Bendinigo Oselia – “Benny” for short to his friends – is a student of the University of Minnesota. Pursuing a philosophy degree as well as a religious studies double major, he’s also captain of the Lacrosse team, and works full time at D.P. Dough eatery near campus. He says he’s been a Gopher football fan since before he could walk, and he constantly, continuously, incessantly asks a hypothetical question involving Hitler during every single debate, during every single day, of his first level philosophy intro class this semester.
“I just think it’s an important consideration to remember, that every human interaction and rhetorical argument can always be made worse if we just try assuming the worst possible consequences from it. Plus, some of my fellow students are real Nazis about how they always want the conversation to move on. It’s like, come on, this dude really existed. We have to consider what he’d do in this situation, or what we’d do with him, or what he would think about the whole thing, right?”
“If I had a time machine I’d probably just use it to go back in time and ask Hitler whether he’d be for or against abortion” added Oselia.
The student’s commitment to topical consistency has also drawn the attention of his professor, who offered a glowing review of Oselia’s academic bravery.
“I hate that kid” said Dr. Esplania, the professor for Oselia’s class. “Every day with this crap. Even when we were going through the syllabus, the very first day, this asshole asked whether the first amendment would allow ‘Mein Kampf’ to be printed in America. We weren’t even discussing anything yet. He just raised his hand. I was way too hung over to deal with that first thing in the morning. Thank god I only have to hear from him in class. I can’t imagine what his papers are like. Luckily I force my T.A. to grade everyone’s papers.”
When reached for comment, the Teacher’s Assistant was too high to answer his phone.
Oselia has also garnered a strong reputation with his fellow students who are lucky enough to share a class with the courageous questioneer.
“I hope he dies,” says Ashley Fitzermann, another student who’s also enrolled in Esplania’s Modern Ethical History 101 class. “This Benny kid won’t stop with the Hitler questions, everyday. I just signed up for this class as a general credit I can coast through, but now I have to hear this turd ask shit like, ‘If God made us in his own image does that mean God has a Hitler mustache?’ He makes it really hard to concentrate but luckily my Adderall hookup just got out of prison, so that helps me ignore him.”
Some claim it’s not just a scholarly endeavor, but have seen Oselia pursuing his speculative advocacy in his free time, off school grounds.
“Oh yeah, I know that kid” said Petrovic Malkineen, the manager at the local PetSmart. “He used to come in everyday and yell ‘DEBATE ME!’ at the parakeets. We had to kick him out. He’s the only guy I know with a lifetime ban from every PetSmart in the state.”
Even through all that, Oselia is committed to pursuing what he believes is a noble quest for intellectual rigor, despite all evidence to the contrary.
“It’s hard work, but I still do it. I think it’s important. Do I wish a gypsy hadn’t cursed me to wander the Earth living forever, and unlikable mold and scab upon the face of God’s creation, constantly asking things like what would Adolf Hitler do if he was stuck on a deserted island? Of course I do. But someone has to do it. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I could stop. I wish I had friends, a girlfriend. Even people I chat with online think I do it too much, can you imagine that?”
“I’m just asking questions,” he sobbed.
• Phil Kolas, Terminal Times