Though Pat spotted six, count them six, parasol carriers at ASU (a bastion of enlightenment no matter what Ned Flanders says) the Cosmodemonic Branch of the Parasol Army is to date, a tiny, undernourished force. Magi was the first to demure from its ranks, writing, "All I can say is no matter the size of the throng, whence I partake of a parasol, I certainly appear gay. I respectfully decline being considered part of the movement." It's funnier if you misread "throng" as "thong." My cousins Rocky and Brett like to position their brazenly bronzed arms next to mine (which look gratifyingly pasty in comparison). But Dr. Toe (he wanted a promotion) is the only one who has tried to co-opt the movement for his own obscure ends.

"I've got a good parasol you could use," he said. It's a big Splash umbrella. Splash is a product we sell here at Cosmodemonic. I learned what it did at some point, and remember thinking it was pretty neat, but the particulars escape me at the moment. I warned him that if this was a marketing strategy, it was bound to backfire.

"People will see me with it and say, 'Look at that geek with the Splash umbrella. We want nothing to do with that product.'"

Dr. Toe gets this intense look where he pulls his head back a little bit and his eyes get wide-you can see the entirety of both irises-so I said okay okay I'll give the parasol a spin. And except that it made me feel like a shill for Splash, it wasn't too bad.

When I delivered this appraisal to Dr. Toe, he got really excited. "YES! YES!" he said. Then he explained what had happened to the people around him with an enthusiasm I'd associate more with winning an Academy Award than getting me to walk around the block carrying his umbrella.

So now I'm suspicious. What did I do? Prove a theory? Win a bet? I've thought I detected Machiavellian tendencies in Dr. Toe in the past (which you might expect from a self confessed dihydrogen monoxide junkie), but was never conscious of being subject to them. But if any of you readers gained financially from me and the parasol, I want a cut.

Written by Sharon C. McGovern

From Vol. 20

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