The Novel in Short: After graduating from university with a degree in business, Dustin has a problem. He needs to figure out a way to break through the confines that the world has built for him. The confines of middling employment opportunities, family expectations, and the small imaginations of others. Luckily, he’s not alone. With his monkey sidekick, Dustin braves the hazards of the real world, demonstrating his own unique brand of hippy entrepreneurship.
Insuring Against the Apocalypse
Axiom: If you know the apocalypse is coming, find insurance.
The sage of Pompano Beach is giving a sermon again. In case you don’t know, the sage of Pompano Beach is an old beach bum who claims to have a PhD in philosophy from Harvard. He’s right in the middle of a lecture on something about the Stoics when his dementia (or something) hits and he forgets where he is and what he’s doing.
I sit down with him on the bench near the showers. He’s a golden brown color from long exposure to the sun with wispy white hairs and a beard.
“I know you,” he says. “We’ve met before.”
“Several times,” I say. “A friend introduced us. A smart friend. Reminds me of you sometimes.”
The sage shakes his head as if to tell me he might have known this. “I could give you a philosophy lecture. I have people who bring me food for philosophy.”
I ponder that for a minute: Food for Philosophy! There was a way to market that. It almost sounded like it should be on a t-shirt.
I hand him a turkey sub wrapped in tinfoil and a bottle of water. “I’m a regular, Roger. But no high-brow stuff today. I believe the apocalypse is coming. I don’t believe any of the really complicated stuff is going to survive what’s to come. I want to know your thoughts for preparing for it. The simpler the better.”
“Modernity,” he says. “Modernity creates efficiencies that push uncertainties further into the future and create the potential for large-scale catastrophes.”
“Yep, that’s what you said last time. You also told me about Progress Traps. Fascinating stuff. Now I need to know how to stay ahead.”
I think I have it figured it out. My portfolio is designed in such a way that it can survive anything — almost anything. But the apocalypse is by definition a nearly everything killer.
He runs his hands through his weather-beaten hair and says, “Live a full and happy life with no regrets. Don’t put off a single thing that brings you meaning and genuine happiness — not just pleasure — that’s something different, but real and genuine happiness.”
“Hold on Roger.” I suddenly get a business call from J.P., my monkey business partner. He’s having some trouble with one of our contracts — it’s some business venture involving advertising for clubs in West Palm Beach. We’re talking for several minutes when I notice Roger’s dementia starting to kick in. He’s already forgetting things. I can tell by the look on his face that I won’t be able to pick up the thread with Roger once the call is done. I’ll have to start from the beginning.
I might as well give up the apocalypse thought experiment for another day.
Then, it suddenly occurs to me how to insure against the apocalypse.
“Call you back in a moment, J.P.”
I hang up the phone suddenly.
“Roger, we need to hug, bro.”
“Who are you?” he asks
“Someone who needs to live in the moment.”
I hug Roger and he hugs me back.
As it turns out, in addition to being a world-class philosopher, he’s also a pretty good hugger.
**The Underground Novel is something I have been publishing in installments for a while. You can check out more here: https://www.wattpad.com/384227839-the-underground-novel-an-alternative-guide-to-life