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In the winter of 2014, I was sick.

Asthmatic as a kid, colds tend to move into my chest, where they morph into bronchitis and stick to me for weeks. What follows is a true account of events as I remember them.

December 15th. Around 3:00 A.M. Clear.

Outside temperature: 3 degrees. Real feel: -7 degrees.

<sleep-deprived/mucus filled/NyQuil floaty/half fever-dreamy me stumbles outside to take the garbage bin to the curb because duty doesn’t get sick leave>

<a Chipotle-big lone burrito is on the front lawn, bathed in moonlight, glistening with frost>

<I stop>

Me to Me: Is it a mirage?

Me: It’s not hot out here.

Me to Me: Mirages can happen in the cold too. Like on Hoth?

<I approach burrito. Poke it>

Me: Yep. Real burrito. Frozen solid.

Me to Me: Was it frozen before, you think? Or did it freeze out here?

Me: I feel like that’s at the bottom of our list of questions.

Me to Me: No other trash around it. No footprints. It’s like the lawn just grew it.

Me: Well, we know we’re not that lucky. Are we sure it’s not one of ours?

Me to Me: Burritos don’t make it out of the house unless they’re in our belly, compadre. Did we forget that we subscribed to some sort of Uber for burritos? Maybe they’re like paper routes now?

Me: I feel like it would be wrapped in paper at least, if that was the case.

Me to Me: Uber-ito…

Me: Focus. Let’s just Occam’s Razor this thing. Someone was walking by with this burrito, they tripped, it fell on the ground, and so they left it.

Me to Me: But it’s way far away from the sidewalk.

Me: Okay, so it flew far when they tripped.

Me to Me: But its shell hasn’t been compromised. No bites out of it. No innards in the grass. It’s pristine. Does that mean it was frozen when it was put here?

Me:Who really cares? It’s no degrees out here. You want to catch pneumonia next?

Me to Me: Who’s walking down the street carrying a frozen burrito, no package, no box, no grocery sack? A single frozen burrito in hand? Or a fresh burrito that they very gently place on our lawn?

Me: Remember that eunuch?

Me to Me: The universe started this and we’re not leaving without a decent explanation.

Me: Okay, so someone was carrying a half-empty box of frozen burritos, or half-full or whatever, they tripped, one got jettisoned, and they either didn’t notice or considered it ruined, and walked on.

Me to Me: Fine. It’s enough to go back inside. But this will haunt us. Now and forever.

Me: Just another ghost in an already crowded Coinstar, my dude.


Looking back, I realize two things: (1) that not overthinking would have meant just going back inside; and (2) that my patronus is a frantic duck.

But I wouldn’t say that overthinking is bad—at least not always.

I can think of plenty of friends in numerous situations where the overthinking they often give me shit for would have done them a lot of good. As Teddy Duchamp says, “A pile of shit has a thousand eyes. I do understand the absurdity of overthinking, but maybe in an absurd world, to overthink is to think at all?”

As my lifemate once said, high as balls and covered in cheese dust, “Your brain is loud. Would it kill you to turn the volume down?”

If overthinking is an art, then I’m some artist you’ve probably never even heard of. I’m that good.

H:H Overholt

Nikk writes fiction like Andy Dufresne tunnels out of prison. He can’t rewatch Office Space; it’s not funny anymore. He lives in a rye whiskey bottle that's also an Airbnb.

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