AMES, IOWA—Employees of Solomon & Sons Distribution and Delivery are thankful that the open office remodel plan fell through last year following the fatal cranial explosion suffered by Mack Washburn, aged 43, last Tuesday. According to coworkers, the former Associate VP of Sales-Southwest Division was a mild-mannered bachelor upon whom they could always rely for his good-natured sexist humor.
Police investigators were stumped by what would cause a human head to combust into countless pieces. But the lead that cracked the case wide open came from women that Washburn had interacted with in the office over the past few weeks.
“He told me in the cafeteria, when no one else was around, that he wanted to learn more about feminism,” said Myra Gehrhardt, 61. “I don’t know much about it personally, so I asked my daughter because she’s in college all the way in California, bless her. So she told me the best way for me to learn about feminism—she didn’t believe I was really asking for a friend—was to learn about as many female experiences as possible. Sounded like a chore, honestly, but I passed along this website she gave me called xojane.com. I told Mack I’d pray for him and didn’t think about it anymore…Lord, now I feel so guilty.”
Charlotte Mullins, 44, told police that she noticed a change in Washburn as well. “He came over to my desk a few days in a row asking for aspirin,” she said, clutching her crucifix necklace. “I thought he was flirting but didn’t know how, you know? I guess there was something really wrong with him. Such a shame, I thought I might have finally found The One.”
But it was a personal journal entry found on Washburn’s computer that revealed the severity of his condition. Through the blood spatter and brain bits on the screen, lead investigator Deputy Roger Tillet discovered that severe cognitive dissonance may have been the root cause of Washburn blowing his top:
It’s pretty confusing stuff, the feminism. These It Happened To Me articles started out pretty heartbreaking. I’m reading things about women I’d never even dreamed of. Example: I had no idea that a woman’s negative self-image could lead to severe health issues (ITHM: My Body Hatred Hid a Major Health Problem from Me for Years) or that it’s unreasonable to think a woman in an abusive relationship is just stupid for not leaving (IHTM: I Married the Same Abusive Man Twice and Lived to Write About It).
But I’m confused, too, like I don’t know how to consider all these experiences as equally important. Like what I’m supposed to learn from ITHM: I Came in Dead Last in an Ultramarathon? Hell, I damn near crawled to the end of the company 5K 4 Kancer, so hat’s off to that lady for even trying, right? And the one about dating a fundamentalist Christian [IHTM: I Dated a Fundamentalist Christian], I mean, why not just say It Happened to Me: I’m a Straight Single Woman in the Midwest, you know?
There sure are a lot of these stories on this website. I really do want to take them all seriously, but maybe becoming a feminist just isn’t for me. These migraines are getting worse. They never used to happen before I gave this feminism stuff a try. Maybe it’s too late for me. Maybe I’ll just ask Charlotte out and be done with the whole thing.
Medical examiner Nelson Kagan has conferred with colleagues throughout the region to confirm that trying to fit too many women’s experiences in your head can be catastrophic for American men of a certain age. “Explains why most o’the swingin’ dicks in Washington couldn’t care less about women, doesn’t it? They’re just trying to survive, for Christ’s sake.”