I couldn’t resist sharing this. [There is an environmental angle to this – wait for it.] While exploring the Freedom Trail and taking in the Boston sights, we came across a short story dispenser at the Prudential Center shopping mall.
What a neat idea, we all thought. I picked a 1 minute story, my wife Tinling a 3 minute one, and my daughter Zoe got a 5 minute story! Turns out that the quality of the story was not particularly great – mine was mostly a stream of consciousness piece. But hey – I am not casting aspersions. Producing good writing is hard, as I know well myself.
However, later, it occurred to me that the placement of this dispenser was probably the flaw in the entire “short story dispenser” concept [not the quality of the writing]. Rather than placing the dispenser in a busy shopping mall passageway, the dispenser should have been placed in a bathroom stall. Use it there to provide some reading distraction when people are doing their business! Just as in the adage that everything tastes better when one is hungry, this could even give mediocre authors an audience boost when bored minds turn to their work. And if the logical next step is taken, the short story dispenser concept could be turned from a win-win into a win-win-win. Immediate recycling or re-use of the short story for other purposes would create the trifecta of wins – for bathroom user, author, and environment! Score one for the environment!