Bob the Flipchart
The argument started in the box – Bob was part of a flipchart 3-pack and he shared space with his two siblings, Miriam and Filbert. Miriam was saying – and he really had no memories of anything before – that life began when flipcharts were bound. Flibert argued that life surely began before that, when the pages that were so integral to flipcharts were first made and cut to size. No memories of anything before the argument…that bothered Bob, but he didn’t as yet know why.
“You’re both wrong,” he said. “Life begins long before we take shape, when we’re just a bunch of wood pulp floating in a vat.”
“If that’s the case,” said Filbert. “Then what about pre wood pulp? Surely there was life.”
“You could make the argument,” said Miriam in her firm voice that Bob realized he found condescending. “That our lives began the moment the tree that became our life-pulp was cut down.”
They all murmured their assent. Personally, Bob didn’t want to think about how the life of a flipchart was dependent on the death of a tree.
Many mystics asserted that flipchart and tree were one, even if only one was conscious at a time. They were all connected in a glorious circle of life. Blah, blah, blah.
“Circle shmircle,” said Filbert. We do not die and become trees. It’s linear. Trees live, then willingly give their lives so that they may become flipcharts.”
“In a way, we’re their afterlife,” Miriam said.
“Which makes this… what, heaven?” said Filbert. Bob was not at all convinced that this wasn’t just a load of hooey to pass the time.
It went on like that for awhile and soon Bob dozed to the soothing sound of his brother’s and sister’s voices.
Eventually, Bob ended up on an easel in a windowless room near an easel with Miriam. Together they looked out on an oval conference table and a whiteboard. Neither of them knew what became of Filbert. Some days the room was bright and filled with people who wrote or drew things on their pages. Bob felt satisfaction in fulfilling his destiny. Most of the time, his pages would be flipped back, revealing a new page. But every so often a page would be torn and taped to a wall, or crumpled and thrown away. It didn’t hurt, but he remembered less with each lost page until he was unaware of anything at all.