The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive
 

Laura had a serious problem. She had been eating lunch at her desk at work, same as always, when she got the sudden feeling her soul now resided in the hamburger she was about to eat. She could not explain how she knew her soul was in the burger, it was just a thought that took up residence in her brain and would not leave.

Not sure what to do, she put the hamburger aside and tried to go back to work. Having robbed herself of her main source of protein, her stomach growled at her all afternoon until it was time to leave. As she packed up her things for the day she stared intently at the hamburger, now back in its paper wrapper, before putting it in her purse and heading to her car.

When she got home, the first thing she did was call her mother who was not home. Next she went to her laptop and typed "soul hamburger" into Google. She found a number of "soul food" recipes and links to local restaurants, but nothing about one's existential self being transplanted into a foodstuff. Feeling out of options, she wrote up a short Facebook post and went to make dinner.

Has anyone ever had a thing where they feel like their soul is sudden inside a piece of food they were about to eat? I know it sounds crazy, but it happened to me with my hamburger at lunch.

After making a delicious spinach quiche, she checked her computer again to find her post flooded with responses, 83 to be exact. The first few were people all assumed she was joking ("Too funny!" and "omg I am laughing into my (soul) soup"), but then more serious responses started to follow. One of her college roommates said:

This is not a joke, this happened to my sister. She ate her soul in a tortilla chip and has felt lost ever since. She lost her job and got divorced! DON'T EAT IT!!!!!!

While her cousin on her Dad's side said:

You have to eat it! Otherwise it will never be a part of you again! Google "animus discidium" for more info!!

As she typed those words into her search box, she noticed that the first suggested result was "animus discidium hoax" which she clicked on. Up popped a bevy of sites claiming that her condition was impossible and made-up.

One site claimed that since there was no God, there was no such thing as a soul and therefore no way this non-existent thing could possibly end up in a piece of pie. Another claimed that "animus discidium" was a condition made up by Psychologists to rack up treatment costs.

Laura had never seen a Psychologist before, and was reasonably sure she had never heard of this condition before it happened to her, so she trusted herself enough to believe it was a real thing. She went back to Facebook and scanned the rest of the responses to her post.

It seemed surreal to her that amongst those who did not think she was joking, everyone had a very strong opinion on what she should do with her soul hamburger. She divided the responses into a few categories:

  1. Eat the hamburger to be reunited with her soul (37)
  2. Do not eat the hamburger, in order to preserve her soul (22)
  3. Destroy the hamburger but not by eating it, so her soul could be returned (18)

How could all these people, who all had heard of this condition and seemed intimately familiar, be giving such opposite advice on the matter? And who could she trust? None of the responses came from people she was particularly close with.

Most disconcerting was when she got back up to the top of the page and noticed that 177 people had "liked" her original post. Clearly many of these people thought this was as serious of a condition as she did, how could anyone "like" that? Who were they?

She tried calling her mother again but could not get through. Hanging up the phone, she went and lied down on her bed. As she stared up at her ceiling, she thought about all the times she had ever wondered about the status of her soul before. Laura had never been a spiritual person, her mother was a lapsed Catholic and she hardly ever took Laura to church.

The only times Laura could recall were whenever an automatic door or paper towel dispenser would not work for her, she wondered if her soul was missing. She had been able to use the automatic door at work on her way out just fine, but then she remembered that her soul hamburger was still in her purse.

Hopping out of bed. Laura went and dug it out of her purse. As she held it in her hand, she could feel the weight of her soul pulsing with life. At this point she ruled out destroying the burger, there was no way she could do such a thing when she could feel something coming off of it.

Her instincts were telling her that she needed to eat it, but as she unwrapped it she was reminded that it had been sitting on her desk and later in her purse all day. She was not sure if microwaving it or heating it up on the stove would damage it, but at the same time she was worried that it had spoiled without being refrigerated. Of course, what was a little food poisoning if the alternative was she would be without her soul for the rest of her life?

Steeling herself, she closed her eyes and took a large bite. She chewed and swallowed, before taking another bite. Soon, she had eaten the whole thing and held the empty paper wrapper in her hands.

She felt nothing.