Benjamin’s journey

Benjamin saw himself as fundamentally different from everyone else. That was his curse, he believed. While he saw other people talk, laugh and engage in social occasions with the most profound ease, he felt like he was playing a role when he talked with people. He felt as if he had, at some point, memorized a certain script, and in conversations, his job was to utter lines from this script to the best of his memory. He was rather bad at it as well. Oftentimes, it took him several seconds to come up with anything interesting to say, and if he by chance had said anything loud enough for anybody to hear, and they replied, he would often experience a brain freeze and just stand there, wordless, dumbfounded. Continue reading

Equation 42

When my friend, Harry, told me that he wanted to apply for the position “Head of Equation 42”, I first thought he might be crazy. He was a postdoc with a bright future. Clever, imaginative, hard-working, and courageous. His PhD thesis on the behavior of atoms in small-confined areas of heat radiation had already been cited more than one hundred times. It might have been cynical of me, but I firmly believed somebody with such academic talent ought not to risk it as Head of Equation 42. Therefore, I sat him down on a late Thursday and asked him what he had heard about the previous occupants of the position. He answered rather elusively, which was not surprising, given that nobody who held the position had ever been allowed to talk about what the job actually involved. However, in my years at the faculty, I had seen how the equation had depraved and degenerated those who had held the position, and so, I took the opportunity to flesh out the history of the Head of Equation 42 for Harry. Continue reading