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The Others

This is a story. It is not real. I’m not inclined to be so negative about the educational system. The point of the story is simply an exercise for me. A way to develop a character hard, then, later, I’ll soften that same character. It is simply an exercise.

She considered him and all those others as experiments, still human, still with souls, but not quite able to fully function. Then there were the ones who were certifiably not. Not able to function. Institutionalized. She enjoyed them best, because the label was stuck on each by a trusted authority — not just one person, but the state. With them she had the autonomy to practice her opinion of “the others” without judgment. And when they challenged her, they were wrong—wrong because they simply did not have the capacity to act from a healthy frame of mind.

“Hey, I know, let’s structure society in a way that people grow up to be worthless, unthinking adults and then put ourselves in positions of authority so they will pay us big bucks to protect them from their ignorance,” one of her cohorts sang out at a weekly Tuesday meeting.

It was a wonderful idea, a way to ensure they all had salaries and pensions and could go on trips to Europe in their old age.

And it gave them all a break from those nasty mental institution jobs. They could mingle in society and be above it. They could fail students, ruin them, mentor a few, still without judgment. Because they were in charge.

“So we are the judges? We set the expectations?” She asked in a moment of uncertainty, eyes still set on becoming an untouchable tenured professor. “Isn’t that what we teach there is not?” Silence filled the room. “That bullshit is reserved for the others.” They all nodded to the one bestowed with tenure, then effortlessly, just as they approach experimenting with the minds of those “others,” pushed their chairs back and left the room.

He challenged her ability. He was supposed to have been an experiment. Yes, he had a soul, and yes, he was functioning. Just not as well as she thought. He understood too rapidly. He understood a little too much. He applied it, fully. He wasn’t supposed to apply it. Not to that extreme. Not everyone in academia wanted their theories to be applied fully. If so, then a new theory would evolve, fixing, adding to, and even replacing the old ones, the ones that sat in the cloud on a thesis that real blood, sweat, and tears were shed over for many years, and of which is carrying a finance fee well into the writer’s mid-age. And which was produced amidst the struggle of breaking out of the cupboard with the “others.”

At first, she didn’t want to see her theories applied like he was, uncontrollably, now, doing. But she let it happen. It was as simple as that. Just letting it happen. Not judging, not expecting, just letting it flow. “That bullshit,” she told herself, was for her too.

Chris Plante

October 19, 2018

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