This piece is taken with permission from the 1992 edition of Lower Merion High School's literary magazine, The Dolphin.
PHILOSOPHY IS DEAD
It was a dark and stormy night. I should have known the minute I saw him that there was something screwy about him. When I entered through the door I saw this man trying to kill a fly with a salmon. But he was supposed to be the best philosopher around. Actually, since there really aren’t philosophers anymore, only professors of philosophy, he was the only living philosopher in the world. So I figured it was worth a try.
I waited until he was finished swatting the walls with his fish, and then he saw me and motioned for me to sit down.
“Now then, how can I help you?” he asked with a crooked grin and an implacable foreign accent. “Perhaps some Zoroastrianism philosophies? Or maybe a couple Will Rogers quotes? I’ve got a two for one special on them. Want some marshmallows?” And, with that, he started a small bonfire in the middle of his large white room and began toasting a marshmallow, apparently to make a s’more, or whatever you call those chocolate-marshmallow things.
This was not philosophy as I remembered learning it! This man was obviously “...a nut. You must be a nut or something,” I yelled to him from across the room.
“Life is like a nut.” he responded.
That interested me. “How?” I asked, still from the other side of the room.
“I don’t know. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all my years of studying philosophy, it’s that everything is like life somehow. Hmm...let’s see. Life is like a nut. It’s hard on the outside, and when you step on it, it breaks into lots of smaller, but still hard, pieces.”
“You’re not making any sense!” I pleaded with him.
“Life is like money. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and when you’re all out of it, you can file for bankruptcy and start all over again.”
“He is definitely clueless,” I muttered.
“Life is like a detective story,” he said, now certifiably on a philosophical roll, “”you go through it searching for evidence, and you figure it out, except it’s too late, because by then you’re on the last page. Go on, give me another topic,” he challenged.
“Golf,” I suggested.
“Too easy. Something different.”
I sank into thought, trying to come up with a stumper. Finally, it came to me.
“Okay,” I said. “Tell me how life is like Tammy Faye Bakker.”
“Hmmm… that’s a tough one,” he mused. “Tammy Faye Bakker…”
He sat down and began to meditate. Beads of sweat began to course down his face. Soon, he looked like he was the living incarnation of the Niagara Falls. He turned redder and redder until I heard him moan, “I just don’t know.”
He imploded with a strange whirring noise and the last philosopher had died. Good riddance.
I walked outside to find it was now a beautiful spring day. This was strange because I went in to his house in September. I sat on a hill to watch the sunrise. Then it came to me.
“Y’know,” I said to no one in particular, “the strange thing is, all he had to say was, ‘Tammy Faye Bakker is ugly and so is life.’”
I drowned my sorrows at the local pancake house by eating their special smiley-face pancake. Somehow, it made things better.