Guys, we have no idea where we are and we’re running low on water. Now is the time to think of a way to survive this ordeal, not pointlessly debate over how mirages work. Maybe it’s light refraction, maybe it has something to do with temperature differences, or maybe it’s an air density thing. We’re never going to agree, so let’s work together to get out of here alive so we can check the Internet and see who was right.

Tim, it’s not that I don’t believe you watched a documentary on mirages, that’s not something I feel like a person would lie about, but the diagrams you’re drawing in the sand take too much time to explain and the math isn’t all there. I just want to get back to the place where we rented the dune buggy so I can yell at them for neglecting to mention how hard dune buggies are to drive. If they’re made for sand, they should be able to slam through a sand bank without crumpling. That’s common sense. I mean, if we really want to discuss mirages, let’s discuss that rental company’s integrity.

If we keep moving the way we think is east, we should be fine. Of course, Larry, we’d know for sure which way was east if you hadn’t broken the compass trying to prove that mirages are created by the Earth’s magnetism. That very well may be true, but your costly experiment sold me more on the idea that we’re going to die out here than anything else. From now on, any attempt to explain mirages by destroying survival gear is forbidden. The fact that that statement just bummed some of you out is disheartening. I’m all for knowing the explanations of phenomena, but you don’t try to figure out how a time bomb works when the timer is close to zero. You find a path to safety and hope one of those bomb disposal robots just happens to be nearby.

Now it’d be one thing if any of us had actually even seen a mirage since we’ve been out here, but you guys are just arguing for the sake of arguing! If you want to argue, argue about deserts being too large. With all of the hourglasses on this planet, how can there still be so much sand just lying around? If I get out of this alive, I’m turning all the sand I see into glass after I learn how to do that.

No, let’s not debate about how sand is turned into glass!

What’s that, Susan? Seriously now, did you actually see a road in the distance or are you just trying to steer the conversation back onto mirages so you can give your own dubious explanation? Because if we change our course we better come upon a road and not just some crackpot theory that mirages are repressed memories that your brain wants you to finally acknowledge.

See that’s what I thought, Susan.

Sorry to lash out, guys. I’m just still a little upset about when you all insisted I was a mirage. You almost had me going there for a second and it’s kinda rattled my sense of being. I mean, right now I kind of wish I was a mirage, a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in which light rays are bent due to the refraction caused by the differing densities of hot and cold air that tricks the brain into producing a displaced image of distant objects or the sky.

That’s right, I knew the whole damn time! I feigned ignorance and anger to see if one of you could stumble onto the answer through your own ingenuity. In fact that’s why I invited you all out here in the first place. I didn’t actually win a free dune buggy rental from Desert Vehicle Monthly‘s caption contest. That’s probably not even a real magazine. I didn’t bother to check.

The sand bank crash, the GPS being stuck in French language mode and thus unusable, and me telling you all to leave your phones at home because the sand would instantly erode them were all lies and machinations I employed in order to see if one of you could experience the power of self-learning. Yet it’s clear that I have failed.

I’ll call for the rental company to pick us up, but while we wait I’m sure you all have questions about the genius experiment you were all a part of.


Yes, Larry, I’m sure I’m not a mirage.