Training Films: Peter VS. Tiny Voice

Training Films: Peter VS. Tiny Voice

Fat Peter was determined to continue learning about the world, mainly for fun, secondarily to set an example for future generations, per the rules and bi-laws of the international think tank group at thinktank.org.

He knew perhaps it was too late for his own potential to be developed, but felt oddly compelled to develop a technique of knowledge dispersal designed for other fat, lazy idiots like himself. Over the course of weeks he codified a plan of action, relying on the willing colleagues at thinktank.org to act as intellectual springboards.

He had brilliantly identified the collective Nemeses: Boredom, Indifference, and a host of other cultural and anthropological traits that deprive one from curiosity early on. He quite heroically proclaimed to the group that if he prevented these Nemeses from subjecting future generations to years of self-centered loneliness, he MIGHT die a happy man.

But one night while flossing, Lard Ass Pete weakened. "I have no credentials," he thought. "I’m embarking on a groundbreaking intellectual pursuit, and I have no experience." 

But then a tiny voice said: “It’s your very lack of credentials and accomplishments that make you uniquely qualified for the task at hand!”

And oh how Bloated Boy Pete believed the tiny voice.

Praised the tiny voice.

Exalted the tiny voice.

But this only made the tiny voice angry.

The tiny voice decided to seek revenge at a later date.

After viewing a video file wherein a child was assaulted in the eye with a sharpened pencil, Flab Face Peter exhibited many uncharacteristic behaviors, including but not limited to: weeping, eating relatively normal or high-normal amounts as opposed to bingeing, anger displacement, projection, acts of genius, random memory recall and writing ill-conceived, intentionally misleading post beginning with…

<<This think tank is drivel. I say let the schism widen between the dull-witted walking dead and the vital ass-kickers like myself! If they don’t want to work for knowledge, let them devolve into sheep! Let their indifference be the shepherd! To heck with them! Indeed, what do you call this thinly veiled liberal nonsense we’ve been spewing?"

Dough Head Pete read and reread his tiresomely vacuous rant and was quite taken with it. After hunched consideration he added…

<< What is the real purpose, and its justification? I demand somebody to cite names and instances! Or else I must conclude you’re all deluded. Pete."

He hadn’t meant it, but the words were cleansing – or so the tiny voice told him. Peter The Great then slipped into an extra-large green bathrobe, and feeling skinnier, ate two bowls of S’mores Crunch cereal, prior to a restful sleep.

The next day he was eager to see how the members responded to his provocative, nimbly worded diatribe.

Post number one…

<<To avoid a particular label, Mr. Grease Gut Pete, our think tank deals with applied philosophy, ethics, happiness…things of that nature. What got into you? Was it a certain…video file? Jeez. Calm yourself. Triangle Hair Jimmy.

Post number two…

<< Allow me to apologize for my Fat Recruit Pete. His cantankerous, elitist musings are merely for show, I assure you. In fact, just the other day he was pointing out, and I quote “the troubling fact that there’s an overabundance of math in the curriculums, and yet therein lacking in classes entitled Productive Leisure or Ethics Of Everyday Discourse. This barbaric oversight on the part of educators yielded millions of alienated, unproductive, unhappy lawyers, doctors and underachieving business people…” or so Pete says. Fat Pete seems to be pulling a 180 now with his new pissy attitude towards our think tank and gifted people in general. Or maybe he’s just pulling our leg. Having a bad day Pete? It couldn’t have been the video file, could it have been? --Odd Gate Carl

The posts went down hill from there, including but not limited to…

<< Dude, that’s a good thing. Pain equals rock and roll. You want wisdom of the ages? Listen to the self-centered loneliness of Mick Jagger. Best regards—nanook el norte

But overall, it was Odd Gate Carl’s post that stuck out – he had been incredibly perceptive in pointing out that Fat Hair Pete’s angry post was “just for show.” Both OG and TH were right, too, he supposed, about the video.

Pete Undulating Breast reread his original post and felt it to be far less nimbly worded than he’d imagined the night before. Yes, he was sure. The note was downright cringeful.

The tiny voice concurred, gleefully. “Hooray! Peter The Fat does dumb things!”

To make matters worse, the next evening, the tiny voice had persuaded Pete to post an intentionally dim-witted email based on Nanuk’s premise about Mick Jagger.

Only one of the next day’s responders bothered to address him…

Au contraire, Pete Lard Cheek. We should express our ideas through writing of fiction, or charming non-fiction…far more efficient means of communication than the constraints of corporate pop songs would allow. Furthermore, the knowledge vehicles we administer ought to be perfectly tailored to meet the stringent criteria of each of our recipients’ personality profiles. --Sandman

The next few posts ignored Fat Pete entirely. Including, but not limited to…

Obviously I don’t facefuck the NY Times every morning! And I agree he needs your help to slam this home. I have faith that you can muddy the water on the Kosovo thing, and get him through the next TWO months. --TH Jimmy

Never fear, Isosceles Brain, He knows how to capture the imagination of the American idiot, I assure you, and there are plenty of loyal republicans, anyway. --OG Carl

But later…

True! By the way, looks like your boy Pete wasn’t the real deal after all. --TH Jimmy

I’m beginning to wonder… --OG Carl

Pete sadly closed his laptop and opened a book.

It was a well-regarded literary yarn, and the detached genius of it made him feel bored and useless.

“How could anyone ever care what I think?” he muttered. “Shucks, I could never write this ingeniously.”

He closed the book and opened a box of cookies, thinking good art is depressing, how it merely serves to reveal the mediocre in us all. He meditated on this notion while wandering around his apartment with a fake limp. The fake limp helped. At some point he began to chant “art IS depressING” in cadence with his newly acquired, intentionally odd gate.

“In what way?” chimed in the tiny voice, “In what way is art depressing?”

“Much in the way an attractive man depresses me…like I’m competing, instead of being the recipient of his beauty,” explained Large Head Pete.

“So you’re saying, metaphorically, that good writers are the men and the rest of the world are women? That’s your thought for the day? Shall we compose a new email?” asked the tiny voice, gleefully.

“Yes. I mean no,” said Pete Flab, and he began to weep softly. "Sometimes I’ll read the first sentences of a book, and then skip to the middle and read six more words before I know I just can’t… "

"Aww, it’s not your fault," said the tiny voice. "Not your fault that you don’t care about the eccentric aunt or how she wears her hat. About the hat itself, where it’s from or how it made the author feel. Same goes for the knick-knacks in the author’s aunt's house, or the way the shafts of morning sunlight streamed through her window, illuminating dust particles, making one feel like maybe there is a God."

"Well, it’s more than that," explained Fat Peter. "Sure, the subject matter is not always my cup of tea, but…"

The tiny voice interrupted, now angry, “It’s not your fault that you don’t care when or how she obtained the knick-knacks, the exotic places they came from. Greece or Spain, or some foreign town you’ve never heard of. You don’t care about Guadeloupe or Sierra Del Prego, the straw huts and poor, noble families, the way the flies behave! God, how they love to tell about the flies!”

“Please settle down, tiny voice,” pleaded Fat Skull Pete. “I recognize the literary value in most books, but I fail to appreciate it in the way it was intended to be appreciated. It’s my own shortcoming, I think.”

“For what it’s worth, I think it’s a longcoming. How your mind wanders. You start to obsess about, say, the word ‘knick-knacks,’ who invented that expression and why, what were the circumstances, etc. You begin to resent the author for throwing around a word whose etymology eludes them. You begin to theorize, while reading, that an old, hardworking Russian lady probably invented the phrase ‘knick-knacks,’ a horribly lard-brained guess, true. But then you convince yourself that this hardworking lady, whoever she is, would be more interesting than the story about the senile aunt in the fancy hat! And you’re right, I tell you! Right! And all this while you’re still reading with the other half of your brain.”

"I don’t think I’m right. I think I’m sick," said Peter The Blob.

“Damn right you’re sick…sick of reading lame, first-person confessionals, derivative noirs replete with flashing neon signs and sleepless nights, drugs and booze, Camel butts and what’s rotting in the refrigerators of failed artists. The stream-of-consciousness excesses, emptinesses, ignorances! The ridiculous, pretentious out-of-sequence plot structure…”

“We’re done talking,” interrupted Fat Saint Peter, “I’m watching Everybody Loves Raymond now. Please shut up.”

But the tiny voice soldiered on…

“Yes! You’re watching Raymond because it entertains you more than how the wind felt on the author’s face! Or the viceroy’s face! Or the dog’s face! What breed the dog was, if he was an old, tired dog, and so on! Don’t you see? That’s power, my friend!”

"No, power is power," stated Peter Glob Face, reluctantly, not knowing where this was going.

"Wrong!" said the tiny voice. "Power is not CARING that big executives are making deals over their porterhouses, sitting under big clocks that tell time in Tokyo, New York, LA, London, Paris, Kuala Lumpur. Power is not caring about Kuala Lumpur. Power equals not knowing what Kuala Lumpur is!"  

"Lost you there…" said Peter Bloat Man, turning up the tv’s volume.

“Good. Do that! Drown me out! Reminds me how when you read sophisticated works of fiction your hands fall asleep, then the volume of your own heartbeat distracts you and you start visualizing the squeezing and sucking of the bloody muscle writhing in your chest!”

“Please!” begged Fat, Fat Peter.

“But it’s good! Your own heartbeat drowns out the arcane and yet clichéd renderings and ramblings of broken homes, children coming of age, crusty old jailbirds. Broken, crusty, coming of age, broken, crusty coming of age, broken, crusty coming of age…”

“Enough!” begged Fat Peter Fat.

“And they’re sure to describe the damn tile while they’re at it. Tile, clay pots, window frames, clothes, food, lighting, and how a tree is. Fuck that shit!” said Tiny Voice.

“But wait,” said Peter Of The Lard Monsters, “just the other day I was reading and sort of enjoying that wonderfully descriptive poem about birches and…” said Big Soft Peter.

“Yeah, I remember,” said Little Danger Voice. “Allow me to recite your thoughts verbatim: ‘I’ve seen trees. They don’t do things or look pretty. They are pieces of wood with green stuff coming out little sticks. They just sit there. Until someone like David Frost kills them for paper, to record his narcissistic meditations on grout and stucco and dead bees, and – now that’s poetry”

“But that’s not what I believe!” countered Fat Pete Fat. “I can’t control my thoughts. I DO care about grout and stucco sometimes. I like things I read sometimes. I get frustrated or angry or happy, I suppose, like everyone…”

“But it isn’t on account of Grandma’s potpourri,” interrupted Tiny Voice. “Or the precious antique music box from the old country that smells like childhood spent in some town you’ve never heard of. It’s on account of the pizza’s finally here!”

“Did I order a pizza?” asked Extremely-Fat-To-The-Point-Of-Extreme-Gullibility Pete, punctuated by the Raymond studio audience’s overdone laughter.

"No!" said Voice Within Fat Man’s Head. "My point is that it’s always potpourri with the world at large. That’s all it is, descriptive crap – potpourri in a musty house, dead flowers attempting to cover up the smell of corpses. If someone like you would tell a story about the pizza not coming, I’d read it!"

“How banal! Go away!” blurted Chub Life Pete, and he began to weep again. “I wish I could be talking to someone – literally anyone other than myself! Am I schizophrenic? I should be getting drunk in a restaurant with a bunch of friends; or cranking a handful of little square pellets out of a gumball machine; or relieving my bladder; or anything else but having a heated argument with myself!”

"There you go! That’s more like it!" said the Little Voice, curiously. "Speaking in semicolons to boot!"

"Whatever," said Rotundity Peter, "Look, I disagree with most of what you’re saying, but I get the point. The point is…" 

"The point is, do something with your lazy ass," said Tiny Voice. "Start by trusting your reactions."

Both enjoyed a needed silence.

Then the tiny voice gently asked Pete Beach Ball Nose why he’s continually blubbering like a baby.

"The pressure," said Pete Large Large.

"From what?" asked Tiny Malevolent Voice.

“Lot of things. For one, I’m not the retired general Wesley Clark. If I had applied myself I could have at least gone to West Point,” said Whale Of A Man Pete, adding, “you were right there by my side when I pissed my future away. It’s your fault.”

“Yes. I admit some guilt,” Tiny Voice said, “but what about all I have done for you recently? The MENSA thing? Now look at you! There are worse things than being a rich man’s son, bucolically harvesting your B+ talent, stuffing your face with Snackwell’s while enacting a gimpy generalissimo fantasy,” said the little voice.

“I hate you,” said Pete Fatness.

“You may even be an A minus after all, or better, so cheer up! What say we volunteer for a nonprofit, be issued a teaspoon with which to relocate a small lake. Lying to ourselves will make it, like all things, tolerable!” giggled the little voice, stepping a bit over the line with his sarcasm into the realm of just plain mean.