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A Conversation This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I know everything there is to know about Sigmund Freud,” he said. “He’s my hero.”

“Really?” I asked, happy that he had finally shut up about his Lexus.

“Yes, ask me anything,” he challenged.

“Okay, who was his tailor?”

“What?”

“You know, who made his suits for him?”

“Uh, I don’t know,” he stammered uncomfortably.

“Or, how about, how big was his house? Did he furnish it with real antiques or cheap Toscano knock-offs? Did he drive a nice car? Exactly how elite was the college he went to?”

“I don’t know!” he exclaimed. “I only know the things that matter!”

“Oh, you mean like his theories on human behavior and the contributions he made to modern psychiatric medicine? That sort of thing?”

“Exactly,” he said.

We sat in uncomfortable silence for a moment as I contemplated pointing out that he had been bragging all evening about the very things he had just brushed off as irrelevant. He had expensive clothes, a big house full of “real” furniture, and drove a Lexus. He was planning on attending an Ivy League school. He had encouraged me to order the lobster. But I had no idea who he was, what he had contributed to society. He was worth a lot now. He would be worth a lot in 20 years. But how much would he be worth 100 years after he was dead?

Anyway, that’s kind of heavy for a first date (and I was already convinced, a last date), so instead I just told him that my hero was Henry David Thoreau. He isn’t, actually, but I was trying to make a point.

“Really,” he said, uninterested.

“Yeah. Do you know what Thoreau once said?”

“What?”

“He said that ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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