by Timothy Stephen Pike
A blank page has always held some sort of mystical attraction for me. I always have to stare at it for a few minutes, admiring its purity, innocence, and the fresh start it represents. An hour later, I’m staring at the same blank page, cursing and pulling the hair out of my head because I still can’t think of a thing to write. That’s just one of the great paradoxes of my life.
In fact, my life has never made a whole lot of sense. For example, at the tender age of five, for reasons I still don’t fully comprehend, I was only four years old. But there are a couple things in my life that do make sense: the power of words, and the power of humor. Also, the power of ice cream sandwiches, but we’ll save that one for another column.
My fascination with writing dates all the way back to 13 B.C. (Before College). In kindergarten, I owned and operated a small company called Thunder Books. The objective of Thunder Books was to produce, publish, and sell a variety of books written by a variety of authors (namely me), about a variety of subjects (namely whatever I wanted to write about). My inventory was pretty easy to control, as it consisted of about six books. One book was titled The Day Sunday Got Stuck, and depicted the horror of a certain Sunday repeating itself over and over. Another was called A Monkey Story, and involved monkeys. It also involved frogs and a tea party, although now I can’t remember how I worked that in.
The big perk about being the only employee of Thunder Books was that whenever I was peddling my wares at my elementary school or church flea market and a customer got pissed off at me and demanded to speak to the manager, I could say, “I am the manager.” I have not had the opportunity to say that to anybody since, except for that one time in eighth grade when Zorg and his buddies pulled their spaceship into my backyard and demanded to be taken to my leader, and I replied, “I am the leader.” Sometimes I feel like that may have been a dream.
But I digress. The point of all this is that “Zorg” is just a name I made up, and on behalf of Earth, I would like to apologize to the countless generations of outer space aliens who, because of insensitive stereotypes, have been named “Zorg.”
Just after the Zorg incident, my writing career really began to take off. I knew there were many great years ahead, many writing competitions to enter. Whenever I won a writing contest, I felt great pride in having accomplished something wonderful. By the same token, whenever I lost a writing contest, I usually hired a hit man to go after to judges. But when all was said and done, I could always come home to the two-headed purple sheep I tended to in my yard. That’s possibly another dream.
This I know is real: one time, I won a writing contest sponsored by a Denver area newspaper, and I was invited to go to the Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs for an award ceremony. I was a VIP (“very important person”) at this VPH (“very prestigious hotel”). They’re so prestigious because they charge a LOM (“lot of money”) for their R (“rooms”). This particular award ceremony involved a.) breakfast, and b.) standing up in front of everybody and reading the story I’d written. Now, I am all in favor of (a.), but as for (b.), I’d sooner lock myself in a meat freezer for three weeks with no food or water than speak in front of a room full of people. However, the pressure was lessened a bit when I started thinking that since there were only five contest winners, maybe each winner would bring his parents and/or a friend to the ceremony and there wouldn’t be much of a crowd. But no—something had gone horribly wrong, and within minutes there were at least six hundred people in the room. They all stared at me expectantly, like I was about to explain the Theory of Relativity. Now, I had only brought my parents (that’s two people), but where all those others had come from, I will never know. I could only surmise that each of the other winners had invited not only their parents, but also their entire immediate and extended families, all of Denmark, and various branches of the Japanese military.
I would go into intricate detail about the Theory of Relativity, but I don’t want to bog you down with scientific formulas and complex equations. Suffice it to say that because I wrote this column at the speed of light, you’re now actually younger than you were when you started reading it. If the Theory of Relativity seems complicated, it’s not. It all became clear to me one day after eating an entire box of ice cream sandwiches. Either they were brought here from outer space by someone named Zorg, or it was another one of my dreams. Whichever.
Timothy Pike is a frugivorous essayist currently residing on Mars.
This and much more in my new 120-page e-book!