13​.​) The Yellow Eyes [iv]

from by Jesse Livingston

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At the bar that night, Roger was saying:

“That isn’t what defines meaning, Gerry.” When he looked up and noticed me walking towards them, he broke into a wide grin.

“Hey, Steve!” said Phillip, and there was something forced in his joviality. “We didn’t think you’d show!”

“Why not?” I said, sitting down.

Phillip glanced at Gerry and then back at me. He said:

“Just didn’t. Not… any reason.”

“So, Gerry’s been doing his nothing-means-anything shtick again,” said Roger, a little too quickly.

“He’s a real philosopher when he’s drunk, this one,” said Phillip.

“Yeah,” said Roger, “the way he goes on, you’d think he would quit his job and go full-time as a college professor.”

“Or one of those guys who shouts about religion on streetcorners,” Phillip added.

“Same difference,” said Gerry. “Everyone wants to be heard; everyone thinks they know what’s going on. Academia is just another cathedral. A man can make his way in the world without a college degree—just look at me. Of course, unless he makes a decent amount of money, like I do, everyone will always look down on him. Money trumps education. A self-made man will always get more respect than an educated one.”

“There are a lot of starving college professors out there,” said Roger. “Well, not starving. It’s the students that are starving. But being a professor is really a pretty good gig, when it comes down to it.”

“If you can get past the inferiority complex,” said Gerry. “I’ve known lots of professors who were completely eaten up inside because they didn’t have the guts or the talent to do what they really wanted in life. I’m not saying they should’ve felt that way, but they did.”

“Those who can, do,” said Phillip. “Those who can’t, teach.”

“Those who can’t teach, teach English,” said Roger.

“Very original,” said Gerry. “Anyway, you’re wrong. Some of the best teachers I ever had were English teachers.”

“Okay, maybe I misspoke,” said Roger. “What I should’ve said was Those who can’t teach, teach Creative Writing.”

“Yes,” said Gerry, “that’s what you should’ve said...”

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from A Thousand Lifetimes in an Hour, released December 21, 2012

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Jesse Livingston Denver, Colorado

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