“We really don’t care about the mating habits of ferrets, John.” Frank leaned in toward the group in order to be heard above the noise of the bar.

“Yeah, whatever, Frank. You don’t care about anything but drinking.”

“I’ll drink to that.” Frank raised his glass as the others joined in for a mock toast.

“It really was quite an interesting documentary,” John continued.

“That’s the problem with this world. Everybody watches a documentary and then they think they’re a stinkin’ expert.” Frank spilled his beer while trying to gesture with his hands.

“No. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the world,” Leo chimed in. “Governments. All that corruption and wasteful spending. It only attracts the power hungry in the first place. Eliminate that and people could make something of themselves.”

No one spoke for several moments, sipping their beverages. Serious discussions didn’t come up frequently among this group so no one was quite sure how to proceed.

“I think the bigger problem is corporations.” Chad, usually the quiet one in the group, choose to abstain from the frivolous conversations. Now that the conversation had turned to something interesting he was ready to add his thoughts. “Corporations exploit workers for profit. It’s a vicious cycle that in many areas suppresses the poor to the point they are trapped in their current state forever. On top of that, they tend to deteriorate local cultures in favor of Western civilization’s preferences.”

“Well, I would agree the main problem is not ferret documentaries,” John pointed his bottle at Frank and pulled a few chuckles from the group. “But I think the major issue is disease. If we could eliminate, or even reduce, the impact of AIDS, malaria and other diseases we could change the world.”

“I don’t know,” Chad interjected. “Even if you solve for ailments you still have injustices such as slavery and exploitation of the poor. What good is a healthy life if you don’t have a chance to succeed in the first place?”

“Chad’s right. The problems are compounded by government and corporate repression. It’s a matter of greed.” Leo pointed at Chad as he finished in a nonverbal request for a cigarette.

“All I know is we’re going to have big problems ourselves if we don’t get going.” Frank finished off the last few drops of his beer. “The concert starts at seven and traffic is going to be horrible.”

“Frank’s right, we’d better be moving. This show is going to be awesome! I don’t want to miss any of it.”

The group stood, gathering their wallets and keys. John headed towards the door as he talked, “So anyway, about the ferrets. Did you know they are born deaf?”

11 thoughts on “The Problem With The World”
  1. Spinning their wheels on a night off. Nothing truly wrong about it, it’s how some folks unwind. Many’s a person who thinks he’s done his part just by watching a documentary. At least he’s spreading the word about those deaf ferrets.

  2. You had me with your first line, what a hook! I really enjoyed how deftly you had a very serious message as the filling in a ferret sandwich, so to speak.

  3. Aw, this is just great! It starts off frivolous, takes a serious turn in the middle, and just when you think they’re on the brink of epiphany…they swerve back to the narrow constraints of their lives. Excellent snapshot!

  4. Great story.
    I could just imagine this happening down at the local pub. Starting with the mating habits of ferrets, moving to the more serious global issues & then finishing with the world shattering news that ‘ferrets are born deaf’!

  5. It’s always interesting where a conversation will turn during a few rounds with friends. The writing felt very real, like we were listening in on an average Saturday night. Nice job, Chuck (in boots).

  6. Nice. Though maybe it’s sick that I think an argument about the “worst” force of dehumanization is a hilarious idea.

  7. That was interesting. I liked how you how had the guy who’s usually quiet come out with the best idea.

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