Michael Skeptical Bumps into Peter Principle

Posted By on October 7, 2011

Peter (left) and Michael (right), trying to figure out what to say next.

The following manuscript was sent to me from a fraudulent email account somewhere in Bermuda. I have no idea who wrote it, what it means,  or whether it is worth the pixels used to print it. But I liked the pic, so I thought I’d reproduce it anyway. If anyone has any idea what any of this means, please comment and explain it. Likewise, if any bounty becomes available on the author, please inform me asap so that I can collect it to pay off some bills. -Ed

Skep. How do you do.

Princ. Fine, and you?  My name is Peter.

Skep. Pleased to meet you Pete, I’m Mike.

Princ. Principle.

Skep. What?

Princ. Principle is my last name.

Skep. O great [extending his hand to shake], mine’s Skeptical. How did you ever get a last name like that?

Princ. Beats me, mom and pop had a sense of humor, I guess.

Skep. Are you sure it was really them?  I mean, I study this sort of problem for a living. I’m a recognized expert.  Tell me all about it and I’ll tell you what it means.

Princ. You mean, like, a pseudonym?

Skep. Well, hey, the thought did occur. 🙂

Princ. Like that thing Justice Stevens was talking about?

Skep. Don’t mention him. I’m Skeptical.

Princ. You already said that.

Skep. No, I mean ‘I’m skeptical of Justice Stevens.’

Princ. Why didn’t you say that?

Skep. I just did.

Princ. Why are you skeptical about him?

Skep. Well, I believe in monuments in churches and names on title pages, you know.

Princ. You do?

Skep. Sure.  You betcha’. A monument in a church, the name on a title page, those are  the real deal.  We don’t really need to know any more than that, do we? Not to mention Return from Parnassus. Plus, no one mentioned pseudonyms until 1857.

Princ. Are you sure?

Skep. Of course I’m sure! My name’s Skeptical, isn’t it?

Prin. I suppose it is. So, if I were to question you further, I couldn’t  borrow it?

Skep. Borrow what?

Prin. Your name.

Skep. Of course not. There’s no authorship question. I’m Skeptical. You’re Peter…what did you say your last name was?

Prin. Principle. Spelled “p-l-e,” not “p-a-l.”

Skep. P-r-i-n-c-i-p-l-e?

Prin. Right. Why are you so certain that no one mentioned pseudonyms until 1857?

Skep. Delia Bacon was mad, Pete. You can’t possibly expect me to….

Prin. No, seriously, tell me why you are so certain.

Skep. I read a book on it. I’m a busy man. I can’t read everything on everything. That’s why I rely on experts to help me decide what to be skeptical about.

Prin. What’s your take on Occupy Wall Street?

Skep. O, that’s political. I don’t get involved in politics. I’m an intellectual.

Prin. Come on, just give us a hint, will ya?

Skep. I’m Skeptical, as you might imagine.

Princ. Do you have a reason?

Skep. Not really.  But, we can’t really believe everything can we?   Why do you ask so many questions, anyway?

Princ. I’m studying skepticism.

Skep. Good idea! Keep it up!  I may have a job for you one of these days editing copy.  [cell phone rings].  Oops, excuse me. It’s Roswell calling. Skeptical here, — yes? Ok……hmm…., I see. Listen, Pete, they’ve got a situation down there.  I’ll have to get back to you on this name thing some other time.

Princ. Sure thing, Mike. Look forward to it. Say ‘Hi’ to all the folks in Roswell for me.


About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


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