A Series of (Maybe Not So?) Unfortunate Events

Some people are idiots. For those few who have not heard it told as of yet, Anthony Patti was one of them.

Some things seem to turn out horribly wrong with no sign of redemption. This, however, is a pernicious lie. The truth is that we are all blind fools, and like all blind fools are terribly short-sighted. In other words, there is a silver lining in everything. In other words, everything that has a sad ending actually has a happy ending. In other words, things are rarely as one suspects.

This tale is of this very last week, during which Anthony Patti suffered a series of most unfortunate events.

ACT 1 – THE SHORT-SIGHTED SCRAPE

The first unfortunate event of this last week was the most ugly fact that Anthony Patti ordered all his books from The Amazon Company an entire week ago, and none of them ever arrived. His studies were soon to begin, so you can imagine the pickle he felt himself to be in. Little did he know that this no-show parcel of penny philosophies was the least of his problems. As Shakespeare once said (or was it the writer of Lassie?): cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!

When Anthony Patti signed up for his courses for this academic year, he found to his chagrin (indeed, he turned bright red) that the noisom hulk of one class, the Basics of Film Production from the times three thirty to six fifteen, blotted out all other Film courses. And, oh how dearly did he need another film course. Alas, there was nothing to be done, so he sighed with resignation and looked to his four empty time slots.

Eureka! He recalled that yes, he was also a Major of the noble discipline of Philosophy! With haste, he filled the remaining four courses with Philosophy classes.

(Being a double film-philosophy major, Anthony’s schedule for the next three semesters was very tight, like a giant man caught in a very small life preserver. He had just enough time to complete both his majors, with no room left for the kinds of leisurely classes known in his school as Electives).

Meanwhile, the only classes that were available to him were twenty thousand level courses, so he enthusiastically filled up on them like a giraffe on meat pies. It was his understanding, so he thought, that his Philosophy Major demanded eight courses of any kind twenty thousand and higher.

Sadly, he was most mistaken. Feeling a strange instinct that something unfortunate was afoot, he looked up his Graduation Progress Page Of The Internet and discovered to his horror and terror that only one of his Philosophy courses was counting toward his major.

He then ran as swiftly as he could to the Room of Philosophy Requirement and peered upon its cyber wall for some sign of confirmation. To his chagrin, he found his deepest suspicions confirmed. The sage wall of the Philosophical Internet informed him (with the gravity of a sagacious philospher who is plummeting toward the Earth from a very high perch in a gravity experiment) that only courses of the thirtieth and fortieth thousand level will move him toward Graduation. He dearly wanted to graduate.

He then walked to his mailbox (it was one of those new variety that have electronics in replacement of a mailman, which is far better, for we all know that mailmen are creepy), and saw a piece of mail informing him that there was only one day to add or drop classes! Oh terrible ultimatum!

At this point it was nine o’clock at night. In that time Anthony Patti knew he had to hurl three of his classes into the dark abyss of Lake Lacrimosa, and pull three others from the deep, lest the Olaf of No Graduation catch up to him.

Political and Constitutional Theory he flung into an elevator shaft, and in its place took up the dark art of Film Noir.

Philosophy of Science he discreetly swapped for the more rigorous course of Philosophical Aspects of Physics.

Morality and Modernity he abandoned (morality with sadness and a look to the past, and modernity with glee and a shout to the future), and in their place he took up the Ethics of Kant.

ACT 2 – THE LOATHSOME LIE

For three hours before his desk he rocked back and forth, and like Jesus (or was it Marilyn Manson?) he cried: Eli, Eli, lema sebacthani. As he embraced his stomach to fend off the inevitable ulcer, he could not help but ask after his own stupidity. Why did nothing ever work out? Why did he now have to triple the difficulty of his semester, both in the challenge of his courses and the narrowness of his schedule? He contemplated deeply the problems of the First World.

He considered the series of unfortunate effects:

On Tuesday he would now be in class from eleven to six fifteen, choir from then until seven, and at a Cinematic Labratory until nine. Suffering immensely, he beat his breast like a baboon who has messed up his class schedule.

Now he had to return all his books to The Amazon Store and buy new ones. Writhing in pain, he wore sackcloth like a sack of potatoes.

Now, oh terrible misfortune, he was a week behind in his classes! He sprinkled ashes on himself like a man sprinkling ashes on himself.

Now he had to take a class on the disreputable Immanuel Kant, one of his least favorite of his least favorite philosophers. Oh, how he hated Kant! In profound grief, he prepared to commit honorable seppuku (like the hit pop record Opa Samurai Style).

To put it poetically, life sucked for Anthony Patti.

ACT 3 – THE ROBUST REDEMPTION

Anthony sighed upon learning a new lesson in trust, patience, courage, fidelity, goodness, joy, awareness of providence, using the internet, ulcer symptoms, [… EDITOR’S ABRIDGMENT…] and all else that is good.

Many minutes later, Anthony Patti was a different man. As he looked retrospectively upon his new schedule, he realized that his new semester would be in all actuality a cause of joy!

The Amazon Store’s tardiness indeed worked to his advantage, for he did not have to repackage his books and send them back whence they came, for, after all, how can one send back what one has not received?

He remembered that he only took the Philosophy of Science class for the Physics component of it, so now that Philosophy of Physics was his, he realized he was actually taking the class he truly wanted. Oh treasure of treasures!

Political and Constitutional Theory had been as boring as a class on constitutional theory, so it was not much of a loss. Film Noir was his favorite kind of movie to watch, so he was happy for that.

As it turned out, due to his packed schedule this semester, he was going to have room for the famed Electives upon the next year!

And as much as he thought Kant was a no-good villainous wax-faced invalid… maybe it would be alright. After all, everything else was.

The End.

A PASTORAL POST-SCRIPT:

All I am trying to say and show in the annals of Anthony Patti is that as much as one may think that things are misfortunate unfortunes, (whether it is in the short term like here, in the long term like many situations, in the far-flung term like some situations, or in the eternal term like all things in Heaven and on Earth and in Fiction) they often turn out to work toward something better.

I know this lesson seems cheesy and trite to the modern major reader. It is truly that. It is also, by coincidence, true.

We failed, but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a blessing.

– Robert E. Lee (Or was it Sarah Palin?)

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