If there is one thing in this world that you can point to and say, "Karl Stanwell detests that thing right there, no doubt about it!", you should, I hope, be pointing at a fluorescent lamp. The honorable Mr. Edison did us all a good turn when he brought to us, the incandescent light. It is warm and glowing and mimics the sun and all that is right in the world, so long as you buy the right kind and don't go around trying to blind your family and friends with these new white scorchers. A soft, warm incandescent light is a good thing. But just as the grass is always greener, we've decided (back in the late 1800's) to go tinkering again and make worse something so good and so right. 

Germany as well as the United States each had their paws in the soup and if I knew more about the topic, I would no doubt find other guilty countries. Eventually, with the help of numerous scientists and folks who were very intrigued with finding alternative lighting even if said lighting was absolutely preposterous, a patent was handed down. It was U.S. Patent No. 2,259,040 to be precise, although there were other patents before and after that had to do with the success of the 
damnable thing. As I hear it, the first fluorescent lamp was sold in 1938, and ever since, we, and by we I mean they and by they I mean the weaker minded of the group from about the late 1930s onward, simply could not get enough of the disaster. There are not many places one can go and not be shown down upon by one of these lifeless dreadful excuses for illumination. As horrible as the things are, they are nearly omnipresent. The pipe. Now there is a fine invention. The first record of an Englishman smoking a tobacco pipe was in the 1500's. We've had a good spell to become accustomed to these lovely and giving friends who serve us every day. Sweetening the air and calming the soul. They allow us to consider our breathing, to slow down, and to contemplate. But how many of these wonderful inventions do you imagine I run into versus the fluorescent lamp? To tell you the truth of the tale would but send me into a tortured fit. Suffice it to say, the odds, not unlike my neighbors, are sad and ugly ones. 

Imagine my surprise when upon accepting a position at Kingly and Jones that my office came outfitted with these useless appliances. I immediately called for new lighting, after all, how in the name of Mac Baren's Navy Flake fine tobacco is a proper gentleman supposed to work with substandard conditions such as these? As I said, I called, however, not a soul answered said call. It was time, I reckoned, to do what was right, take up the slack, heave the burden onto my own back, and steer the herd to water. In other words, I went out and bought decent lighting instruments myself. Once the space was outfitted correctly with the suitable amount of soft glow, work could then commence. 

The reaction was immediate and rippling. Word, as it were, got out. My office was something to behold. You see, when one goes about drinking barely potable water for their entire life, and then receives a spot of Guinness, the world is revealed in all of her glory. Lady Godiva rides past you again and again, winking each time. Alas, the taste is not the life, and as with those fellows who feel they are not good enough for the good life which is already theirs, they go back to their caves with their horrible lighting and lists of excuses as to why they will not take up the torch and make their lives a soft, subtle and meaningful one. 

I am sure that my superior lamp-workings did more than just momentarily illuminate the hearts of a few coworkers. I am convinced that this outward display of an ounce of the good life has planted at least one seed of jealousy within the company. Not one week ago, a fellow twice my age and weight had business with me. He too worked for the company and so heard if not saw the glowing warmth of my office prior to this meeting. I am sure that the sight or knowledge of it and it's lovely state did something to that cold heart of his. It may have sparked a memory of a time when he cared about the things around him and they way the sun felt on his skin. It may have coaxed thoughts of those bygone days of his when it mattered which trousers he put on or what wine he bought. 

The reaction to my chamber was swift and immediate. The barbarian walked in and did the unthinkable. He, and here I'm using the pronoun as if the fellow is human although the jury is certainly out, turned the light switch on. If I were standing in a pitch black room, I might have said, "Ah, thank you. I had no idea where that was, nor how to find it. You sir, are my saviour this moment!" But you see, my office, already had light. As a matter of fact, it had good, balanced, considered light. Then in walks the unannounced executioner of ambience and buries his ax directly in the middle of my quiet environ. Leaving in it's place, a stark, sterile, emergency room kind of space in the moment of a split second. I stared at him. He was talking, I'm sure of that, but nothing was audible. The sheer shock and horror of the situation had me standing stunned, not unlike the time I had made the break on my first round of pool for the night at my favorite bar in town when the waitress, no doubt gathering all the nerve her mother and father ever equipped her with, said to me, "We're out of Guinness." Like I said, I was stunned, and unbelievably so. 

Eventually the man left, getting the idea that I had either became suddenly frozen or entirely stiff, unmoving and disinterested in the ill arranged words that were falling from his mouth. A duel then. Not to kill, but to cause the hand that did the dirty work of switch flipping enough pain and problems to end it's chubby career as being useful. Her name is Recompense and she is like the soft glow of morning or a low watt incandescent light, she is angelic. 

—Olie Sylvester 
Baron, International Oom Paul Society of Non-Typicals

AuthorOlie Sylvester