The World Takes All Shapes

This piece is part of a joint venture with James Clayton who has his own take on a conspiracy theory theme! Check it out on Jamazing Things.


“It’s probably really embarrassing.”

I don’t know why people preface things with that. If you don’t want people to push you to tell them something say it’s boring. Perhaps something math like. Tell me it’s about the current interest rate on your credit card. If you tell me it’s embarrassing, I’ll want to know.

I vaguely remember the start of the conversation. It was at a bar, he was a guy I had just met.

“Nothing’s embarrassing.”

I was, of course, lying. Lots of things are embarrassing. For example, I used to pronounce pancakes “panny-cakes”.

“I believe the earth is flat.”

I didn’t know what to do with my face. After pushing someone into sharing something like that, you want to remain supportive and comforting, but at the same time, it’s tough to deny what’s really going on inside your mind. The thing is, I’m totally positive the planet earth is round. I don’t want to sit here and imply those who don’t are wrong, because, well, you can’t say that. But, for the record, the earth is round. I settled for pushing my lips out and squinting slightly; my furrowed brow and slight nod hopefully saying, “This is a safe space and I am considering your wackadoodle idea.”

He pushed on and explained for a few more minutes why the earth was, in fact, flat, and why someone deemed this important enough to develop a detailed, generally accepted ruse.

I didn’t listen to a damn minute of it.

Instead, I poured over every second I had spent with this person, every sentence, every blink, and wondered how I had missed that they were so clearly insane. He wasn’t wearing a tin foil hat, he wasn’t screaming on a street corner. This was a person who seemed perfectly valid and… normal.

But he thought the earth was flat.

He had asked to buy me a drink; I accepted. We talked about books I was reading and he asked about my favourite classes.

But he thought the earth was flat.

We showed each other pictures of our pets. We talked about how he was saving money to go to school and do video game animation instead of whatever completely benign, run of the mill job he had now. He showed me pictures of his sketches. He was talented.

But he thought the earth was flat.

One of my friends eventually came to check up on me and I managed to escape. She asked what was wrong with my face and I told her he wasn’t my type- which wasn’t a lie. I never saw him again. Because he was obviously crazy.


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