I’m at the microphone for the first round of the 32nd Annual National Empathy Bee, and I can’t feel a thing.
Good morning, Alex. A man is sitting in a banker’s office. The banker says: “You have great collateral — I’ll give you credit for that.” Is this a joke? If so, why is it funny?
Press photographers in the front row dazzle my eyes with flashbulbs. The hotel ballroom stretches behind them, vast and dim, a fog bank of blurry faces. Mom sits somewhere in the audience, but I’ll never spot her with the naked eye from up here on the stage.
Fortunately, my brain implant has an image processing feature. I scroll through options in my mind, zooming, enhancing, upscaling. There she is, slumped on a straight-backed gilt chair with her “guardian of contestant” credentials drooping around her neck. The seat beside her, Dad’s seat, is empty.