Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spanner 13.4: Who Wants to Live Forever

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 13: The Battle of Evergreen Park
Part 4: Who Wants to Live Forever (Revision 2)

1 october 2014.
Shira comes up to Mr. Whitmer to whisper something into his ear. He looks at he quizzically. She nods seriously. He lets her get close and speak.

“I just got word last night that the king’s dropping by to lock down the city on Sunday.”

“Well...” He turns to her. “You know he likes to bait terrorists, don’t you?”

“Then he throws a bomb into the pond to kill all the fish.”

“The old master terrorist knows his own kind all too well.”

The bell rings and the students scramble to take their seats. After Mr. Whitmer takes roll call, the class begins. “As you might know, in the philosophy class I teach, we frequently have to deal with various difficult questions?”

Kelly groans. “Mr. Whitmer, you and I know that there’s one simple answer for everything.”

He smiles. “As Mencken said, “For every problem there exists a solution that is simple, elegant, and wrong.” The class has a good laugh at Kelly’s expense. She blushes angrily. He gestures for the class to quiet down. “One thing we have to deal with in life

“Here’s a question to ponder over: Imagine that you had to make a choice. One, you can choose to live a long life, but on the condition that you would have to endure boredom for the rest of your life. Two, you can choose live a life of perfect happiness, except that you would die exactly one year later. If you had to make a choice between these two and only these two, which would you choose?”

“I’d die tomorrow if it means I’ll be with Jesus!” blurts out Kelly. Some of her classmates laugh at her; others groan.

Jennifer sighs. “Kelly, suicide bombers think like that.” The class bursts out in laughter; Mr. Whitmer has to gesture the class to quiet down and Kelly to refrain from hitting Jennifer.

“Okay, let’s do it this way. Which of you would rather live a long but boring life” Raise your hands.” Most of the students in the class raise their hands. Shira, Leila, Jennifer, Robert, and Fiona do not. Leila shakes her head. “You don’t agree, Leila. Can you tell us why?”

“It seems none of you know how horrible and soul-destroying boredom can get. I’ve attempted suicide before because I felt so bored it hurt.”

“You actually have a point there. Boredom, in fact, is a form of pain, intended to force us to get up and do something interesting. It’s extremely overvalued by the dreary “Puritan work ethic” on which our nation was built and, as Leila pointed out, it can indeed kill. So, Leila, you would be willing to live just one more year for the sake of perfect happiness?”


Kelly snaps back, “But you tried to kill yourself five times, Leila!”

“I’m actually not afraid of death. Maybe I should be afraid, being that I don’t believe we exist after death. Most people are, even if they do believe in an afterlife. I don’t, yet I’m not. And if I could just live a life of perfect bliss for just one year, I’d gladly die at the end of it.”

“But you’re too young to die!” gasps Mimi.

“People die young all the time, Mimi. From accidents, disease, being killed by other people or eaten by wild animals... Some young people feel so old they try to die. Nature doesn’t care how long we live, only that we reproduce our species?”

“But God cares!” protests Kelly.

Leila glares back at her. “God cares only about his chosen few, Kelly. Everybody else, all seven billion of them, belong by definition to Satan, so He’ll always be trying to destroy them. Even though the alleged Mayan prophecies failed to pan out, the current trendy rumor among the eschatologists has it that God plans to destroy the world by fire, since he failed by flood before.”

Kelly sighs, throws up her arms, and storms out the door, making sure to slam it.

When Mr. Whitmer asks the class who would choose the long-life option, most of the students still raise their hands. But this time Courtney, Seika, Cory, Kio, and Polly keep theirs down. After agonizing for several seconds, Mimi lowers hers and blushes. She smiles at Harumi, and Harumi lowers her hand. When the light comes on with a shock in Dorian’s head and she finally understands what he’s saying, she decides she’s willing to face everybody else’s questions and lowers her hand.

first period. When the substitute teacher enters wearing a Nazi uniform, Jennifer bursts out laughing.

“And who do you think you are?” he snaps.

Jennifer turns to Shira and says conspiratorially, “Excuse me while I shift into Evil Fräulein Mode.” She sashays up to the sub and says in an exaggerated German accent, “I am callt Ilsa, She-Volf of Hollyvoodt!” The other students laugh, even Kelly.

“I’m not here to play games, Fräulein Richter-Thomas.”

“Zen vhy are you playing games mit Der Führer’s Reich like a dummkopf” Could it be—you’re a Chew?” The sub’s jaw drops to the floor in shock. The students laugh uncontrollably.

on to the next...

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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 2, 8/21/11: Scene of Mr. Whitmer’s “would you want perfect happiness for one year if you had to die at the end of it?” class edited to fit Second Revision continuity.]
[Revision 3, planned: Above mentioned class moved to 9.2. New one to be created to fit this chapter and Third Revision continuity.]

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