Refuses to Social Distance
We are living in a time of uncertainty, in which some have termed a time of fear. It is difficult to disagree with this entirely, but that just means that in times like these, we have to cherish those who display fearlessness in the face of crisis all the more. Just yesterday, our community acquired such a hero, and a great deal of buzz has already built up around him.
I interviewed Randal Penderton, the man in question, this morning in a local coffee shop, our chairs already helpfully positioned a respectful distance apart when we got there. He was a short man, well-dressed and clean-cut, with eyes that looked as though he wished direly to claw his way out of his skin. He was polite and friendly, and sipped his coffee with careful measure as we spoke. To hear him tell it, this was where it all started.
“I was just thinking to myself, I’d already lost control of everything else in my life,” Penderton said. “I can’t go to work, see my friends, see my family. I wasn’t going to let it take anything else from me, no matter how small.” He arrived early in the morning, just after the shop opened. His order was delivered to him via a quite ingenious pulley system. “As I sat there drinking my coffee, prepared just how I like it, I realized I was entirely unafraid of death.”
Following this revelation, Penderton went on something of a rampage. “First, I went about telling people how I thought about them. My boss, my parents, my siblings, my cats. The cats didn’t seem to care.” He takes a sip. “My boss did, though. My boss did.” It did not end there, either. “For a while I just wandered around, looking for something that might make me feel something, anything, again. I tried to punch a police officer, just to see what would happen, but it didn’t work because they all kept running away from me.”
It was while walking the empty streets that Penderton found his opportunity for heroism. In the line for the post office, a tragedy had occurred. A young girl had wandered away from her mother and had become trapped within a triangle of three people who were six feet apart from each other. They could not move without entering the space of someone else, and the girl could not leave without coming too close to one of them. Rescue authorities on the scene were still debating where to find a stick large enough to poke her out of the situation when Penderton swooped in and, using his uniquely caffeinated body to speed past anyone who might have wished to stop him, grabbed the child and safely chucked her into the arms of her mother before wandering back into the city.
When asked why he chose to go out for coffee that fateful morning, Randal replied with one word: “Spite”. Spite against a technically unalive organism may not seem productive, but to quote Randal, “You’ve gotta hold onto spite, even when you’ve got nothing else left. It’s times like this when more people than ever before need to know that they can cling on to spite, and it’s times like this when spite is the most important thing in the universe.”
To celebrate his good deed, Penderton plans to throw several parties for himself which he intends to attend alone. We wish him the best of luck.
Peter Tkaczyk is a third year writing major who fears nothing except Steve Buscemi. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.