STOLL/Proposal for What is the nature of freedom ©2006. firstname.lastname@example.org
Why did you ride a bicycle around the world?
Lounging on a couch that looked and
smelled like old newspapers, I drank bitter ice
beer because it had the highest alcohol to
expense ratio. The shades were drawn and the
hypnotic, blue flicker of mind-numbing
television flooded the apartment. This was my
home remedy for depression. A week ago, just
before Christmas, my girlfriend dumped me.
Her words echoed in my mind, "I love you, but I don't like you."
With a rattle and a puff of mildew and pet dander, the front door swung open. "What are
you doing home?" my best friend, Pete, asked. Eight months ago, we had moved to
Washington, DC, with dreams of shedding our Midwestern, corn-fed roots. We planned to
climb the social ladder by dating rich, famous and powerful women, and to climb the corporate
ladder by working harder, faster and smarter than everyone else.
"I got fired today," I said despondently.
"I went into my boss's office to wish him a happy New Year and he said, `I've been in this
business for thirty years, and -- I have to be honest -- for your own good -- I've never seen
an art director as bad as you.'"
"Is that true?"
"Everyone seems to think so."
"Did you tell him about Mary Ann? That chick was sexually harassing you. I told you to
watch your back. You can't trust anyone."
"No. I think she orchestrated this," I sigh and look to Pete for sympathy, but he hangs his
head sheepishly and looks at me with worried eyes. "What? Why are you looking at me like
"There's something I need to tell you.... I eloped." I chug my beer, and he fidgets, as if
waiting for me to pronounce judgment.