0) An atheist said, “For a long time, I failed to understand how anyone could subscribe to the idea of intelligent design. Then I saw the sun sending down long rectangular rays through a gently clearing cover of clouds, and I realized that of course we would want to take credit for that.”

1) A tired person said, “People wonder why I am so tired. I tell them that I am weary from having fought so many battles. They look at me with scorn, saying, ‘You are no soldier, you have never been to war! You are just lazy!’ But I am a warrior at my core, for every day I fight a pitched and desperate battle against myself. I have always imagined that these scornful people must be fighting battles of their own; it astounds me that they cannot imagine mine.”

1 more) A nervous person confessed to a friend who was not so nervous, “Life just seems so overwhelming to me. I am very often unsure of what I should be doing with myself, or how I should be addressing my many problems. I feel so out of control, so uncertain of everything, and so afraid.”

The friend said, “I feel that way, too. What’s more, I have begun to doubt that those feelings will ever end. Instead of hoping for lasting relief, I have resolved to tolerate the discomfort. So much of life, I think, depends upon our ability to endure the uncertainty that you are describing.”

The nervous person became distressed and said, “I really hope not. I’m not sure if I could handle it.”

2 many) A perceptive person said, “Those who need help the most – I never seem to see them. I end up hearing about them, though.”

2 peas) A mercenary said to a politician, “Perhaps the only meaningful difference between us is that I will freely admit how similar we are.”

3 acts) A dramatic person said, “Good tragedy reflects the world. Good comedy could change it.”

4) The sign on the telephone pole beside the busy road said, “I’M HOMELESS”, followed by a telephone number, and below that it said, “CASH 4 UR HOUSE”. Many questions were raised.

6 carrying me) A person who had recently quit their job said, “Of course, I thought about not leaving – just staying where I was at, playing it safe. Then I looked out my office window. There’s a graveyard out behind the building, you know. People might be happier if they start bringing graveyards wherever they go.”

24) A cynical person said, “Take my word for it – most things in life have a twenty-four-hour lifetime guarantee.”

35 in a 50) A therapist asked their client, “Have you ever had homicidal thoughts?”

The client responded, “Why yes, I have driven a car before.”

60 or 65) A law-abiding person wondered, “I was driving on the freeway yesterday. The speed limit sign said, ‘65 MPH’. The police officer in the right lane was going about sixty. What was the speed limit on that road?”

69.01) A dressing room attendant agreed when a therapist said, “When someone is changing, it is best to be beside rather than on top of them.”

69.02) A budding nature-lover said, “I thought I would take a walk along a local trail, in order to immerse myself in the appreciation of nature for a while. I expected to find trees, birds, squirrels – that sort of thing. I did not expect to find so many middle- and/or upper-middle-class white women. Naturally, I appreciated them, too.”

37,878 as of 2018) A homeless person said, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.”

any 1) An aesthetic person said, “I do my best to see the beauty in everyone I meet. That’s why I try not to get too close to people. Anyone can be beautiful with enough distance.”

be 4) A wounded person said to another, “I have been rejected before. Why does this hurt so badly?”

The other person replied, “Because you have been rejected before.”

blasphemy) The sign outside the church said “LOVE IS PATIENT LOVE IS KIND ARE YOU?”

A heretic read the sign as they were strolling by and said, “Oh dear, they forgot the ‘HOW’.”

every 1.01) An angry person said to a calm person, “I can’t stand People These Days, it’s infuriating! How can you be so calm when everyone is so stupid and selfish?”

The calm person reflected for a moment, then said, “One time, I was angry and frustrated by the people around me, so I went for a walk in the woods to clear my head. While walking, I heard the frantic sound of chipmunks scrounging in the brush. At first, I was annoyed by the sound, the way it intruded upon the quiet serenity of the forest. But then I realized that the sound was part of the forest, and that my annoyance was, in fact, the intrusion. So I stood and listened for a while. And then I heard the wind rustling in the leaves, and I listened as the foraging footfalls of the chipmunks blended into the rustling of the leaves, as if the wind were trying to conceal them from discovery or danger. And I asked myself, if Mother Nature (cruel bitch that she is) can be so merciful, then why can’t I? There are more than a few chipmunks in my life, and they could do with a bit of wind from time to time.”

The angry person listened to all of this before asking, “So, which one am I supposed to be – the intruder, the chipmunks, or the wind in the leaves?”

The calm person narrowed their gaze, then waved a dismissive hand and said, “What are you babbling about? Go take a hike! You are disturbing my quiet serenity!”

every 1.02) “Do not shoo me away!” the angry person exclaimed, continuing to rant. “I am truly upset! How am I supposed to find the patience to deal with People These Days? They run around behaving like selfish children!”

The calm person nodded sagely and said, “Yes, children do require a lot of patience.”

“But they are not children!” cried the angry person. “They are grown adults! They should know better!”

“What in the world do you mean?” the calm person asked in amazement. “Everyone is someone’s child.”

humble.01) A proud person said to a humble person, “You have so many talents and virtues, and you have accomplished so many great things. How are you able to stay so humble?”

The humble person bowed graciously and said, “Thank you, you are very kind to say so.”

humble.02) “No, but please answer my question!” the proud person insisted. “I myself am virtuous and accomplished, but no one will acknowledge my greatness, and I know this must be because I am too proud. Please tell me, how do I attain humility?”

The humble person became serious and said, “Firstly, you must not speak of your own greatness, for others will observe by your boasting that you do not need them to praise you, and therefore they will not. Do not speak of your deeds or virtues; rather, simply continue to perform and embody them. When you are quietly in the act of doing and being, others will take notice, and soon they will be unable to deny your preeminence.”

“And then I will have attained humility?” the proud person asked.

“No,” the humble person replied, “humility is not a quality that can be definitively attained. It must be cultivated constantly, not once and for all. To do this, you must take great care when others begin to notice and praise you. When you receive praise, you must not respond with eager agreement, for this would be pride. Yet neither must you dispute nor deny the kind words offered to you, for this would be insecurity, or perhaps inauthenticity. Inwardly, you most do both: accept and reject the praise. Outwardly, however, you must express neither.”

“But then what must I say to the people who praise me?” the proud person wondered. “Surely I should not be silent – that would be rude!”

The humble person nodded and said, “No, you need not be silent. Simply acknowledge what these people say to you. Do not agree or disagree; merely thank them for their kind words. By conducting yourself in this manner, you will move closer and closer to humility.”

The proud person nodded thoughtfully, saying, “I see. You have given me a lot to think about. Truly you are wise, and generous with your wisdom as well.”

The humble person bowed graciously and said, “Thank you, you are very kind to say so.”

impo’tent) An impassioned person said, “Self-care is important, but it is okay to forget that sometimes.”

A passionless person said, “Self-care is important.”

Plato.01) A person said to an amateur writer, “Why do you write so diligently? There are so few who know about your work, and fewer still who actually read it. You toil in obscurity, but still you toil.”

The writer kept their head bent studiously over the half-finished manuscript and continued to write, saying, “If I were to stop writing, then I would have nothing for the masses to ignore. If they were to no longer ignore my genius, how could I be certain of it?”

Plato.02) The person shook their head at the amateur writer, saying, “But I still don’t understand. You know that your work won’t be appreciated, so why bother?”

The writer looked up in frustrated disbelief and said, “Because there are things that need to be said, especially if no one is listening! Good God, do you suppose that books only contain words while they are being read?”

Plato.03) “Besides,” the amateur writer continued, “it is very likely that my brilliance shall be recognized posthumously, as is the case with so many great minds. Socrates, for example, was outright despised in his day, but the passage of time and the dedicated efforts of his student Plato ensured that his wisdom eventually received its rightful attention and praise.”

The person scratched their chin thoughtfully and said, “Well, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone named Sockratease, but I used to play with Play-Doh all the time when I was younger. I never knew it was named after anybody, though – he must have been important!”

The writer dropped their pen limply onto the desk and said, “To hell with it – I shall become an attorney.”