“I’m an optimist.”

“A what? Isn’t that somebody who works on the eyes?”

“Not an ophthalmologist. An optimist—somebody who looks for the positive in life.”

“I thought you were a psychologist.”

“I know, right? We are the number 2 suicide profession. I’m different though, or at least, I haven’t blown my brains out yet.”

“Who’s number 1?”


“That figures—all those dirty mouths, and the constant drilling. What gets you through the day, as a psychologist?”

“Oh—thinking-up the next story to write. Drawing inspiration from my life. Do I seem too agreeable to you?”

“Yes. Everybody thinks you might go at any second.”

“What does that mean? I drink a lot of coffee.”

“No. Not that. God, you’re insecure. One day, you’ll rip-off your sweater and go…”


“Something like that.”

“I can’t get enough sleep, man. And you know the paperwork I have to do all day.”

“No. I don’t. And I don’t want to know.”

“Come-on—have some empathy.”

“If you’re having trouble sleeping, switch to tea.” (Advice). It was the science teacher’s way of empathizing with me.

He’s 5 feet tall. He always notices my height—like somehow, if he was 6 feet tall, all of the doors in life would’ve opened-up for him. True, the adult world isn’t built for hobbits, but I never say that.

“I can’t switch to tea,” I said. “My job is too boring. I need the jolt in the morning, to stay awake.”

“You could punch yourself in the face.”

“That’s true.”

“Hey, I could punch your face for you.”

“Okay, but I get to punch you back. I’ll draw-up a contract, for you to sign. A waver. That way, you can’t sue me. I’m good at paperwork.”

He went back to his class

and I wrote this down.


3 thoughts on “A Conversation in the Hallway at Work

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