San Francisco Institute of Possiblity


Fallen Cosmos Essay: Lazy essay

This essay while labeled “Lazy Essay” is certainly anything but Lazy

The Essay Contest ends this Friday at Midnight!

During the Vietnam War, I was stationed on a U.S. destroyer in the Pacific. One morning I was having breakfast in the officers’ lounge when the OPS (Operations Officer) dragged himself through the double doors. This guy was the archetype of a non-morning person. Still half asleep and bleary eyed, he sat down in his customary spot with a coffee and bagel. Soon however, the morning sun is blazing in through one of the portholes, putting a big circle of light right in his face. He’s squinting and taking tiny slurps and slowly coming alive like a bear emerging from winter hibernation. It’s a painful sight.

But then I see the zombie-OPS slowly pick up the phone and dials the bridge. In his familiar not-really-awake-yet voice, he says, “Heeey… it’s OPS. Could you… shift our barpat… yeah, one six five. Thanks.” And puts down the phone. Then he just sits there, squinting and waiting. Ever so slowly, I realize that the big, blazing spot of sun has begun to slide off the zombie’s unshaven mug and onto the wall behind him. After a few moments it clears his face and he blinks slowly a few times.

Watching from a nearby table, the brilliant display of laziness I’ve just witnessed begins to overwhelm me. By ordering the bridge to adjust our ship’s zig-zag patrol pattern by about a dozen degrees, he’s altered its course just enough to reposition himself in the shade. He’s literally redirected thousands of tons of steel and hundreds of people so that he could get the sun out of his eyes while he drinks his coffee. I am awestruck. As he fumbles with applying cream cheese, I am torn by the fear that he may never be fully cognizant of his own epic genius, since he won’t truly be present to the world for another hour or so. But just as he bites into the bagel, our eyes meet and he gives me a faint, sly grin.

This is not actually my story. It was told to me by a little bird who used to be a dragon (an antiquated term for a naval officer), in exchange for a candy cane. So I’m passing it along to you, hopefully in exchange for a ticket to Fallen Cosmos.



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