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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


March 14th, 2021

Lucilius was feeling particularly lazy.  Far more than usual, which is saying something because one of Lucilius’ most prominent and often used definitions of life was that it’s a constant battle with himself to keep laziness at bay in order to achieve anything.  And during this particular struggle with laziness, Lucilius was looking around to outsource his responsibility.  He happened to be taking a creative writing course, for what purpose and use, he couldn’t for the life of him figure out, and he was currently staring at a blank word document in a vain attempt to think of a story that was due the next day for class.  He engaged in those nonsense shenanigans that a procrastinating human in solitude always resorts to: making strange sounds, contorting his face to represent fantastical characters and situations, and then finally, his procrastination was interrupted by the distraction of his roommate coming home.


“Yay, you’re home,” Lucilius remarked.


The roommate was clearly preoccupied with some thoughts, an ambient stress, and didn’t response other than the subtle cues a person will give with facial expression and body to indicate, ‘yes, I heard you.’


“I need your help,” Lucilius said.


The roommate continued with their routine of arrival, hanging their jacket and unpacking a knapsack.


“I need an idea for a story,” Lucilius continued.  “I have a due date.”  Lucilius was completely slumped on the couch displaying the perfect expression of laziness and a lack of productivity.


“Give me an idea about what to write about,” Lucilius restated.


Lucilius pathetically pouted his lips out and asked again with long drawn out words.




Lucilius’ roommate finally turned and paid him some attention.  “No, I am not creative like you.  I don’t even understand why you would ask me every week like this.  I’ve never given you an idea.  You’re barking up the wrong tree.”


“Well,” Lucilius said, “I don’t need a whole story, I just need a little idea, like a kernel, a seed, just a taste.  Then it’s really easy to imagine the story around the idea.”


The roommate seemed to just ignore Lucilius, while he pushed out his pouted lip even more and then smiled.


Lucilius did not stop pestering his roommate, until finally the roommate in a fit of desperation to just be left alone for some peace and quiet yelled “Tools!”


Lucilius was happy there was finally some back and forth, but it wasn’t enough.  “You can’t just say a noun!  You have to tell me something about tools for me to see a story.”


The roommate rolled eyes.  “You’re the one who is supposed to be coming up with a story.”


“I just need an idea.”


“I said ‘tools’.”


“But what about the tools?”


The roommate took out a can of soup and the can opener and set about trying to get a quick dinner going.


Lucilius in the meantime set about on the task to become even more annoying about his ask, becoming a broken record of demand, asking over and over.


The small tool came round the can to it’s start, but the lid did not pop off.  Instead the small rim that allows the opener to latch on clipped off.  The roommate lifted the metal hoop, looking at it and sighed.  The can still wasn’t open and now the opener would no longer latch on.  Lucilius’ roommate was tired and now aggravated with the obnoxious turn of events with an easy dinner suddenly a hassle and Lucilius going on and on like a child about wanting help.


The roommate lifted the can opener and spoke at it, but answered Lucilius.  “Write about a tool which makes it impossible to work when you use it because it doesn’t actually work.”


Lucilius sat up.  “That’s an excellent idea! I love it!”


“Good,” the roommate mumbled while opening the fridge.  “Now leave me alone.”


Lucilius clacked away at his story while the roommate finally organized something to eat in peace.  Finally sitting down after a long day, Lucilius’ roommate breathed easy, took at sip of wine and smiled limply at the meal.  While chewing a first bite the roommate noticed Lucilius smiling suspiciously.


“What?” The roommate asked with a full mouth.


“You realize you’ve set a precedent, right?”




“You gave me a great idea.  You were wrong all along, you do have good ideas, so I’ll expect another one next week.”


Check out the Tinkered Thinking   Reading List

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Podcast Ep. 1064: A Lucilius Parable: Tool

Tinkered Thinking

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