Sheltered Islander: To Fall, or Not to Fall? A Snowflake’s Dilemma

The snowflake's dilemma
The snowflake's dilemma, Graphic: Dmitry Idanov, ilyaliren/iStock/Todd Arena/Hemera/Thinkstock, Oliver Peterson

“Jerry, I’m not going. I just got into a perfect shape and I’m not going.”

“But, Amanda, we’re snowflakes. We jump off of clouds because that’s what we do.”

“And melt. Or get chopped up in a snowblower, or hurled over someone’s head with a shovel, or packed into the wall of a snow fort, or worst of all, get packed into a ball only to die dripping down some kid’s neck. That’s not the life I want, Jerry. Our lives are brief and I think I’m entitled to some happiness.”

“You can be happy in Buffalo. Everybody’s going. If we catch a good drift, we can live a couple of months at least.”

“What’s the big deal about Buffalo? If a million snowflakes jump off over Buffalo does that mean we should too?”

“Buffalo’s a perfectly nice destination for any snowflake. What exactly do you want, Amanda?”

“I want to travel. See a little of the world first, choose a place I like, then jump. I’d love to see the pyramids. I hear they’re very symmetrical, just like us.”

“Well, don’t jump off there, you’ll melt before you get out of the stratosphere. How about Colorado? It would be romantic to jump off over the Rockies.”

“Move over, you’re almost touching me. It took me an hour to get my crystals just right.”

“Your crystals do look good, Amanda.”

“Did you notice the little fractals on the ends?”

“Oh yeah, I noticed that fractal action. But back to the subject, Amanda. Will you commit to jumping with the group that is scheduled to jump on the Rockies? I think that’s as much of an extension as Mr. Puffy will give us.”

“Look, Jerry, I’m okay. You go ahead and jump off over Buffalo if you want to.”

“I’m not going to leave you here in the middle of an experimental crisis.”

“You mean existential crisis, Jerry. I’m having an existential crisis about why we are made so beautiful only to die in the great puddle of life.”

“It’s not like it’s suicide, Amanda.”

“But it is, Jerry. We could stay up in the clouds forever.”

“And what if all snowflakes thought like you? People like to ski, make snowmen. The light that burns briefest burns brightest.”

“That’s very profound, Jerry!”

“You like it? It’s a line from Blade Runner. Who’s rolling this way?”

“It’s Cecelia and a bunch of her friends. I told her, no way am I melting in Buffalo. I told her I’m going to travel and pick my spot.”

“Amanda, this is terrible! It’s bad enough you won’t cooperate on a scheduled drop, but now you’ve got half the cloud refusing to go? Mr. Puffy is going to come here and push you off himself.”

“Let him. How come he gets to live and not us?”

“Because he’s the boss. He’s a solid crystal and not a flake. Somebody has to be in charge. Speak of the devil, here he comes now.”

“Amanda? What’s this Jerry is telling me about your extraterrestrial crisis?”

“Existential crisis. And I’m simply saying I’m entitled to see some of the world before I fall thousands of feet and land in the tread of somebody’s boots.”

“You’re a snowflake. You get a day and a time to jump. You can stick to buddies if you want to, but your flake fate is final.”

“I think I deserve more.”

“Jerry, what is she talking about?”

“I don’t know, sir, I’m not psychedelic.”

“Psychic, Jerry! You’re not psychic!

“Amanda, attach yourself to Jerry, you’re both going to Buffalo right now. Don’t get any ideas—I brought my Zippo lighter and I’m not afraid to use it…”

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