The Ghost

Once, a ghost grew tired of his idle life and decided to take up a trade. In the graveyard one evening, he heard a drunken preacher with a whisky bottle lecturing a tombstone on the inability of ghosts to teach anything to humanity. This sounded fair to the ghost. Most of his comrades were indeed inept at communicating and always resorted to clumsily shaking chairs, moving coffee cups and saltshakers or jangling chains just to ask for simple things like butter and sugar or hypoallergenic candles. It was positively irritating. The ghost went off to the municipal library to find something to teach. While haunting the library one rainy winter, he read a great number of books and decided which subjects to teach to humanity, subjects which his ghostly experience might illumimate in a special way. There would be lectures in phrenology, philosophy of mind, information science, creative anthropology, dromosophical nonfiction, ostrogothica, hydrotaphia, klecksographical design, pneumatology, paleography, paleontology, thanatology and eschatology. Excited, the ghost found an abandoned townhouse, outfitted it with blackboards, large writing desks and some theatre chairs. Then he found some old lamps, a piano and other random equipment. He also built a laboratory in the basement. For months he taught, but most of the humans who dropped by—skaters, goth girls, derelicts, urban photographers, intoxicated priests, party animals dressed as animals, monsters dressed as monsters, strangers with shopping carts, and thieves with crescent wrenches—dropped out after a class or two. Some even dropped dead, much to his horror. One day, as he was staying up late to write his lesson plan on his newly invented discipline of nonphrenology–which was really an interdisciplinary approach to all of his favourite subjects—the ghost was visited by a friendly departed spirit, one of the goth girls who had attended a lecture or two. When he asked her why the lectures were not successful, she said she had no idea that they were lectures and even now had little hope of understanding what he was talking about. Everyone had assumed that they were late night horror and magic shows: chalk magically writing on chalkboards, incomprehensible treatises being passed out to students by an invisible body, ink blots randomly appearing, a player piano without a mechanism, old lamps that turned themselves on and off, creepy hands suddenly feeling the skulls in the audience and a disembodied voice spewing nonsense or reciting endless verses of ostrogothica. Of course! the ghost exclaimed. In his excitement about the various disciplines, he had forgotten to overcome the very problem he had observed in his fellow ghosts. The ghost felt dejected. The goth girl kissed him and asked if they were allowed to date now, since she was no longer his student. The ghost said it was possible, but first he would like some whisky.

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