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Chris Morgan

FACTS OF LIFE

Dear Nephew,

If you’re reading this letter, that means you caught every hint and unlocked every clue I left to lead you to this specially selected place at this appointed time, where and when the letter was to be found. Or you found it by accident from moving my bookshelf because there is no one else around to get rid of all my stuff. Or someone else got rid of my stuff, found the letter, and (hopefully) passed it to its rightful recipient: you! Whatever the case, congratulations, thank you, and so on!

Contained within this letter are the facts of life that I’d been meaning to tell you but could not tell you outright. You may think you know all that needs knowing about the facts of life, but here you would be mistaken. No one is necessarily to blame for this negligence, and you should not think less of yourself in having to come to terms with it. Some facts of life — the authentic facts of life — are harder to come by than others, like diamonds concealed beneath other less dazzling diamonds. It takes the right kind of moral fortitude and spiritual detail-orientation to get even a glance at their brilliance. These facts of life are the kind your mom and dad, had they themselves been made aware of them, might find inconvenient to the cozy white bread life they set for you. Consider that a disclaimer as much as it is a truth. The facts are as follows:

FACT: I came up with the idea of good and evil. This happened just after college. I was driving around in your grandfather’s station wagon, and it occurred to me that the world into which I had been raised and reentered upon graduation had been lacking in some crucial dynamic by which people might be able to distinguish those things that validate their sense of well-being from the things that don’t. Just how the kernel of the idea appeared to me is sort of a blur. I only recall that I was listening to Candy Apple Grey at the time and “Eiffel Tower High” just started skipping, and just like that the ground beneath me and the sky above me seemed all out of place and I needed something to put it back, or if not put it back, then to make sense of it. There followed many hours of brainstorming with the necessary solicitation, receiving, and consideration of feedback from others. I’d be lying if I said I was perfectly satisfied with the end result, but I also think that since its introduction it has been on the whole very helpful for the world, and I am proud of what I achieved.

FACT: I was the host of a crude version of The Bachelor. This was before the mansion, the lavish getaways, or even the hot tub. It was in a warehouse. It had a communal shower room, a pretty neat freight elevator, and CCTVs all over the place. It was very exciting. I was told it streamed online somewhere; we had hoped for a television broadcast but certain ambiguities with regard to law did not encourage production companies to help make that possible. While there are conflicting viewpoints on the nature of my complicity in the operation, my abilities as a host were never questioned.

FACT: I proposed that pizza be shaped into a triangle. Not the individual slices, but the entire pizza. I proposed this to multiple pizza chains, nearly all of them showed such interest that even now I’m confident it would have come to fruition and been a lasting success. Yet in each case, none would consider fairly that part of my proposal insisting that the pizzas should not be sliced. They didn’t understand. I wanted to upend the whole paradigm of pizza. Pizza would have become a collaborative process in which the consumer would play an instrumental role. Unsliced triangular pizza would fire heretofore dormant synapses of creativity. Dopamine levels would increase notably but not to excess. People would be happier and less passive. Pizza is a more reactionary venture than I anticipated. It’s impractical the gatekeepers of pizza told me. It would run through our economy like a tornado through a trailer park. But I would not compromise. The joy of the whole world was at stake.

FACT: I devised a bigger version of the Big Gulp; one that was still called “Big Gulp” but bigger, indeed, than the Super Big Gulp or even the Double Gulp. No deeper principle was driving this one. I never had a Big Gulp in my life, and I actually found the classic size to be more or less acceptable. I came up with the idea to give as a gift to someone who was going through a hard time in his life. I thought it was something he could use to gain a greater perspective. A Big Gulp that allows for still bigger gulps might just have an expansive effect that can be applied across many facets of existence. We can think beyond the paltry limitations smaller minds wish to set for us, is about what I was trying to say. I never did find out if the idea lifted him from his torpor, nor have I been to a 7-Eleven to see if my concept was put into action.

There are many more authentic facts of life that I could have told you at a far earlier time. But I thought it was wise to wait. I wanted to see what would remain after a certain point, or what I could safely set aside to make room for the most precious of the facts — the ones that were sure to perfect your armor of maturity as you set further along this crazy journey we call “life.”

These have been the real, unfiltered, authentic facts (of life). Accept no substitutes.

All the best,

Your uncle

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Chris R. Morgan is a writer from New Jersey. His Twitter handle is @CR_Morgan; his other work can be found here.