” he said to no one in particular.He was different then, before the medication, before the doctors, before the black-outs…

When he turned away from the mirror, he was about to reach down to grab a shirt from the floor, when he stopped dead in his tracks. The stuffed tiger that he had kicked under the bed was now back where it had been. The single remaining beady eye and the empty socket where the other bead had been looked up at him in a cold stare, unflinching, as if daring him to talk. As if daring him to scream, to shout, to say something. He stared at the tiger, frozen in mid-step and too scared to do anything. He swallowed a large gulp of fear and said, “You’re not real. You’re not real. You’re not real.”

He turned away closing his eyes and shut both his ears with his hands, still chanting his mantra. When he stopped to catch a breath, he heard someone call his name from behind him.

“Calvin,” the voice said. “Why won’t you talk to me anymore?”

“No!” he screamed. “Don’t talk to me! You’re not real!” He still was turned away, now crouching near the wall, his head resting against the corner. “Shut up!”

“You think I don’t miss you, Calvin?” the voice asked.

“You’re not real. You’re not real…” he continued in monotone, rocking back and forth, drowning out the tiger’s voice.

“Of course I’m real. I’m right here. Turn around, Calvin.”

And he didn’t know why he did it, but he did. He turned, opened his eyes and saw the tiger standing there in the middle of the room. The tiger was smiling at him, standing on its hind legs, holding out its hands as if waiting for an embrace. Calvin took a tentative step towards the tiger, still confused and the madness showing on his face with no inhibition. “NO…!!” he screamed. “You are NOT real!” and he ran towards the bed-side drawer, pulled out a gun from inside and put it in his mouth.

He looked at the tiger’s eye and saw the tears rolling down to its cheek and forming tiny puddles on the floor. He was crying himself. He couldn’t stop the tears.

“Don’t do it, Calvin,” said the tiger, stifling a sob.

“I’m sorry, Hobbes,” he said and pulled the trigger. As the last shard of life left his body, he thought he saw a stuffed tiger lying at his feet. He tried to smile and tried to tell himself that the tiger was not real. He tried, in vain.

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Let’s Have A Conference Call, Folks!

conferenceSingapore. Canada. California. New York. And, to ice the cake, Bangalore. The conference call was scheduled to start at 9:30 in the morning, and at 9:29, I realized that the phone in the corner did not have an international calling facility. I was sitting there, all prepared, my papers spread out in front of me, my pen handy, my head going over the different methods of opening the conversation, saying “Hi” or “Hello” or “Good morning”, and then, I sat there listening to the sweet yet hideous female voice telling me that this service isn’t available on this phone.

I wondered what to do. The clock ticked away the seconds of the one minute left for me to sign into the call. I gulped and took a decision that I knew I’d regret. I flipped open my mobile and punched in the numbers. I prayed hard, hoping the call would end in a few minutes. It didn’t. It lasted for an hour and fifty minutes. I sighed and resigned myself for a fat bill this month.

Conference calls, according to me, are a supreme waste of time. I think more work can be accomplished through an email. The first twenty minutes are obviously spent in introducing all the people in the call. The next thirty-odd minutes go away in outlining the agenda for the conference call. The remaining hour or so is spent in asking people to speak up; apologizing for loud cell phones; apologizing for the rackets behind their respective backs; and finally, asking everyone present if they understood the last point. More often than not, there will be at least three jerks who would not have paid attention, and they would ask you to repeat the last point.

The frustrating thing about these conference calls is that you cannot abuse anyone verbally. If the same meeting is held over emails, then before sending each and every email, you can let out the wonderful stream of expletives, and feel good about yourself and the other person’s lack of knowledge. You can question his/her ability to think straight, his/her man-/womanhood, his/her ridiculous name, and lot of other things.  But on a conference call, you have to hold your tongue and treat even the most outrageous of jerks with an amount of respect. It takes so much out of you. You can’t even make fun of funny names!

Anyway, I have had too many conference calls till now. I think I’ve devised a formula to survive each one of them. I call it “Apparent Indifference” – if you give the impression to the other jerks on the call that you’re indifferent about the outcome, then they’ll fall over themselves to spell out each and ever point of concern and make sure that each and every doubt has been answered. This, of course, helps me in making the meeting a success.

Oh, I hate conference calls. Of course, the only advantage the conference call has over board-room meetings is that you can fart loudly and get away with it. 😀

Farting Etiquettes

Whatever size, form or shape, toilet humor has always brought a smile to people’s faces. So, even if someone does not like the idea of a whole post on Farting Etiquette, what the fart? I’ll still write it.

Mankind I have always harbored an admiration for the powerful forces of nature. Wind energy is the next best thing to fossil fuels, and as long as there’s food on the planet, there will be farts.

Breaking wind is an essential fart of human nature. The fart of the matter is, no one can hold it any longer than 2 hours. This is scientifically proven at the MirrorCracked labs. There are certain etiquettes when it comes to unleashing our wind upon the unsuspecting public, and not many people adhere to it.

There’s a 4-line poem in Sanskrit, which describes the different intensities of smell that are associated with different levels of farting:

Darrr-am Burrrr-am Bhayam Naasthi
(Loud, sonic-boom farts do not stink)

Koiyyam Kotakasya Madhyaman
(There’s a reasonable amount of stink when the fart is squeaky and forced)

Thissssss-adhghoram Mahadhghoram
(Unbearable attack of stink forces when the fart hisses)

Nishabdham Praana Sankatam
(The unheard fart is a killer)

With this knowledge of the ages in mind, we can keep ourselves aware of what we need to do when we can’t hold it any longer. Here are a few tips on how to behave when we fart:

  1. If you’re alone, then let it out loudly, smile and say, “Wow, what a fart!”
  2. If in a meeting with 4 or more people and you very quietly let loose, then slowly start pushing your chair away from the person sitting next to you and give him/her a dirty look. Others will follow suit. This technique is called Farting The Blame.
  3. If you’re standing in a crowded bus, then make sure that you start pushing your way through the crowd slowly but steadily, moving towards the door, while farting quietly, so that the stink is distributed evenly throughout the length of the bus. (Not applicable outside India)
  4. If you’re with a girlfriend/boyfriend and you realize that you have to break wind, then play some music and tell your partner that you’ll dance for her/him. Unleash the wind energy quietly while dancing. He/she will never know. It’s easier for smokers – they can just light up to kill the stink.
  5. If you’re with someone who’s irritating you and you just want them to go away, then do the sonic-boom.

I sincerely hope this small but comprehensive guide helps people in distress. As usual, contact me for a free demo. 😀

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