insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child


Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]


Advertise Here

The executive stepped to the lectern, his stomach churning with nerves and the remnants of last night’s authentic Mexican food. Wonderful flavors. Wonderful and punishing, that is. This moment was shaping up to be a repeat of that theme. Investors, …...

[ Swap Article ]


Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you'll be a big-time celebrity some day. ...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

When Did I Become a Pushover?

I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]

Fortune cookie bad set. death and robber on paper prediction. Vector illustration

Filed Under , on October 27th, 2018

Imaginative Cookies

By Seth Kabala

The executive stepped to the lectern, his stomach churning with nerves and the remnants of last night’s authentic Mexican food. Wonderful flavors. Wonderful and punishing, that is. This moment was shaping up to be a repeat of that theme. Investors, the public, the press–if he could convince them the board had the internal control and governance problems fixed, he’d keep his job.

Option A: public adulation. Option B: unemployed and possibly imprisoned.

After the latest exposes on the company were published in the major dailies, accusations of malfeasance and violation of fiduciary duties were swirling like the smell of manure hovering in the air on an Iowa country road. No matter how hard you tried, if you were going in that direction, you were going to get some on you.

In the seconds between when he faced the press corps, and their questions/accusations/missiles started flying at him, he remembered something a wise philosopher had said to him the night before: the difference between telling the truth and telling a believable lie is imagination.

He returned to present, opened the door to his right brain, and started painting a picture.

 * * *

Ella was playing a word scramble game on her iPod called Word Cookies. The game gives you four letters and various sets of blank spaces, ranging from two to four spaces in each set, in which to place the letters and form words. To select words, you drag your finger between the possible letters, located on a plate at the bottom of the screen, to form an unbroken line on the screen. When you lift your finger, if your line forms a word, the word will appear in the set of the same size.

Ella was stuck, so I offered to help. The letters were IELM. One of them was extra. I determined this to be the M, which left the answer obvious to me, but not wanting to give it away, I decided to give her hints. The following conversation ensued:

Me: When you’re fibbing and not telling us the truth, what’s that called?

Ella: Imagination?

This goes along with the bedtime activity in which we’ve been engaging lately: watching funny videos on YouTube. The kids like cat videos, fail vids, and generally any kind of multi-clip funny mash-up. Their latest favorite pick from the pile is smart-alec kids. Here are five of the best ones we’ve seen:

1. Girl (11 or 12) opens a birthday present. Training bras. She jumps around, excited. A man in the background speaks up. “You don’t need that, man.” he says. “And you don’t need cigarettes,” she says. “So we all have our differences.”

2. Girl (3 or 4), looking at an Alexa device, says, “Alexa.” Waits two seconds, then turns to the camera and says, concern rippling through her voice, “She’s dead!”

3. “My life is ruined,” says a girl (3 or 4). “Why?” the camera operator says. “Because I’m hungry,” girl says, sounding as though someone ate the last bowl of ice cream on earth.

4. “Don’t take it. Don’t take it!” A little girl (2 or 3) says when an adult tries to pry a spatula (presumably smeared with cookie dough) from her grip. Pause. Girl looks at camera, teeth barred, and says, “You might get hurt.”

5. “Listen, I don’t take sassy girls in the store with me,” Mom says to her girl (3 or 4) who’s sitting in a car-seat. “I don’t take naughty mommies in the store either,” the girl says,” arms akimbo in a mini power pose.

These kids all have one thing in common: quick wit. This would help them survive in prison, but why go that route? Seems a lot easier to surrender the spatula than to hold on ’til the bitter end and wind up in the pokey. But what do I know? Maybe that cookie dough was of the gods?

I don’t advocate lying and calling it imagination, unless you like having zero professional reputation, one choice of living arrangement (12 x 12 cell), one choice of paint color (dirty beige), and eating food that looks like a reincarnation of The Blob. I do, however, think this has opened an interesting psychological discussion. It takes imagination to lie, but the end sucks. How far do you take the imagination game?

If you win, you can paint your walls whatever color you choose.


Leave a Reply

Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments Load Comments

Open and closed recycle brown carton delivery packaging box.

The Unboxing

Shortly after moving to Portland, I asked our office administrative specialist to order me a footrest. I asked for the footrest for a practical reason: lower back pressure relief. I have a stand-up desk. This works well to get my stand hours in during the day--Apple faithful, you know what I'm...

[ Swap Article ]

God character working on telemarketing vector illustration. Telemarketing, sales, business, marketing design concept

Let there Be Devices

We have over a dozen devices now, and the number is only going to grow from here. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Money eye bottle soda water isolated on mascot

Hydrating Water

Phil wasn't sure what caused his muscles to dehydrate and shrivel up into jerky encased in skin, but he understood the aftermath. His career was over. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Einstein - Think

You're Smart

We were talking around the dinner table about what it means to get a college degree. I said you pass a bunch of tests, and then they give you a piece of paper that says you're smart. I finished my explanation saying employers can rely on that piece of paper as evidence that you're smart. Anna, 11,...

[ Swap Article ]

Madre Greater than Padre

Madre > Padre

A couple weeks ago, Amy diagnosed and changed out all three fuses that controlled electrical flow to the outlets in our car. Super sexy. Super cool. When I say that Amy did it, I don't mean that I was standing on the sidelines, guiding hands and helping words coaching her to a successful solution. I...

[ Swap Article ]

Ben Comedy Main Headshot 2019 Lego Tshirt Hi Res_May 2019 Profile Piece

An Interview with Ben Rosenfeld (feature)

Acceptance and Current Events ...

[ Swap Article ]

Cartoon stick figure drawing conceptual illustration of angry man or businessman targeting with antique cannon ready to fire.

Bolt-Action Cannonball Sack

"Can you do the bolt-action cannonball sack?" Ella asked me today during bedtime. She was trying to remember the name of the move I do when I toss her over my shoulder and then flip her onto the bed. (I call it the fireman’s carry/toss.) Earlier, she was playing Fortnite with Will and must have...

[ Swap Article ]


Time Traveling Titan

At Toastmasters last week, the theme was National Velociraptor Awareness Day (a real thing). During Table Topics, one of the questions was this: describe your experience finding the first velociraptor claw. Tonight, the whole family is going to watch Avengers: Endgame. In the spirit of honoring the...

[ Swap Article ]

Customer icon emotions satisfaction meter with different symbol on background

Peaked Performance

I feel like the brain-training app Peak is a walking, talking (or, more accurately, a clicking, screen-time bloating) irony. The stated goal of this app is to improve your lifelong mental processing potential in several categories, like problem-solving and memory. The irony is that you Peak quickly....

[ Swap Article ]

Grunge green accepted word round rubber seal stamp on white background

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #21

On Easter Sunday afternoon, we took our kids to a trampoline/obstacle course park, but not just any ordinary park. This wasn't a collection of four-feet-across questionable exercise equipment in the trailer park's social activities room. (If we cobble together a bunch of small trampolines, we could...

[ Swap Article ]

Mad scientist holding up a test tube

Ammo Arms (part one)


[ Swap Article ]

Set, collection of colorful socks icons with different ornaments isolated on white background.

Waiting for Sock

Think about stuff you need to get you through your day. Does coffee come to mind? Of course it does. For millions of Americans and billions of people around the world, coffee, in its various forms, is a daily ritual. Not just a daily ritual--an hourly fix, as in you need to grab more black sludge...

[ Swap Article ]