Chapter 15 A Voyager's Philosophy
"So where are we?" Jeff asked the familiar question as he pulled down his red and white striped shirt.
Phineas opened the omni as Jeff looked around, "Hollywood, California," he said, "October 19th, 1968, and its green."
Jeff tapped his arm and pointed to a sign, "CBS sound stage, Smothers Brothers Show," he said. "I think Steve Martin will be around here."
"That looks like him," Bogg said as he watched a somewhat older Martin exit the stage and take a seat near a trailer, alongside several reporters. "Looks like he's being interviewed, come on." They walked to the edge of the small group of reporters so they could hear what was said.
"You've had a tremendous amount of success in the past few years Mr. Martin, can you tell me anything about your philosophy of success?" one of the reporters asked.
Martin laughed, "it's funny you should use that word, philosophy, because I majored in philosophy in college, and it changed what I believe and what I think about everything."
Martin chuckled, "in philosophy, I started studying logic, and they were talking about cause and effect, and you start to realize, there is no cause and effect. There is no logic, there is no anything. Then it gets real easy to write this stuff, the comedy, because all you have to do is twist everything... hard. You twist the punch line away from the things that set it up." The reporters were silent so Martin continued, "if you're studying geology, which is all facts, as soon as you get out of school you forget it all, but with philosophy, you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life. You know, a lot of people come to me and say, 'Steve, how can you be so funny?' There's a secret to it, it's no big deal. Before I write or go out on stage, I put a slice of bologna in each of my shoes, it makes me feel funny."
"Oh," the reporter said in an uncertain tone, "well, congratulations on your success with the Smothers Brothers Show."
"Thank you," Martin answered, "I'm sorry, but that's all the time I have," and he stood up and headed back inside.
Phineas glanced at Jeff, "you thought the omni was wrong when it said he should choose philosophy, didn't you?" he asked.
Jeff sighed, "yeah, I couldn't see how they were connected. Well, he's on track, so I guess we can leave. Why do you think the omni brought us here when it's a green light?"
"Well, we saw him off track twice, so sometimes the omni will stay with a person's timeline for one extra trip, just to make sure it's really fixed." Then Bogg paused, "then again, sometimes I think the omni takes us where you need to go."
"I know you've said that before, but are you really serious?"
"Well, you've got this whole 'what's the meaning of life thing' rattling around in your brain, and here we are with another philosopher."
"Steve Martin's not a philosopher Bogg, he's a comedian," Jeff said.
"Sure he is. Anyone who understands something about the world can be a philosopher, they all think different things anyway," he paused, "or nothing."
Jeff ran forward to a stone fence they were approaching. He climbed up so he could sit at eye level to his partner. "Okay then, if anyone can be a philosopher, what's your philosophy?" he asked, staring at his partner.
"Me?" Bogg asked in surprise.
"I think the meaning is in people. To be loved and to love, and to have meaningful work. Once you've got those, everything else will fall into place," Phineas told him. "That's what I think anyway, and that's based on a lot of observation... and I do mean a lot."
Jeff stared at him, "it seems too simple."
"You're a philosopher too," Bogg told him with a smile.
"What do you mean?"
"Remember after my mother died when you squeezed me really hard and said 'this is real'?"
Jeff nodded, "yeah." he said softly.
"That was your philosophy. Simple, but pretty important. I mean, you might expand it as you grow up, but, it was the truth, and that's what philosophers are trying to figure out."
Jeff smiled and reached out to Phineas and Bogg once again pulled him in close for a long hug, thinking that Jeffrey would be grown before he knew it and probably wouldn't want to hug him then. He should take all the hugs he could get, and besides that, he never could resist the kid.
Authors Note: I know this story was a bit short on action and their red lights weren't always big things, but I'm hoping you'll forgive me. I've always thought Steve Martin was a comic genius and when I learned about his philosophy background, I just couldn't resist writing it into a story. I started out by wanting to give Jeff a solution he thought he was sure of, but that wasn't correct, to get him to think. Then, the story just developed a mind of its own and this is what I ended up with. Anyway, I hope there were enough positives in the story to compensate for the negatives. Thanks for reading!