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cover image of Surprise


by Ulf Wolf


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   Not today
Before the beginning of time there was no such thing as surprise.By the way, by the "beginning of time," I mean the beginning of this time, the one that we're now busy living and dying and doing things in, the one we're currently complaining about. There may well have been other times, you understand—there quite likely were, in fact—with their own beginnings and endings and complaints, but our time, the one going on right now and the one we are concerned with here, knows nothing of these other possible, earlier sister times, if indeed they existed—which they probably did.Be that, though, as they say, as it may. The point here is that before this time began—this very one I'm writing this in right now, and the one you're later reading this in—before this time began, there were no surprises.Nor was there any stuff, like cars. Nor was there any matter to build stuff like cars with, nor energy to mold them, had there been some moldable matter around for stuff like cars.Nor was there any space for roads to drive around on in cars, had there been matter and energy to bring cars about with. Nor, of course, was there any time for them to travel through had there been matter, energy, and space to set their stage.Before this time began, then, there wasn't much of anything, anywhere—in fact, there wasn't any where at all, nor any when. There was just the one, timeless thing: Alphonse.Of course, Alphonse is now—through a long and intricate series of events that was nothing if not convoluted (and all conceived of and staged by the one and only Alphonse, of course)—this Alphonse is now, and for the foreseeable future known as God around here, but I am getting ahead of myself. And besides, I don't want to give you the impression that God's real name is Alphonse. It is not. It is Joe. And you had better not remember that.So, to recap: Before the beginning of time: Nothing. That's to say, nothing, nowhere, nowhen. Except for Mr. Outside-Space-and-Time himself: Alphonse.Now, Alphonse was pretty serene. In fact, one could be forgiven for saying that he was the personification of serenity, that he was nothing but and had been nothing but utterly serene for pretty much ever (I know, there was no time in which to be utterly serene for pretty much ever in, but bear with me).Okay, to re-recap: All we had, then, was Alphonse, and he simply was; and as I've implied, the business of simply being was a pretty serene one, so that's what we had, a serene Alphonse who had never been anything but serene, and who was facing (or would have, had he had a face) the prospect of going on being nothing but serene for ever and ever and ever (or would have, had there been any ever and ever and ever to be serene in). He was, then, this Alphonse of ours, facing a future that on the whole and upon serene reflection struck him (or her, who could tell) as boring beyond godly endurance; i.e., as something he did not very much feel like putting up with.

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Ulf Wolf
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Ulf Wolf (Author)

Ulf is a Swedish name that once meant Wolf. So, yes, Wolf Wolf, that’s me. I was born Ulf Ronnquist one snowy night in late October, in one of those northern Swedish towns that are little more than a clearing in the forest. Fast forward through tw...

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