Tag Archives: a modern fable

The Gift

Once a great wizard had a son, who grew up with every benefit, and yet was ungrateful and unhappy.

Willing the son’s good, the wizard removed him from his grand estate, and set him on a lonely road in a foreign land. But as things went, the son wandered off the road, got lost in the dark and fell in a pit some hunters had dug for beasts.

He suffered there. He grew hungry, afraid, hopeless. Just when all seemed lost, the great wizard came to his rescue and lifted his son to safety.

Seeing his son’s miserable condition, the wizard magically healed his injuries, gave him food, dressed him in fine new clothes, and loaded his bags with gold.

Thus equipped, the son again set on his way, and coming to the next city, using the gold he had been given, invested in land, married well, prospered and forgot his near-death encounter.

He became a great man in the community. And yet, and yet, over time, as before, he again became unhappy.

All he could think of was his work, his possessions and his fear of losing all he had gained.

Then one day, the wizard came again to his son, in disguise, and finding him on his estate asked, “How is it that you have come by such a vast and beautiful home, and such a wonderful family?”

And then the son answered, “I worked hard, and invested wisely.”

The wizard sighed, the looking keenly on his son, he noted his continuing deep unhappiness, and again having great compassion on the him, the wizard stuck the estate with a spell and it disappeared in an instant.

The son was again on a remote road, again he was poor, and alone, and again he wandered from the path and again he fell into a covered pit and again the wizard came to him, again as his father, and lifted him out.

But this time, willing his son’s happiness more than anything, the wizard did not give him clothes, or food or gold. Instead the wizard, out of great love for his son, gave him the gift of a powerful memory.


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1 and 0

It was 1.

She just knew it! It  was different than what she grew up with, but It felt right to her. As she thought more about it, she felt that she had always leaned this direction anyway. She heard a TED’s talk on 1.

1 was in the news. The last three books she had read were either for 1 or acknowledged 1. The last four friends she had met for coffee had all favored 1.

1 was interesting. 1 was inspiring. 1 was trending,

So she sat and reflected on 1. 1 solved a lot of philosophical issues. It gave her a solid mental stance. Being for 1 made her feel like she belonged, was protected, had hope. She embraced 1, she promoted 1, she fought for 1.

That lasted for about six months. Then in a conversation with a fellow worker, she was introduced to 0.

“Wow, 0! Who would have thought?” 1 was so different from 0.

0 was the other side of the river, the contrasting position, the alternative viewpoint. At first 0 rattled her, then it intrigued her, then she went for it. 1 was old school. 1 was extreme. 1 was inadequate to explain things. She heard a talk on 0. She picked up a book on it. She brought 0 up with her friends and found that they also were intrigued with it. 0 was radical. 0 was inspiring. 0 just made sense. She joined an 0 group, she gave to the cause, she lobbied for 0’s inclusion.

Then the leaders of 0 went off the deep end and began to require 0, to demand 0, to fight for 0 and to kill for 0. This shook her. This rattled her mental cage. This was too much, and she began to become disillusioned with 0. 0 had become too narrow, to authoritarian, to extreme.

She didn’t know what to believe. She was distraught. She felt like giving up. She was lost. She remained that way a good while, until one day, early in the morning, as she drank her coffee and sat quietly reflecting on her experiences, her reading, her mentors, her friends and her beliefs, she calmed and realized what it was.

It was 1 and 0. It was both, twinned, paired, teamed. You needed 1 to balance 0, and you needed 0 to balance 1. In some situations  you went with 1, in others with 0. If you made it all 1, you lost your way; if you made it all 0 you also lost your way. 0 and 1 could be combined, in an infinite number of ways, and processed in an infinite manner and they could carry all knowledge and truth as long as you had both.

It was 1, and it was 0 and within the mix of both lay what she had always wanted — wisdom.

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Arrivals and Departures

“The whole discussion is ridiculous!” they said, and with that they hunkered down, hard as porcelain, bolted-down and sealed.

“Honestly, we don’t agree,” said the lights.

“Really!” the toilets said stubbornly, standing their ground. “An airport is an airport is an airport. An airport is a place for traveler’s to arrive and depart. An airport is the one thing in this world that can itself never depart, and it can never arrive somewhere else.”

The carpet throughout the airport agreed — carpet tends to be very conservative — and so did all the terminal’s seating, and for that matter all the signs. There is nothing that hates change as much as a sign.

We must accept reality,” the careful coalition said. “We are what we are, and we are obviously here to stay!” They proclaimed this vehemently, and they held their ground.

But the airport restaurants, the shops, lights, all the gates and the entire terminal structure, even the tarmac, rose up and aligned against the bathrooms, seats and carpet.

“Everything changes,” they said, and everyone and everything can choose to change. It’s in our hands” they argued, “It is our turn, if we want it to be.”

“Dream away, dreamers,” claimed the coalition of caution, “but it’s physically impossible for an airport to just get up and move!”

“No, it’s not!” shouted the hopeful collaborators.

“We are San Francisco International!” the bathrooms, carpets, signs and seats shouted back in unison. “That is all we will ever be!”

“Yes, we are, shouted all the restaurants, shops, signs, gates, buildings and tarmac, “but it is time to go to Paris!”

They chanted. The airport vibrated. “What was was but now no longer is!”

And that was that, and those with a will to change prevailed, and on November 27 at 4:45 pm, San Francisco International airport flew — the whole thing. The tarmac ripped from the ground in one solid, flat piece, carrying with it all the airplanes, trucks, crews, pilots and passengers on board. The terminal followed, lifting carefully, carrying with it the passengers, the employees the carpets and bathrooms, seats and signs — all flew.

The world reaction was all over the place — fear, astonishment, disbelief, wonder and some celebration, but once in the air, there was no going back. The momentum was toward Paris.

And when San Francisco International Airport arrived in Paris as an airport, it had to pass over Charles de Gaulle Airport — there being no place big enough to land — and settle to the ground in a field outside of Paris. Not one thing or one person was harmed, but despite what the signs said along the way, or what the bathrooms said they wanted — it was not longer San Francisco International Airport.

There was quite a stir about it throughout the world, and there was no agreement on how to explain it, or to put it to proper use, but one thing was certain; despite a widespread desire to figure the whole thing out, no one could, nor did any one have any ideas at all of how to get all of it back to San Francisco in one piece.

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The Word Factory

Once upon a time, in a deep, dark hardwood forest, far from any city, town or homestead, a word factory suddenly exploded into full-production.

With a clunk, and a hiss of steam from the engines of invention, cogs, levers, pulleys and rattling conveyors poured out a line of beautiful, freshly-honed words that absolutely covered the ground and filled the air.

Sheer chaos and order appeared. There were vocables escaping into the forest, rhymes dancing in the air, alliterations chasing each other through the clearing, neologisms running back up the conveyors, repurposed kennings doing high-fives on the sidelines and a whole pack of parallel structures forming a chorus line around the warehouse. In the middle of all this chaos was the master word-chef running around snatching up words and stuffing them into his lovelies — his proverbs and anti-proverbs, fables and antifables, a few dislocated-soliloquies, some expositions and bunch of hyperattentive narrativities.

Like bright candies spilled on a kitchen table to decorate gingerbread houses, the forest plant churned out its colorful linguistic astonishments. With sophisticated electronics and complex robotics, the master thrashed about in the middle of the words, running and laughing and crying and gesticulating manically. He was here and there and everywhere. He tested and retested his lovelies , arranged and rearranged them, unpacked and repacked them and frosted and candied and glazed them until they were near perfect — lightening, bon mot, dessert, the cats meow and the flicking tail too. Then with a flourish of mind, all his rhetoricals were packed, boxed, labeled and stacked in neat piles in the factory warehouse.

No one came to shop, but the factory just kept pumping out product, crazy with energy, like the broom in the sorcerers apprentice.

Then finally, one day a friend of the master word chef came to visit. Toured by the chef, she looked over the clattering conveyors. She snatched at a few of the words flying around her head. She peered in the door of the warehouse at all the high stacks. A nearby pallet of words shifted and seemed to move toward her.

“I don’t get it,” she said, stepping backwards — from what felt like a hot oven — into the open space of the yard. Even there, however, the words, phrase and sentences swarmed around her and she seemed a bit confused.

“Are you marketing these?” she asked.

“I make them for myself,” the word-man responded, “and a few friends.”

“Well, feel free to take a break,” she replied swatting at a metaphor, “especially if you notice that there are some other things you need to be doing.”

“I can’t,” he replied, and then glancing over his shoulder and seeing the newly coined words beginning to pile up at the end of a conveyor line, he rushed off laughing and gesticulating wild-a-phonically.

The friend went home, through the forest, ringing with odd vocables. She was as traumatized as Gretel, pursued as she was, for some distance by a personally relevant and particularly persistent axiomatic phrase.

“That was disconcerting,” she said to herself quietly upon arriving home and locking the door.

The word-maker looked up from his conveyors for a moment, a syllable in one hand and a word in the other, smiled softly to himself, and slamming them together said, “Va-va-voom suave-a-ka-boom!”

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“I’m done,” she said, “Get rid of him!”

“I don’t think so angel,” he said, “It’s too hot out there.”

“What, are you going to wait until he destroys something here?” she replied.

“I’ve got an idea,” he said.”It involves a saw — but no small pieces.”

The next day he was out back, with a sawzall, hooked up to an eight inch blade with big teeth. There was some screaming, bit of sawing, and some digging, and some more sawing.

He came back in the house.

“What?” she said.

“Done!” he answered.

“I don’t see a body,” she said looking out back.

“I cut off his legs,” he said.

“Hum,” she wondered, “Do you think that will do it?”

“Next week,” he said, ” I hired a guy to take off his head.”

“Who do you think you are, God?” she asked.

“As a matter of fact, yes,” he said, “and anyway, he’ll still have a trunk.”

“Freakin’ Ficus!” she said.

“Like men,” he mused, “better pruned!”

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Once upon a time there was a fin-a-kin. People joined. It wealthified. It shotted high into the sky-a-thon.

But, as things went along, the onlookers, the friends and the families of the devotathons developed concernifications, and eventually, as people are wank to do, they got together to mussify about it.

“What is this bunk-a-bank,” the concernicated asked each other.

“It’s a cult-a-bolt,” wanked one concernicant.

“No, it’s a clan-a-fan?” wuzzled another.

“I’ve seen this before,” another wombatted, “It’s a sect-a-fek.”

“Stuff-enough-unlike-us,” glocked another.

“What do we do?” someone funked.

A loud voice yezzled from the back, “Let’s get all the clique-a-miks to join it!”

“How will that help?” someone wonkered.

A fuzzle in the back yonked, “They’ll ruin it!”

“Holy shebang!’ snoozled the whole grock, “Click-a-clique!”

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The Cowboy and The Commandments

One day a large, particularly well-scrubbed cowboy walked into a church with a six-gun swagger, leaned over the raised partition of the desk of the lovely office manager and demanded, “Repeat the two most important commandments!”

The office manager rolled her chair back, looked over her shoulder to see if the cavalry might be riding in from the behind her, and seeing no one, did a quick check to see if the front of her desk was high enough to prevent a rodeo trick.

The big white hat then said loudly,“You shall love the LORD your God with all your might, all your soul and all your strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself!”

He paused for effect and asked dourly,”Don’t you know the commandments?”

Then the cowboy leaned further toward her over the desk and asked for a gas card.

In precisely that moment, the pastor came from the back to say that the church wouldn’t be giving out any gas cards to men in cowboy hats who could quote the commandments.

“What kind of Christians are you?” asked the cowboy incredulously.

“We are the kind who don’t give away gas cards,” said the pastor.

“No, you are the kind that will rot in hell!” said the cowboy.

“Are you freakin’ kidding me,” said the pastor, “we’re Baptists!”

“Hell was created for Baptists!” yelled the cowboy. “Because they don’t help anybody!”

“Actually, I have  thought of that possibility,” said the pastor. “We are so messed up here! You wouldn’t believe what we refuse to do for people. We refuse to pay their cell phone bills!”

With that, the cowboy turned abruptly on the heels of his shiny cowboy boots and blasted out of the office door.

“Pray, for us!” yelled the pastor to the large white hat as it floated away from him across the parking lot and headed straight toward a fullsized, late-model black and chrome truck.

Then, just as the office door had almost closed, the pastor and the office manager thought they saw the cowboy throw one of his hands in the air as if to worship — or perhaps not.

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