It was a profoundly horrible moment when Dan looked into the mirror

getting ready for work in the morning

something had changed about him

his clothes and shoes and face were worn

He had gained weight and lost it

so that everything sagged

His job required him to delight in dull details

and he had developed a dull sense of humor

to compensate

Soon he depended on the nods in the hallway

from his coworkers

they signaled he was still there

and if they stopped nodding

he didn’t know what he would do

What was worse, he started to listen to himself talk

and he became bored

the exact opposite was happening to his coworkers

who seemed to think they were doing and saying important things

and he was almost convinced…

until he made one of them question their existence

by asking Why?

it only took three Whys for a person not to know

and their world crumbled like a stale cookie

in the teacher’s lounge

it always ended in them professing their love

for kids

for country

for INSERT noun.

Dan was a teacher because he thought he taught young minds

but each year he realized his kids were learning things on the internet

he didn’t know

and who was teaching whom?

On that day when he REALLY saw himself in the mirror

he didn’t have the words

because he realized he didn’t know anything

it was like learning he had Alzheimer’s

and soon, he would start forgetting

Dan walked into his work that morning

“How are you doing today?” A teacher asked.

“Oh….” but he couldn’t finish his sentence. He had a meeting coming up

where he would be asked questions

“Why haven’t you posted grades?” And Dan just smiled.

He was put in charge of the classroom

and he just smiled

it was like his muscles froze inside his face

and then he was evaluated

“You’ve been allowing your kids to take charge of their education; Bravo. What would you like to work on this year?”

Dan didn’t say anything.

“Profound!” His evaluator said. “Exceeding Standard.”

Dan was speechless

he got into his car and drove home.

He couldn’t fail, and that was WHY there were no victories.

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