Another Third Way Emerging

Part 2 of their big question regarding noses and toes

T.J. Storey
6 min readNov 19, 2022


The last stanza of What Might Make Us Be In Love from Part 1

…it’s not Life that hardens you
and buries care for True…
and Good, and Beautiful, and Whole,
it’s what you buy the tickets to.

The Big Question For Rhettie

But was Rhettie ready for the misunderstandings and pushback they could get on this? Wally wasn’t sure about it…but he literally just wasn’t sure. Rhettie’s inspirations from her dreams of Bug Stu had been good so far and things seemed to work. Wally was the savvier marketer. Rhettie was focused on making “a different kind of difference,” and she knew that could bring misunderstandings, especially with the poetic expressions and abstract ideas.

But Wally knew the Star Eyes concept could be taken as another New Age concept that neither Christians nor atheists wanted to hear about. And perceived criticism of mainstream editorial and creative narratives right at the beginning would turn off everybody else, at least in that world.

The last line, “It’s what you buy the tickets to,” could be easily misunderstood as a mantra , for a boycott , even though it wasn’t really about that. And could two cartoon characters pull off nuance and metaphor this way and avoid those inferences?

“Wally, I really think it’s okay,” Rhettie said softly. “Some will always misunderstand. Some will always bristle and try to look scary and big.”

“But they actually are scary and big.” Wally replied while sketching something.

“It’s harmless. It doesn’t mean ‘This not that everybody!’” she said while trying to see what he was sketching. “What are you drawing?” And she grabbed for his sketch pad.

“No! It’s not finished!” But she’d plucked it away before he could stop her.

“I’ll say it’s not finished…she doesn’t have a shirt on! Hey is this supposed to be…” And she wrinkled her forehead and tried to frown her way back into her memory. “This is…”

“It’s Joan of Arc, because she had visions that led her to battle…just like you with Bug Stu and your dreams.” Wally explained, a little embarrassed.

“Joan of Arc would not have her shirt open! And I like Joan of Arc. But this is…this is Marianne…Liberty. She’s not real, and it’s from another stupid French Revolution! Let her go get dressed.” And she pushed the sketchpad to Wally’s chest. “How did you even remember that picture?! Wait, never mind, I know. Boys…” And she grabbed his sketchpad back and drew a quick eye-roll emoji.

“Yeah, I always thought that was Joan of Arc. I actually thought I was being pretty sophisticated doing some French history,” he said with mock shame.

“Joan of Arc was, like, 300 years before that. I only know this stuff because of Grandma. Her family was French. But she doesn’t like French history, the revolutions and all, and lots of their stuff. French country though…yes. Okay, and I’m not battling anyone.” Rhettie explained.

“But you’re ready…I mean you’re ready for one. Right?” Wally asked.

“No. I’m ready to avoid one. Battles are dumb, like debates. That’s winners and losers, not right and wrong, not true and untrue. I’m going in a different direction. We’re going a different direction. Right?” She asked.

“I like the ‘no battle’ part, you know. 7th Pie Peace, woohoo!” He replied, holding back from his other thought.

“I like the ‘keep your Invisible Hands off me’ part. I mean, some people will misunderstand some of our things, because of the framing they’re in. Maybe it won’t be peace. Maybe that’s another argument for ‘The 7th Pie Peece’ instead of ‘The 7th Pie Peace,’” she replied while starting to consider it.

“You mean P-e-e-c-e? Your emphasizing it doesn’t help me see how you’re spelling it.”

“You knew what I meant. And I don’t mean NOT peace. I wouldn’t want our use of p-e-e-c-e to be a symbol of my not wanting peace or something.” She was still thinking.

“Let’s wait on that. Hey, wasn’t Joan of Arc burned at the stake or something?” Wally asked.

“She was. I assume because the English couldn’t have her inspiring all the French boys to fight so hard against them or come to save her from a tower or anything. So they said she was a heretic so they could kill her. She was nineteen. Everyone knew what needed to be done with heretics.”

“Like witches then. Yeah. It’d be cool if you could make it to at least thirty-nine,” said Wally.

“Is that why they say you need to make the stakeholders happy, because they have the stakes and will burn you if you don’t?” Rhettie asked.

“Not funny. Okay, kinda funny. But actually I wish we had stakeholders. This doesn’t make getting them any easier, this poem,” Wally added — to get them back on track. “We’ve got to find our audience and stakeholders. I’ve got to get by somehow, you know?”

Rhettie replied, “And these other stake-holders…will not…let us pass? ‘Answer me these questions three?’ ‘No! because you’ll frame them the same old ways, because you’re a puppet with a hired Invisible Hand up your back!’”

“Well, we might want to smooth that out,” said Wally, laughing a little.

Rhettie opened the back cover of her journal and pulled out an old note. “Here’s one of the notes Grandma gave me when I came back from Purdue, after changing my major, so…already spending an extra year, and I still wasn’t sure of what I should be doing.”

Wally read it out loud. The note said:

Feet on the ground and a hand in the sky,
work and wonder and stop to ask why,
free of the crowd, but not fleeing, not proud,
leave more than you found here,
do more than get by.

Then she added, holding her left hand up with her fingers spread, “See, it’s kinda like a star, and we need to be in touch with that, for perspective, and maybe the legacy that’s left, the thing or the idea. And I love working on stuff, and my feet are on the ground, but what I think I oughta leave most is this…this story. These stories.”

“Okay, yeah, well…” Wally started.

Rhettie said quickly, “And I want to care but not be too careful, because I’m pretty sure I know what’s happening and is gonna keep on happening, and not everyone wants to be part of it and some don’t know it. The Third Ways are always gonna bother some people, and they don’t want to let you by, unless you say what they want, but that’s not a deal I want, because then it’s not gonna matter. It needs to matter”

Wally was nodding his head, still not sure what to do or what to say yet about the poem.

“Here, one more thing from Grandma. This is where I got the ticket thing. It was kind of a riddle to me at first. She wrote it to me when I was going into seventh grade. By the end of that year I knew what it meant. I kinda knew from sixth grade but more later. As I got older I saw how many different ways it was true. Here, listen:

‘You buy the ticket to sell your soul, your mind, your body, they’ll take you whole.’

So yeah, I say the poem’s fine. This thing is true. It’s true in lots of ways people don’t think about. It’s actually in the Cialdini book, the concept I mean, you know? From back in 1984.”

Wally nodded his head again saying, “I guess this is kind of our brand, you could say. ‘Third way way’ or something, which means going around some gatekeepers. Maybe having a beer with them or something. So it’s more than these questions three. And yeah, I know the book. No serious marketer doesn’t know that book. That tells you something.”

“Yeah, something scary and big. So…Let’s?” Rhettie replied.

Wally smiled, because that simple “Let’s” is how they’d agreed to do the project in the beginning. “Let’s.”

And so, the poem would go out to the world, the galaxy, ambiguities lurking and all, as they usually are in a less obvious way. And there was much rejoicing, and a little pushback.

To Be Continued

Thanks for reading.


P.S. The best background in the galaxy on this can be found at The Pie website.



T.J. Storey

Former teacher, Jeanne’s husband, Brandon’s and Elyse’s dad. No guru/no woo woo. Fan of how-things-work and what it means for our kids, theirs, theirs,…