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Best Philosophical Crisis Brought on by a Hirons Tchotchke

Hirons pharmacy is where you go for cheap novelties: slogany coffee mugs, retro lunch boxes and odd Ducks paraphernalia. It’s the humble retail equivalent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the growing clot of refuse that swirls in the Pacific Ocean current.

Hirons’ baffling array of chintzy trinkets serves as a visceral lesson in what to expect from late-stage consumerism. Maybe you go there not to shop, but to bask in the nonsense of it all. Maybe you bring out-of-town visitors there to prove that Eugene is still kinda weird. On just such a visit, your gaze falls on an antiqued wooden block with a message scrawled on it that reads: “Technology bring us closer to those far away, far away from those who are close.” You suddenly feel a little sick: Do I have any real friends? you wonder.

The smartphone in your pocket suddenly feels heavy. Your social media accounts prove you’ve got hundreds of happy, healthy well-wishers, but you realize you dislike most of them. And deep down, they probably dislike you equally as much. If your too-short life is really only a blip on the timeline of human history, then the point probably has nothing to do with Twitter or Snapchat. Your life is a waste.

Think of how rich you’d feel if you quit Facebook and spent more time surrounded by the people you love most. Oh, hey, look, an ugly pair of socks designed to look like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Existential crisis averted.

The cold sweat on your brow dries, leaving the skin near your hairline feeling itchy and tight.