Two players. Twenty-four pieces. Ages six and up.

Photo by Leonard Reese on Unsplash

I remember when I first saw it. The little circles, the square board… the little circles.

That’s right. I’m talking checkers. The toughest game known to man. And from the moment I first saw those pieces in action — the elaborate ploys, the complex stratagems — I knew I had to be a part of it.

It all started with this old man in my neighborhood. He would study the board for hours at a time, deep in concentration.

“What are you playing?” I asked.

“Go away!” he screamed. “Checkers ain’t for girls.”

But much like a piece in the…

If you get lost, please stay on the line as one of our agents looks everywhere for you.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Thank you for calling Multicorp. If you know the extension of the party you are trying to reach, we’d honestly be really impressed as our options have recently changed.

For technical support, press 1. It’s the same number as we had before, only the support isn’t as good.

For the good technical support, press 2. But you didn’t hear it from us.

To speak with a member of our sales team, press 3. They’re very interested in what you have to offer.

If you just like pressing buttons — and who doesn’t? — we suggest pressing 4 now.

Funny story…

When we remember everything, do we understand anything?

This article is from issue 3 of The Alpine Review, available now.

Artwork by Tim Lahan

Between December 2012 and March 2015, Facebook introduced the Year in Review, A Look Back, and On This Day — memory features that dig up old photos of you and your friends on the network.

But the effect hasn’t always been positive. Facebook received such bad publicity for its 2014 edition of Year in Review — its algorithm cheerfully displaying photos of dead pets and burned-down houses — that it was forced to apologize to offended parties and tweak its code.

As Eric Meyer, who was presented with…

Death by Apps

Smartphones are congested places. Not only does the home screen seduce you with apps by the dozen—each an enticement to a world of its own—but the red alerts appearing in many of the apps’ corners compel us to play notification whack-a-mole before we can even remember why we pulled out our phones in the first place. In such an environment, the dream of a deliberate, measured, focused digital life is forever lost.

As things currently stand, the user is tempted to 28 different choices upon first unlocking one’s phone. (That, at least, is the default number of apps on a…

Photography by David Zilber

The issue is rarely that we haven’t been precise enough. More often than not, the desire for precision is a symptom of our nervousness rather than the means by which we resolve it.

“It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact.”

Edmund Burke

From Parachutes: Instructions for Landing in the 21st Century

Photography by David Zilber

When people wake up in the morning, they don’t want happiness — they want breakfast. They want to see friends and loved ones. They want to chip away at their work. In short, people want the million-and-one things in which their lives are inextricably immersed.

When we speak in abstract terms like “happiness,” “delight,” and “satisfaction,” we mistakenly take people for egoists, always reflecting their intentions back upon themselves. But in reality, our desires are invariably pulling us outward, toward concrete things and people and projects. Constitutively oriented toward other things and only secondarily to ourselves, we’re altruists at heart.

From Parachutes: Instructions for Landing in the 21st Century

Photography by David Zilber

“Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd.”

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

One is not a parent, a citizen, and a professional at the same time, but rotates between these and similar identities dozens of times a day. Each identity has its own wants and needs, thoughts and feelings, tastes and values. Often at odds with one another, they vie for dominance within the individual. As Walt Whitman wrote, “I contain multitudes.”

One is not a coherent unity, but a teeming multiplicity — a swarm, a series of masks. Each of these personas has its own manner of being summoned.

From Parachutes: Instructions for Landing in the 21st Century

Photography by David Zilber

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where — ” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Though the customer may be imagined to proceed from an origin to a destination along a fixed, unidirectional path, the fact is that most of the touchpoints along this journey are subject to reversal, repetition, division, and omission.

The customer experience is less a linear journey toward a single and fixed goal than a nonlinear odyssey toward multiple, overlapping, and ever-shifting ones. One doesn’t move along a path so much as enter a field.

From Parachutes: Instructions for Landing in the 21st Century

Photography by David Zilber

“Philosophy unravels the knots in our thinking; hence its results must be simple, but its activity is as complicated as the knots that it unravels.”

—Ludwig Wittgenstein

There are thoughts that take you away from reality by indulging in their own logic, and then there are thoughts that, no matter how weird they might sound, help bring you back to earth. That’s what we understand by parachutes.

“What we do is to bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.”

—Ludwig Wittgenstein

From Parachutes: Instructions for Landing in the 21st Century

Photography by David Zilber

By omitting unnecessary detail, a map brings certain elements of a territory into relief. Indeed, since territories are infinitely complex, a map allows you to make sense of the territory in the first place.

Yet at the same time, a map only lets you read the land in a particular way. By bringing certain things into focus, it invariably puts other things out of sight. With every map, a decision has been made in advance — a line has been drawn — regarding what is essential and what is not. …

Eli Burnstein

Writer type (glasses, etc.). Pieces up at @mcsweeneys @tnyshouts @slackjawhumor @pointsincase. Website:

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