Christy and Paul 2013

A year without internet, media and junkfood. Lord, help us.

Month: September, 2013

Short Story: The Eventual Parting of Mr. Penguin

The Eventual Parting of Mr. Penguin

by Christy McGee

Mr. Penguin watched through foggy binoculars his wife and their two offspring drifting ever further into the white arctic abyss.


Mrs. Penguin, for her part, waved back, unsure of whether her husband could still see her through the miserably thick fog, but holding out hope that her husband’s binoculars were worth the three and a half fish she had paid at the market that pleasant Wednesday eve of his thirtieth birthday. She encouraged the children to do the same as her, though they were scarcely old enough to understand the gravity of the situation, and fortunately not so young as to rebel against her wishes, making an already difficult situation more so.

Mrs. Penguin and the Children

As the last glimmers of black faded to icy whiteness, Mr. Penguin lowered his binoculars, revealing a tear that trickled down his cheek and quickly froze. His tear was, like himself, cold, directionless and still.

He knew in his tiny bird heart that if he let her go now, she would never return. She’d meet a new man, better and faster and stronger than he, a man who could provide in abundance for her and the children, a man… with two feet.

Distraught Mr. Penguin

Distraught Mr. Penguin

Penguin looked down at his left foot – black and leathery and evenly webbed; he paused, admiring the beauty of his perfectly healthy foot, something he’d taken for granted all those years, then sighed as he turned his gaze to his right side, where only a small wooden peg stood now. Penguin crept to the edge of the ice. Peg, foot, peg, foot.

He peered into the endless blue and considered for a moment diving in one more time. It would be the last peg-legged step he’d ever have to take, considering the impossibility of his producing enough force to get back on dry land without both feet. Extending his peg leg, Mr. Penguin stood shaking, hovering over the water, when a bubble appeared, causing a slight ripple beneath him. He jerked his leg back instinctively, recalling the horrific way in which he had lost the damn leg in the first place, and tentatively sniffed the air.


“Leopard seal farts…”

Before he could finish his thought, another bubble arose in the distance.

He sniffed again, “Yep, definitely a leopard seal… OH GOD! He’s headed right for them!”

Mr. Penguin panicked in a circle about his peg, “I’ve gotta save them, but how? I’ll never get there fast enough! I’ve gotta do something!”

Another ripple in the distance, “He’s almost there. How can I smell that from here? No time!”

With a gasp of air, Penguin thrust himself towards the water, only to be tripped by his peg, which he had screwed rather firmly into the ice through his circular pacing. With no time to lose, Mr. Penguin karate chopped his peg, leaving only the tip lodged in the frozen tundra. Into the crystal waters he plunged, flapping hard against the current as his peg leg wobbled up and down with every stroke.

Within moments, Penguin had the seal in his sights. The grey beast circled the massive brick of frozen water that held everything Penguin had ever cared about. It was now or never.

Penguin shouted at the seal, “Hey! Look at me!”

The seal considered the gimpy penguin for a moment, but found himself able to resist, and instead, launched himself up and over the iceberg to take a shot at the rest of the Penguin family. Mr. Penguin could hear the terrified screams of his youngest daughter as the seal fell back into the water, empty-handed.

“This is it,” Penguin thought to himself, “They’re going to die…”

Penguin grabbed the remnants of his peg leg and shook it violently, “Stupid piece of wood! I should have left you stabbed in the ice!”

Penguin gasped loudly, which is difficult to do underwater, and then went to dislodging peg from flesh and screaming all the while. The seal looked over, slightly concerned. Mr. Penguin pulled the peg out firmly and promptly stabbed himself in the stomach, since stomach was what he mostly was.

The leopard seal could no longer decline a free, albeit slightly insane, meal and hurdled through the water at Mr. Penguin full speed. Penguin gripped the fleshy end of the peg and held it out firmly, then closed his eyes, preparing for death.


A moment later, he felt a gust of icy air fill his lungs as he shot out of the water. Beneath him was a snapping leopard seal with a peg lodged deeply in his eye. Mr. Penguin squawked for joy, then stomped the peg for good measure as he launched himself through the air in victory.

"Yaah! Victory!"

“Yaah! Victory!”

He landed with a hard thud and spent a disagreeable amount of time in blackness, but when he awoke, he was happy to see his family beside him, his wife nursing him back to health while simultaneously shushing the eager children, and happier still to see that they had all made it to the beach, full of fish, sticks and a gradual incline to the shore.



Ow, I Stabbed Myself in the $^%*ing Hand! And Other News.

As you may have heard, I stabbed myself in the hand recently. Imagine me, in the kitchen, hacking at a cheap plastic container of frozen butter with a pairing knife. My hand hurts just thinking of this… Now, imagine said flimsy plastic container being suspended in the air by none other than my left hand (or right hand, if you’re left-handed, no discrimination here).

A few violent stabbings later, the butter split, and the knife exploded out of the cheapest to-go container known to man, and inserted itself deep into the muscular padding below my left (or right) thumb. The integrity of my muscle had, for the first time,  been considerably compromised. The bleeding didn’t last long, a couple minutes, but the pain was as confusing as it was intense. It shot up my thumb and radiated from the back of my hand. My fingers hurt when I moved them. I started to freak out about nerve damage, but I got distracted with thoughts of how gross the concept of split flesh was and how my potential career as a hand model was over before it had ever started. Watch companies don’t hire hands that look like the slowest manatees in the Everglades!

I'm not gonna show pictures of boat-beaten manatees! What's wrong with you?!

I’m not gonna show pictures of boat-beaten manatees! Look that sh*t up on your own time!

I guess the moral of the story is that these things happen. If you cook all the time, it might be inevitable. Maybe it’s a rite of passage. My hand hurts.


“Sup, Bro?”
“Nothin’ much, Brodebega. Sweet stache.”
“Movember’s upon us, dude. I heard Ashley’s having a party over at her place to celebrate.”
“Dude, we should totes floats over there.”
“Right behind you, man.”


I have been going through a lot of philosophical growing pains, especially as I arrive at the stage where I take a long hard look at the universe and life and realize that there is no point, no purpose, no meaning to any of this. I think that there must be something beyond the Dawkinsian view of the universe, but if there is, it won’t be reached in a day.

Lovely sentiment, but not enough to get me out of bed.

Lovely sentiment, but not enough to get me out of bed.

On a lighter note, the idea of true randomness* is a pretty good mind f#ck.

*as in the possibility of multiple outcomes when everything is controlled for, including time.

A Story About Randomness

Your wife calls and tells you to pick something up for dinner.

“Anything,” she says.

You don’t believe her, but here you are, standing in the frozen food section, the fluorescents lightly flickering and buzzing above you. You’re in a hurry, but you’re stalled by what’s gonna make everyone happy… (And by everyone, you mean your wife.) Organic Hippy Pizza or Sustainable Lasagna? It’s close. Damn close.

Decisions, decisions...

“Well, I came here for beer, and I’m leaving with beer.”

You grab the Sustainable Lasagna and head to the checkout with high hopes that there will be no yelling or passive aggressive insults when you get home.


Now, rewind. If we go back in time to the moment you made your decision, would it be the same?

The conditions are exactly the same physically, temporally, mentally. Sure, it was close, but if everything were exactly the same, we can assume you’d make the same decision.


Now, what if we did it a hundred times? A thousand? A million? Would you make that same close decision EVERY SINGLE TIME?

If you believe that you would EVER make a different decision given the EXACT SAME circumstances, then you believe** that true randomness is possible.


If you believe that the same close decision would be made ad infinitum, then you believe** that the universe is deterministic. Everything is comprehensible and able to be determined, if you have enough information about the situation in question. Everything happens for a concrete reason (not to be confused with purpose, or divine reason).


**At least, I believe you believe that.


If you could get a glimpse of future, decade-from-now YOU and see how THEY were living – good, bad, doesn’t matter – do you think you could change that future? What if I told you that future YOU saw the same future you saw? THEY were privy to the exact same information, because, hey, THEY’RE you. THEY made decisions informed by what they saw, and THEY ended up exactly where the future glimpse foretold.

Now, could you change your destiny?*

*to the contrary Mary(s) thinking you could just kill yourself, I hope the vision of your future self wasn’t just some crazy dream.