Exercise Nine: The Pathetic Life of Hans Meissner

Hans Meißner was a man in his late fifties. Unmarried, overweight, and depressed. He was losing his hair and had a crater-sized bald spot on the top of his head. What little traces of hair he had left were all white. Hans led a very dull life and he was starting to doubt that his life had any purpose at all.

Hans would usually begin his day before work by going to the local Aldi grocery store for his daily mealshop. He would buy the same food every day: Apple juice and fruit yoghourt for breakfast, liverwurst for a sandwich at lunch, and meatloaf along with Gouda cheese for dinner.

In 2003, Hans became an alcoholic. Suddenly beer and wine were the main ingredients of his meals. He would usually drink beer at lunch and wine at dinner or on a day like February 21st, 2003; he would drink both at dinner.

Hans hadn’t showered in a week so he made sure to pick himself up a stick of deodorant that morning (even though he had basically given up on personal hygiene altogether). He also grabbed 3 tallboys of Grafen and 2 bottles of sherry pale before heading to the checkout.

That night, when he got home from his job at the European patent office, he took off his work-clothes and stripped down to just his boxers and an undershirt with yellow sweatstains on it. He cooked himself some dinner and ate it in his usual spot in front of the TV. Like usual, he was alone.

After finishing the 2 bottles of wine at dinner, he chugged the first can of Grafen and finished the other two within ten minutes. He needed to get drunk that night. He had barely finished the last beer when he passed out reclined in his Lazyboy. His favourite show, Marienhof had just started when he began having difficulty breathing. He was choking on his own vomit and there was no one around to help him. Less than a minute later, he completely stopped breathing.

Hans Meißner died on February 21st, 2003. He was 58.

One Response to “Exercise Nine: The Pathetic Life of Hans Meissner”

  1.   Michael Erdmann Says:

    A bit heavy handed perhaps, but I like the way the ending turns something as innocuous as the time/date stamp on the receipt into something significant and tragic. Too bad you already inserted the date earlier in the story, where it felt a bit awkward… try to give consideration to all the details you use to build your narrative (just as you’d make considered decisions about each detail of your designs)… with a little more finesse this could be a pretty effective little story.