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Today's Story by St. John Campbell

To sell soap is to pretend that we live in a world where absolutely nothing important happens.

Day Job

“Any ideas?” she asked.

“Be a clean you?” Mills suggested

“You clean up pretty,” Oliver offered.

She looked at me.  “Ron?”

I shook my head.  “I have nothing.”

She smiled.  “I know you’ve got something.”

But I didn’t.  I didn’t want to sell soap.  I woke up this morning and looked forward to my cup of coffee at the breakfast table and my glass of whiskey in the study more than I did “brainstorming” the perfect tagline for the Dove “Be Yourself Body Wash” campaign.  To sell soap is to pretend that we live in a world where absolutely nothing important happens.

I shook my head.  “I’m blocked today.”

She snapped her fingers rapidly.  “Come on,” she said.  “Just put something out there.  Get the juices flowing.  There are no wrong answers.”

Everybody was looking at me.  Some of them were snickering.  Beth is relentlessly upbeat, but she expects results.  I could still be a star, I was on my way.  “No?” I asked.

“Nope,” she said.  “No wrong answers.  What have you got?”

I took a deep breath.  “I have nothing,” I said.  “Only dust, slipping through my fingertips.  A godless universe where stars are merely balls of gas burning themselves out, a momentary interruption between the entropy that was and is yet to come.  The dark curtain behind which oblivion plays no games is opening and the nature of time is seen to be nothing but a shadow puppet without a source.  Our every emotion is just the braying of asses.”

I shook my head.  “But, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe ‘Get into your own skin’ would really work for this soap product.  The fact that you’re going to pay me for this proves we live in a meaningless universe,  our lives incapable of being anything but a punch line.”

The table was quiet.  “Yeah,” she said.  “That’s not bad.”  She looked around the conference table.  “’Get into your own skin’ – can anybody do better?”

“Well,” said Arnold, “I’m on Paxil.  How about:  ‘See Yourself;  Love Yourself?”

Beth shook her head.  “That’s the message, but it’s not catchy.  Keep trying.”


St. John Campbell is a pseudonym

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