I sat on my tall stool behind the counter in my parents’ music store, looking past my open history textbook to the dirty snow and paper trash blowing down the street in the darkening afternoon. A lone figure shuffled down the opposite sidewalk, past the jewelry store, and stopped on the corner in front of the drug store at the stoplight, his helmeted head cast down, waiting for the traffic light to turn. I scanned a few more paragraphs in my textbook until he entered, heralded by a chorus of automated door chimes and blown in by a gust of frozen air.

“Hi, Louis,” I said. More… “The Ultimate Currency”

CJ Bartunek lives in Athens, Georgia. Her work has appeared in Pacific Standard, The Big Roundtable, and other publications.



Philosophy is disappearing from our college curricula. Our students are graduating without first being stuffed with Plato and Descartes and Hegel. While we used to teach students critical thinking through philosophy, we have replaced the Socratic method with the scientific method. Really, the idea of 19-year-olds discussing Truth and Beauty and Love seems so decadent these days, doesn’t it? It certainly does to those running our universities. But that’s the best age at which to wrestle abstract concepts —  the world is new and terrifying, yet you’re (hopefully) still coddled enough to find the time to read Fear and Trembling.

When you’re 30 and your brain is preoccupied with mundane things like making money, cooking dinner, and doing the dishes, sitting down with Plato to contemplate the nature of love just for kicks feels a little absurd. I dropped out of college before I could get around… More…