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Driving on the Palisades Parkway out of the city, Joe looked across the river and felt a rush of warm tenderness for humanity in general. “People aren’t that bad, damn it.” Tears welled up in his eyes. Caught up in his own sentiment, he riffed on it, and fantasized that he was telling someone off: “America’s not that bad after all, huh wise guy?” He imagined this person pulling a gun on him, and he would intercept the gun like in the movies, and punch the person, winning a Rambo-like victory. He pictured the blood pouring out of the person’s nostrils, and felt a nutty feeling of vindication. It was like a mixture of nervousness and happiness, and was followed by a hollow, shrinking feeling in his groin.

Joe snapped out of his violent reverie and realized his car was trailing into the next lane. The SUV behind him high-beamed him and he pulled quickly back into the lane, but he immediately felt rage at the person for high-beaming him. “Fucking fuck!” he screamed to himself, his voice going hoarse. “Probably some fucking overweight Fundamentalist Christian Republican prick! Ruining our fucking country!” His mind flashed to an image of himself repeatedly kicking this person in the face.

Suddenly Joe felt embarrassed. He regretted that he had put the ‘Impeach Bush’ bumper sticker on the car that morning in a fit of self-righteous dissent. He felt contempt for the person in the SUV, but he felt like a bourgeois suckass in his Subaru. He vaguely realized that if he saw himself in the Subaru, driving by in another car, he would say, “Fucking ivory tower liberal.” And he grasped, without consciously articulating it, that his ‘lefty’ political sentiments were a kind of emotional fantasy – they fulfilled the same role as the Rambo-type stuff.

What did Joe really believe then – was he all just impulse and reaction? He switched his deepest beliefs on the drop of a dime. But then everyone was like that in this fucking country. Everyone was rotten to the core, even the kids are just overfed little fucking consumers. So much ugliness everywhere. At this point, he arrived at the ‘misanthrope’ fantasy: He would cut himself off from this shitty, lost bunch of losers and check out – live ‘off the grid.’ Nobody to answer to. He began to fantasize about how people would speak with reverence about him. People would come to meet with him; he would become kind of a sage. “I live for myself alone,” he was telling Charlie Sheen in his fantasy when his cell phone rang.

“Honey, it’s me,” said Joe’s wife on the other end. “Can you pick up 1% milk? And make sure to get the organic."

Joe dutifully obeyed and hung up the phone. The fantasies had played themselves out. He turned on the radio, heard the familiar theme of NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’, and felt content again.

Date Written: February 07, 2004
Author: Phony Millions
Average Vote: 3.8

02/16/2004 Texxx: I bet this guy is going to sell his TV.
02/16/2004 qualcomm (4): Who is this, Joe Cunnilingus?
02/16/2004 Jon Matza: welcome back evans!
02/16/2004 Mr. Pony (2): Okay, I get like this when I'm drunk. So it has a real ring of truth. Unfortunately, parts of it are sort of awkward, and the last two paragraphs serve only to stand up and proclaim: "You are like this sometimes," and "This story has the ring of truth". On top of that, "organic" and "NPR" are already a kind of shorthand for the underlying lesson of this story. I suppose that this is a really long-winded and technical way for me to say, "This short was a little too obvious." Another layer might have redeemed it, though.
02/16/2004 Ewan Snow (4): While this one isn't all that funny, it has a psychological verisimilitude that is refreshing and unusual in a short.
02/16/2004 senator (3): It seemed well written and somewhat entertaining. Not too terribly funny.
02/16/2004 Benny Maniacs (3): I agree with everybody, and am their average, give or take a point.
02/16/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum (4): I don't think you can expect the same cheap laugh from this that you expect from other shorts. The beauty of this (and other of its ilk by the same author) is that it manages to be amusing and have a sort of heady melancholic tone as well. It feels very authentic.
02/16/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: Still, this has so many of the Evans calling cards, I can't help but be a little suspicious....
02/16/2004 anonymous (4): I agree with Jimson. The point here isn't yuks. This is very good ideed.
02/16/2004 Ewan Snow: What, you think this is a forgery? A faux Evans? You're crazy; you've been hanging around Feldspar too much...
02/16/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: I know it's not a forgery. Cripes. It was a fricken joke.
02/16/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: If it is, though, it was you, obviously.
02/16/2004 qualcomm: she HAS been hanging around me too much. doing things to my thingy!!
02/16/2004 Ewan Snow: Now stop that.
02/16/2004 Ewan Snow: Okay, I admit it. I wrote this one...
02/16/2004 scoop (4): Pony's right - a little obvious. But so is Jimson - the evocative melancholy. Kill the last graf and have the fucker buying soymilk and it wouldve been better. But tis just too good to give it less than a 4 I think.
02/17/2004 Phony Millions (4): The mere association of Ewan helps my stock rise...I'll have to remember that in the future! This is, I think, a four star. As Jimson said, heady melancholic and a little funny. And Pony was right; it's a bit over-stated.
02/17/2004 Dylan Danko: I want to read more stuff like this. Brad, you've been missed.
05/15/2004 TheBuyer (5): someone should make you famous
02/17/2005 The Rid (5):