John Mallory’s Autobiography


John Mallory is writing his autobiography. It makes perfect sense that John Mallory is writing an autobiography. People far and wide have heard of the hundreds of thousands of magnificent achievements he has accomplished, and everyone wants to know how he does it.

Here is how he does it: Every day he wakes up in the morning and accomplishes a goal. Then he accomplishes three on the way to work, does some work for a couple hours, and then goes on a lunch break. Instead of eating lunch, though, he accomplishes five more goals. He offers to punch back into work, but the accomplishments are so great and he is held in such high esteem that his employers usually tell him not to bother, as he had already accomplished more for the company than he ever could have done with normal work. The employers, with the full blessing of the CEO and the Board of Directors, amicably remove him from employment and send him on his way with a sizable severance package, which usually tends to be a quarter of the company’s entire revenues, or, depending on the state of the economy at the time, a little less but still fairly close to a quarter.

He goes home, he takes the bus and accomplishes only one goal, but makes up for it by suggesting goals to random strangers on the bus and suggesting simple ways for them to accomplish them. Then he walks up to his house and opens the door. His neighbor steps out of his house at the same time, sprinkles his lawn and waves hello to him. For his courtesy John always gives him the entire severance package. The neighbor has accumulated enough wealth to own twenty major Fortune 500 corporations, a fleet of naval warships which he uses whenever he wants to go on a cruise (he simply ignores the advanced weaponry), and a palatial mansion in every single country of the world, even ones with small per capita income rates. He is always happy to receive more every day. The neighbor thanks John and, finishing his lawn watering duties, reenters his house, at which point he usually bakes a cake for himself and his family.

John likewise enters his house, accomplishes a few more goals, and fixes himself dinner, very hungry after spending the whole day not eating breakfast or lunch. While eating he accomplishes some of the goals of others, over the phone. Then he changes into his pajamas, brushes his teeth, accomplishes something, sets his alarm clock for six-thirty in the morning, applies for a job to go to work for the next day, accomplishes something, aces the phone interview and gets the job he applied for only moments ago, and goes to sleep.

He has the same dream every night. He dreams he is a war refugee, his parents are shot in front of him by enemy soldiers in a prisoner of war camp. He is liberated after a while and sent to live in a peaceful country, but since he has no education he cannot find any decent work. He becomes a vagrant and spends what little money he receives from begging on whiskey (only whiskey. He tried vodka once, for the sake of variety, and did not care for it). Several years later he dies in an alleyway of pneumonia, with one hand on an empty bottle of whiskey and the other hand in the unbuttoned pants of another vagrant, who is also dead from pneumonia. He never finds out what the afterlife is like. He never realizes it, but while he is dreaming he cries in his sleep every time at exactly twelve minutes past three am. This corresponds to the moment in the dream when he loses his left big toe from frostbite.

He always wakes up, takes a deep breath, accomplishes something, and starts the rest of his day as he normally would. The same thing happens to him every day and night. The dream is so horrible it inspires him to accomplish hundreds of thousands of goals. The dream is so horrible it makes him forget everything he accomplished the day before. Sometimes he accomplishes new things on a given day. Sometimes he just accomplishes something he already accomplished and forgot. Anyone can tell you how many accomplishments he has made. No one, not even John Mallory, can tell you what he accomplished. And so, of course it makes perfect sense that John Mallory wants to write an autobiography.

You see? Everyone wants to know. Even John Mallory does.


All great men are brought into the world we live in, destined to one day leave it behind shaped into their own image, through auspicious beginnings, and it would seem that even John Mallory is no different. Though he was no witness to his own nativity, he gained enough reliable testimony as to what happened on that fateful night.

John Mallory, like all great men, was born of a virgin mother who miraculously conceived. His mother never really was one blessed with the entrepreneurial spark, and so before she bore John Mallory into the world she could not have told you if you asked whether she wanted kids or not. Well, of course maybe someday, but there’s so many factors to consider, such as the security of her employment, whether she wanted to plant roots in the city or perhaps move to a suburban or country setting, the political, economic and/or environmental conditions of the world she would be hoisting upon such a child should she have one, the usual such considerations.

It was on a day like any other for John Mallory’s mother when his father visited her. John Mallory never held much stock in religion (though he held massive amounts of stock in other enterprises, obviously), but he made sure to leave enough room in his heart for what he would later go on to call the Economic Spirit, or that being to which no greater amount of profits can be maximized. It was this Economic Spirit who burned with the fire of wanting to achieve, who, at a careless glance witnessed the sight of John Mallory’s mother, deigned to pull himself up by his divine bootstraps, descend from His celestial luxury apartment building to the profane service entrance that is our corporeal plane of existence, and woo the future mother of his child.

He came to his mother in a shower of gold, and saw her, despite her earthly beauty, living paycheck to paycheck, surfing some online-shopping site, ready to acquire things she didn’t need rather than experiences she knew she could value, and so rapt was she in her ritual of making herself not worth very much that she almost missed the divine sight sprinkling above her.

I wish to make an investment, she heard a deep masculine voice thunder above her. She looked up and saw three men, very sharply-dressed, you could tell they prudently spent more for a few but high-quality longer-lasting suits rather than many but cheaply-made and ready to fall apart. They all had very smooth skin with tiny pores, and really straight white teeth.

The first apparition spoke: I am the Most Holy Trinity of the Economic Spirit, I am Innovation, I am Hard Work, I am Dashing Recklessness, all at once, henceforth and forevermore.

The second followed: I am the recognition of the Eternal Laws of Supply and Demand, in my omniscience I can see all the needs of the hoi polloi, who every day beg and pray for someone to fulfill them.

And the third: I am, in my eternal puissance, the one true Idea That’s Crazy On Its Face But So Crazy It Just Might Actually Work.

I am in my aeviternity, I was in the beginning Lifting Myself Up By My Bootstraps, and henceforth I shall be ever Buckling Down and Getting it Done. I am one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration, my holy writ etched upon motivational posters in all offices, all classrooms, for all time. 

I wish to make an investment. I want my benevolence to trickle down from the divine to the profane. I wish to brainstorm, workshop, knock around ideas, and finagle together a child.

This child, this most holy scion of the Economic Spirit, shall go forth into the world and bestow my munificence to the private sector. He shall disrupt stagnant industries, shake things up and change things for the better. He shall find success in every thing he sets out to achieve, there shall be no conceivable obstacle who can stop my child, not without a little gumption and a lot of elbow grease.

You, woman, shall have my child.

John Mallory’s mother listened to the man’s annunciation and sort of replied, but it was not very clear to anyone, not even the Economic Spirit, whether she really did give her consent, so the Economic Spirit assumed she said okay, that’s fine.

Let it be known that my services, though they be divine, are not free. I am the Economic Spirit, and my time is valuable. I will grant you this boon only in exchange for a fair market rate. My rate is $251,312,000, which can be paid in monthly installments with interest and garnished out of your regular wages up to the end of your current life and including any and all eternal recurrences necessary to pay in full. You also agree to a non-disclosure agreement, and random monthly audits of all personal data, including social media, browsing history, genetic history, and thought history.

Again, John Mallory’s mother sort of agreed, not really under the impression that she had much of a choice.

So be it. I shall bestow my one and only begotten son to your care. You shall name him John Mallory.

She told the Economic Spirit that her last name was already Mallory, so she shouldn’t have too much trouble in that department.

John Mallory, my son who I love, shall have three boons from I, the Economic Spirit.

I am in my aeviternity the CEO of the Shineglow Corporation. Though you do not yet know it, John Mallory, you too shall guide the Shineglow Corporation to a golden age of maximized profits. You shall lead this company, whose sworn mission it is to sell any little old thing one might ever need for any little old thing needed to be done, to the shining city on a hill. Like portable grenade launchers. You will understand that people, in general, need consumer-grade grenade launchers. What if someone wants to knock down a wall to put up some new sheet-rock, but doesn’t want to spend all day with a sledgehammer? You will recognize the need people have for consumer-grade grenade launchers. You will sell grenade launchers to the civilian population. You will therefore be blessed with understanding of the great laws of supply and demand, it is done!

I am in my aeviternity the CEO of Vander-Graph Motors. Though you do not yet know it, John Mallory, you too shall guide Vander-Graph Motors to a golden age of maximized profits. You will see how other companies have abolished public trains and replaced them with single-person automated car railways, and you will get this crazy idea: what if we could get around without leaving home? You will think the self-driving motorized mansion is a crazy idea at first, but then again the idea that a whole mansion can drive itself on a highway, a whole mansion can park in a mansion parking lot, and you can go anywhere you want to without leaving home, is such a crazy idea, that maybe it just might work. You will invent the self-driving mansion, and soon everyone will be driving their own mansions around. You will therefore be blessed with great and disruptive innovation, it is done!

I am in my aeviternity the CEO of Space On A Jetski Incorporated. Though you do not yet know it, John Mallory, you too shall guide mankind to space, on jetskis. What if you could go to space? What if you could go to space, on a jetski? That is your destiny, John Mallory my son, and to achieve this great feat you will need self-confidence. I therefore give you my last boon: You will grow up happy, but a little poor. This will teach you the value of wealth. I will surround you with great teachers. They will be far more complex, far more interesting, and above all far sadder, than you will ever be. You will be boring compared to them, John Mallory, but their stories will inevitably end, and yours will go on. You will be just down-on-your-luck enough, just unremarkable enough, and just white enough, to grow up with enough self-confidence to achieve literally any crazy idea you come up with.

John Mallory’s mother replied that she was already white.

Hm. Something for nothing then. It is done!

The Economic Spirit vanished, leaving her with a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes in her arms, already quiet and fast asleep. There was no long pregnancy or painful delivery, John Mallory’s mother would console herself years later, so at least there was that.


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