Floyd was pretty bummed. He wanted to read about painted gibbons, but before he could check out that particular volume of Spoonstrel’s Taxonomy of Apes and Suchlike, he had to get this certificate. First, he’d gone to this guy who’d given him this certificate (on vellum with gold filigree, natch). Sweet, I’m off to the races! Floyd had thought. That is, until he turned in his certificate to this other guy who was all, Hey now! This certificate is expired and then quickly wrote yesterday’s date on the certificate. Excuse me, but did you just write yesterday’s date on that certificate? Floyd said. No, the #2 certificate guy said, staring at Floyd, unblinking. So Floyd went back and got a different certificate. Every time he tried to use it, it didn’t work out. They were all invalid for different reasons: the filigree needed to be silver, not gold; one of the certificates was in Russian; someone had drawn a rocketman in crayon on the back; it just went on and on. After 6 hours and 23 minutes, the #2 certificate guy said, Actually, hey, you know? I just remembered: We don’t accept any certificates here. We only accept certificates in our southern office. It’s 800 miles away. Good day sir! Floyd said and forcefully wandered out.
Moral: Who understands certificates? I sure don’t!
Remember that forgetful Walrus? I didn’t think so. Anyway, he was friends with this Carpenter. Together they’d built this pretty sweet boat. Really, it was a bunch of boats all tied together, but it seemed to float better that way. There was another big mass of boats that had come along a while back. They were built by a Unicorn, a Lion, and some other animals, I guess. They were all, “Hey Walrus and Carpenter! Come join us! We’d float so much better if you tied up with us!” The Walrus and Carpenter were pretty ok with it for a while. But then all these freaking Unicorns and Lions kept hanging out on their boat. “We can’t have this!” the Carpenter said. The Walrus was like, “I’m ok with it. The Unicorns and Lions have some pretty cool gewgaws.” The Carpenter kept stewing and stewing, really just obsessing over how great things were when they were floating on their own. He was remembering all the good times they had before their boat shrank (mysteriously–they suspected wizards and black magic and stuff). Then, while the Walrus was sleeping, the Carpenter ransacked their boat looking for a knife or a saw or a laser or something to cut their boat loose. That Carpenter just tossed a bunch of cool stuff over the side, also he cut up his hands and feet (mysteriously–he suspected wizards and black magic and stuff). All the animals on the other boats were like, WTF, man!?!? The Carpenter said (and there was a fair amount of spittle involved), “Things were better before in the magical time I barely remember!!” and then, inexplicably, started cutting through the part of the boat that had the rope tying their boat to all the others (he ignored the rope completely, for some reason) and all this water started pouring in. The Walrus woke up and was all, WTF, man!? Why is all our shit floating in the water? Meanwhile, the Unicorn was like, “Hey, I’ll just cut this rope then, yeah? See ya!” The Walrus got ready to sail away in one of the other boats. Meanwhile, the Carpenter, who seemed to have forgotten what to do with the knife or laser in his hand, just watched his golden umbrella floating away.
Moral: When you start behaving badly, don’t overestimate how much people like or need you.
Sonia Akakievich was inconsolable. Bjorn Bjornbjornssonsson had tossed her great-great-grandfather’s antique coat in the garbage, or so she thought. Turns out, he’d just set it down next to the garbage cans to air out. Really, there was no good reason for why he’d done so. Sonia waved around the portrait of her great-great-grandfather. “If you’d only made it clear to the garbage collectors that this was an important coat, they wouldn’t’ve assumed it’s rubbish and carted it away!” “I thought it was Thursday!” Bjorn Bjornbjornssonsson said.
Moral: The garbage gets picked up on Friday.
In an alternate dimension (Dimension X-423) where movies and television were never invented, the most popular form of entertainment comes in the form of training modules. This year, people are waiting with breathless anticipation for the fourth version of the training module, “Ethics Compliance, Fnord, and You.” But please don’t count out “Manufacturing Export Requirements (Interstellar),” what some consider the probable sleeper hit of the year. There are some who claim that the upcoming slate of training modules are simply derivative retreads of what’s come before. Not so, say others, implying that the naysayers are simply not discriminating enough to detect the wonderfully subtle variations in the eight training modules on HIPAA Compliance (Arcane). For the 18th year in the row, Playskool’s Multiple Choice Test toy outsells all the other toys on the market, beating out RadioButtons and Fill-in-the-Blanks.
Moral: Be glad you don’t live in an alternate dimension where the only form of popular entertainment is training modules.
The number gazed out upon the set of nigh-infinite numbers and sighed. “Why won’t anyone pick me?” None of the other two hundred and ninety-two million numbers (give or take) wanted to mention it, but the number had a big piece of spinach stuck in its teeth.
Moral: Sometimes, it’s not us, it’s you.
Payroll Corp (just Corp to his friends) was really excited. Today was the big day! He was starting a new job doing something for a giant company that he barely knew anything about. That morning, he set his alarm to go off extra early. Soon he was asleep, dreaming of runcible spoons. Upon waking, a somber gentleman in a grey suit handed him a checklist. “For your first day,” he said cryptically and, between Corp’s slow, sleep-encrusted blinks, disappeared. Payroll Corp heard his front door slam. Six days later, he was still sitting in bed working his way through the checklist. He wasn’t feeling quite as stoked about his new job. “I wonder what my friend, Null Tables, would have to say about this?”
Moral: There’s a lot to do and it has to be done now (or within 30 days)!
Once there was a parade of documents. It was not well attended. At first. But then everyone was required to attend. Also, there were hats. These were also required. Someone sneezed in the back and the parade had to start over from the beginning. Lunch was pickles and jello, because there were at least three documents that forbade everything else. Crying children were, at first, banned from the parade, and then also required. Soon everyone wasn’t sure if the documents were coming or going. Had they stopped? Were they moving? What was the story with the goldleaf embossing on documents 17-b through 37-12-a? No one knew. Another parade was scheduled for the following day. All were required to attend. Except girls named Stu and owners of goldfish. No one knew why, of course.
Moral: You must attend the document parade.
Mr. Null had a problem. Everywhere he went, computers gave up the ghost. They just stopped working. No one could figure out why. His good friend Drop Tables had similar problems. Mr. Null hadn’t yet figured out how to buy airplane tickets and good luck signing up for Amazon Prime! It was funny, but he never could find his friend And Not’s webpage. Mr. Null did like backgammon, though, which worked just fine and the birds of the air and the beasts of the field were pretty chummy with him.
Moral: Sometimes you need to change your name to take advantage of all the information age has to offer.
When you sign up with the fable-teller temp agency, they issue you a toga and a pair of sandals (you get the honor of paying for them, natch). Also, an assortment of three to five animals to “listen” to you while you tell your fables. (The dirty little secret is that the animal trainers make easily double, on average, what the contract fable-tellers make.) Unfortunately, most of the time, there’s a real glut of fable-tellers. Just look around. If you see a score of bedraggled folks in togas followed around by weird assortments of animals (sometimes dressed in cute hats and/or vests), chances are good that your town is oversaturated with fable-tellers.
Moral: With so many fable-tellers, you’re better off going to the Sonneteers Agency across the street.