The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Guaranteed For Life

Once upon a time, the first father in the world set out looking for a gift to give his child. He fancied himself a hard bargainer, so the gift must be guaranteed for life.

He had travelled many days and miles, rejecting the wares of all sorts of entrepreneurs both honest and not so honest, when the Creator of the universe appeared to him in the guise of an old woman selling milk and apples.

"What are those?" the father asked.
"Health and beauty, strong bones and rosy cheeks for a fine young person," the old woman sang.
"Are they guaranteed?" the father asked.
"Indeed they are," cackled the old woman; "the milk will go sour and the apples will go brown; the bones will crack and the cheeks will go wrinkly; and in the end all will rot to nothing."
"Then they are not good enough for my child," the father said, and went on his way.

After the father had rejected many another bargain, some fairly good and some not so good and not a single one guaranteed for life, the Creator disguised himself once more, this time as a greasy young man with nothing but a flimsy paper book in his hand. Appearing before the father, he tore a ticket from the book and held it out temptingly.

"What is that?" the father asked.
"A chance to win the lottery. Wealth and prosperity for the child of a fine gentleman," the greasy young man grinned.
"Is it guaranteed?" the father asked, staring at the piece of paper on which the words SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY were printed in small, unimportant-looking letters.
"If wealth were guaranteed, it would no longer be wealth," said the greasy young man; "and prosperity could hardly exist if there were no competition."
"Then it is not good enough for my child," the father snapped, and went on his way.

After many more days and miles, for it never does to rush these things, the Creator put on the guise of a powerful god and appeared again before the father, who promptly fell flat on his face and began to grovel. "Take this," the Creator said, holding out a gleaming object.

The father took the object and nearly dropped it again, because it had cut his hand to the bone. It was a sword with two points, one towards the holder and one towards the world; it had neither hilt nor guard, and the blade was deadly sharp all round.

"What is this?" the father asked, wrapping it in his cloak.
"My gift," the Creator said. "With it your child will suffer, and will cause suffering to others."
"Is it guaranteed?" asked the father, because he fancied himself a hard bargainer.
"Indeed it is," said the Creator. "Guaranteed for life."


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