Meanwhile, in the Depths of Space [III] – Fred Radlers, DDS


We enter upon the peculiar timeline of one Mr. Fred Radlers. Well, he actually prefers to be addressed as Fred Radlers, DDS (or simply Dr. Fred if you’re not into all that formality). Once universally-acclaimed as a top-notch oral surgeon and overall consummate professional, he doesn’t earn a living that way anymore, and most likely never will. Any friend or loved one (hell, even any basic acquaintance) of his will be the first to tell you–in an attempt to save you some time and sanity–that he’ll never let you forget that he is and always will be a masterful doctor of dental surgery. There are numerous theories floating around as to the origin of this personality trait, but it’s all conjecture (and makes for rather dull conversation anyway).

It’s commonly known that Dr. Fred once attended regular psychotherapy at the peak of his rat race involvement as a measure of forestalling a sizable psychotic breakdown (which we’re not sure was averted anyway). It’s quite probable that he used those sessions to unpack the underlying condition responsible for the inevitable failure to relinquish that irrelevant arrangement of capital letters after his name, but he has very clearly chosen to keep that information close to his chest these days. Hey, to each his own.

The overwhelming majority of folks facing Fred’s predicament would simply drop the professional distinction as a measure of removing any unnecessary hassles or hindrances from their overarching tranquility while they navigate the remainder of their compromise-laden lives, but good ol’ Dr. Fred has held steadfast to his vision ever since he made a promise to himself in a vivid dream involving the darling buds of May and sugarplum fairies in a strange kind of pageant/dance-off judged by three carebear-esque beings of contrasting colors (so you know they’ll be fair and impartial). I recommend that you don’t bring it up with him, unless you’d like to be berated with his ideologies for a solid ten minutes without the ability to sneak a word in edgewise.

Dr. Fred now spends his time as a rogue backpacker in the Belgian countryside, sampling magnificent beers along the way. His teeth remain immaculate.

Whims


Threatened marsupial populations instinctually flock to higher ground to avoid becoming dinner for frenzying snapdragon yarn munchers.

Most people will tell you that they obtained this particular knowledge from watching one of any number of educational nature programs, because they choose to take in the world through someone else’s lens, satisfied with a few pretty pictures and a soothing voice to assure them that they’ve made the right choice.

Well, I’ve personally witnessed this phenomenon on more than one occasion, and I’ll be the first to tell you that it is most certainly preferable to stay home and leave it to the professionals. I’m just plain tuckered out after all that adventuring and subsequent hiding from those malevolent snapdragon yarn munchers, the inconsiderate beasts. Take my advice, kid: we humans aren’t equipped to withstand Mother Nature’s whims the way we used to (when we had no choice in the matter anyway).

Cute to Be Clever


A clunky oxford comma won’t save your hide this time, youngling, I’ve personally seen to that. My crack team of professional writers and editors has just completed debriefing your current (and long-suffering, from what I understand) creative writing instructor on the grammatical and stylistic negligence running rampant through your work, and all she could do was shake her head. Apparently you’ve only ever provided her with “disjointed exercises in irrelevant futility” (her words), and haven’t even attempted to link your compositions to the innovative writers before you. You know who I’m talking about, those mental giants who made your layabout lifestyle possible in the first place. We are all appalled, to put it mildly. This will most assuredly sound harsh to you, seated right in the midst of the most comfortable generation, accustomed to automatic rewards for any and all efforts regardless of actual merit.

Sure, I can accept your indignation. After all, you’ve never met me and probably believe in your heart of hearts that this intervention is unwarranted, but listen carefully, buddy boy. Having written three iterations of the great American novel, I would say I have some sway in this arena.

Now before you get smart with me here, I’m going to level with you in the hopes of changing your mind (or at least getting you to listen). When I was young and impressionable, probably just about your age, I was perpetually writing my guts out and getting nowhere. My very finest examples of literary achievement were all uniformly rejected by “The Man,” and I had absolutely no recourse. It was the absolute darkest time of my life, let me tell you. It was only then, when every day seemed like an endless moaning trudge through a soundproofed cave with no entrance or exit, that I began listening to reason. I snapped out of my loathsome little pity party and made it my new duty to read every example of classic literature that I could get my hands on.

Some time into this ritualistic behavior, I once again took up the immortal mantle and began emulating these immortal techniques as though my life depended on it. Only after three solid years of daily classic consumption and imitation did I have any basis for penning my own opus, and even then, I had no idea where to start. Six more years passed before I’d amassed enough material to complete my first manuscript and submit it to all the most prestigious presses for consideration, and it was uniformly panned as “uninspired and unoriginal.” I’d spent so much time absorbing previously-written works that I essentially boiled them down into one book of derivative nonsense that felt like twenty well-known stories smashed together. Now, in this situation, where nearly ten years had passed and I had virtually nothing to show for it, you’d think that I’d just want to hang up my gloves for good, never touch the stuff that brought me so much abject humiliation and self-loathing. Well then, you clearly don’t know me well enough. It was then and there that I sprang into action, dissecting my 1,200+ page manuscript and reassembling it into the three seminal works that have buttered my bread ever since.

Throughout that decade or so of tedium, I circled around the ultimate truth of craft so many times that it eventually became my every thought: “nobody wants to read your overly-complicated contemporary stuff, so just write something vaguely reminiscent of the literary canon and pretend that you organically reached those concepts.”

I know that most young people will stand up and scoff at such a notion, but they’ve never lived through a dark period of endemic illiteracy. So before you write me off as just another handsome eccentric on your eclectic road through life, remember that you’ll never get anywhere if you think it’s cute to be clever.

Management


PLEASE DO NOT TRY ON THE FLOOR MODELS!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION! :)
-MANAGEMENT

I apologize, but I’m simply unable to consider purchasing this hat before trying it on to see how it frames my face. Look, Darryl–can I call you Darryl? Oh, it’s Steve? My mistake. Listen, Steve. I know what you’re thinking. I’m not really that kind of guy. Man to man, I personally would have no issue letting that floor model policy slide, but I have certain principles to uphold in front of my son, and smart shopping is right up at the top of that list.

I promised my wife from jump street that I would be an equal partner in upholding certain principles in order to prepare our Montavius for the rigors of the wider world around him. Now that she’s gone, I’m doing my absolute best to honor her wishes.

How about it, Steve? Do you think you could let it slide just this once? If it helps you make the decision, the natural oil content of my hair is pretty low. I shampoo it practically every day, which I know they say is bad for it, but it’s become such a routine at this point that I don’t even think about it anymore. Point being, you can tell your manager that their precious floor model chapeau has nothing to fear when it comes to my head.

-One brief storeroom chat later-

No dice, huh? And they wonder why brick and mortar hatteries are going the way of the passenger pigeon. Another perfectly good father-son Sunday wasted on account of out of touch merchants. I didn’t think it would have to come to this, but you forced my hand. Let’s go, Monty. Dad has no choice but to order a so-called vintage fedora from someone’s arts and crafts website.

I didn’t think it would have to come to this, Steve, and I know you didn’t have any say in the final outcome here, so I’m gonna level with you. I can tell that you’re basically a good kid, and I wish nothing but the best for you in the future. A bit of advice for you, young man: Don’t let the establishment stand between you and your happiness. Just remember that.

Brought to the Fore


Isn’t there a smugness associated with camping out in the corner of a neighborhood coffee shop, where the people truly don’t give a leech-tempered scrotum nodule about appearances–if you’ll pardon the indiscreet language–and even if they kinda do, it’s only surface level and they understand the insignificance of such a worry?

The answer does happen to be yes, but don’t you worry about wondering why such a question was even brought to the fore. All you have to do is sit in your favorite chair and estimate how many jelly beans I can stuff up my nose before the Willie Nelson impersonators have their semi-annual hair tie clearance sale.

Now,
all of our futures are riding on this predictive ability, mind you. You think I’m joking? Cute, Delores, cute. Just wipe that smirk off of your face and give me something–anything–to keep me from strangling this piece of string cheese. Why? Trust me, this shifty little dairy twine segment gave me a weird look just a second ago (while your back was turned, no less), and I’m just about this close to dancing the bifurcation mambo, givin’ it the ol’ squanta-manoo, tearing up the sheets and declaring war on the irresponsible regime impoverishing a resource-rich nation with a notoriously-underserved and widely illiterate populace.

You know, a beheading. Do I have to spell everything out for you? I don’t know why I’m surprised, It’s just like you to space out when I’m talking about capital punishment. You really remind me of your mother right now. I remember I would used to see her standing out on the balcony trying to count the pigeons down below on the sidewalk–67 stories above the ground–pointing out that they looked even more minuscule than ants, those pointy-headed fucks.

I know, I know, I’m projecting here. She never called them pointy-headed fucks, but she did seem to have a particular tone of voice when referring to those little exoskeletal drones.

At any rate, she’d be standing there on the balcony, looking down at the majesty below her–she should have been looking up–and that’s when the muse would visit her. One time in particular has been seared into my memory. I was doing my daily toe-touches by the open door when I heard her mutter “I really should have canned that giardiniera about a day or two earlier if it’s going to be ready for the September to Remember sockhop/bar mitzvah/charity ballyhoo, but that’s okay, because I have my man and my Delores.”

It damn near broke my heart, were it not made of secondhand galoshes hastily stitched together during Frankenstein’s monster’s greatest time of need.