The Uncelebrated Genius of Bernard Pumble
Bernard Pumble woke up every morning with a sense of absolute certainty that he was important—a belief so profound, it was engraved on a bronze plaque that adorned his bedroom wall: “The Sanctuary of Bernard Pumble: A Man Destined for Greatness.”
His mirror agreed with him, reflecting a face that he believed belonged on magazine covers. Bernard would greet himself with a confident smile, ensuring to give his reflection a wink before setting out to greet a world that clearly, in his view, was waiting for his contributions.
Bernard worked as a junior accountant at Thompson & Dingle Associates, a modest accounting firm that was decidedly unimpressed by Bernard’s self-perceived grandiosity. Despite this, Bernard walked into the office each day as though trumpets should herald his arrival. His favorite saying was, “When the history books are written, it’s people like me they’ll be talking about.”
“What, as a footnote?” Mark, one of his colleagues, would often quip, only to be met with Bernard’s pitying smile. Bernard was certain that Mark, and everyone else, were simply unable to recognize his yet-to-be-revealed brilliance.
Bernard’s desk was a shrine to his own imagined importance. Framed motivational quotes by great minds like Einstein and Gandhi were scattered around, accompanied by an empty frame reserved for his future words of wisdom. He kept an array of pens—gold, silver, platinum—each poised to sign documents of historical importance. Yet, the most they signed were mundane spreadsheets and the occasional birthday card for a colleague.
He regarded the firm’s clients as his personal audience, regaling them with tales of his high school achievements, his superior understanding of tax codes, and his thoughts on global politics. The clients, in turn, nodded politely, more interested in whether their tax returns had been filed on time.
Outside of work, Bernard ran a blog called “The Pumble Perspective.” This digital sanctum provided his takes on everything from quantum mechanics to the proper method of brewing herbal tea. Bernard was convinced that he was influencing society, one post at a time. In reality, his blog had six subscribers—one of whom was his mother and another his reluctant ex-girlfriend, Susan, who forgot to unsubscribe.
Bernard considered networking to be one of his strong suits. He never missed an opportunity to hand out his business cards, which read, “Bernard Pumble: Accountant, Thinker, Visionary.” Most of these cards ended up as bookmarks or languished in the cluttered depths of office drawers.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Bernard’s faith in his own significance never wavered. And so, he continued to float through life in his self-created bubble of grandiosity, forever certain that his big moment was just around the corner.
It was a Friday afternoon, and Bernard was in his office chair, contemplating the book he would one day write—obviously a bestseller. He leaned back and sighed, thinking, “Ah, Bernard, you are truly a man ahead of your time.”
Just then, his boss popped her head into his cubicle. “Bernard, could you please make sure to refill the paper in the printer? Thanks.”
“Ah,” Bernard thought as he rose to fulfill the request, “the duties of greatness are never-ending.”
And so, life went on, as Bernard Pumble, the uncelebrated genius in his own mind, carried forth in his quest for a destiny that existed only in the farthest reaches of his imagination.