He’d built an empire on his own hunched shoulders through a lifetime of calculated steps, and sheer force of will when those steps became stumbles. His sharpest weapon, logic. His staunchest ally, pragmatism.
Unfortunately for his wife, this didn’t leave much time for family. Or friends. Or any other sort of social endeavor.
She complained often about his lack of interest in none-work related activities. His response was always the same, “There are only three things you need to worry about in life, Gene. International currency systems, gingivitis and jet engine failure at 30,000 feet.”
This typically only served to agitate her further.
“It is what it is,” he’d say.
As an aside, these were also the reasons he vehemently opposed the Federal Reserve, brushed and flossed after every meal and never stepped foot in an aircraft.
Tonight, they were running late for their box seats at the local symphony. She’d already been waiting for half an hour.
“Fred, if it weren’t for me I swear you’d be late to your own funeral,” she groaned, as he poured over engineering schematics and financial projections.
He didn’t hear her. At least, he didn’t appear to.
This was the fourteenth symphony she’d made an attempt to drag Fred to, the fourteenth he’d promised to attend and the fourteenth he would ultimately work through.
The last he heard of his wife was the door slamming shut as she left.
Fred didn’t dwell on this turn of events. It’s not that he didn’t love his wife in his own rational way. He just viewed the world with an analytical mind. She left because she wasn’t happy. He wasn’t making her happy and he wasn’t about to change his ways.
It is what it is.
Fred Ferguson was not a bad man. He was a self-made man. He was a hard man. But he was not a bad man.
He knew what he had to do to accomplish his goals and he knew what would keep him from them.
As if the universe intended to reinforce this fact, Fred died on a Tuesday driving to his dentist due to a toothache while he fretted over the failing Euro. He was unexpectedly crushed by a jet plane that experienced engine failure at 30,000 feet.
With no one left enough to care, Fred was late to his own funeral.
It is what it is.
[Story inspired by Art]