Friday, August 15, 2008

The Looking Glass Lies

Both men paused before passing through the subway doors. Looking up and down and back again at one another each man saw his image reflected in the other. Same suit, same briefcase, same shoes, same hair - same everything! Were they long lost brothers found at last?

"This is freaky!" observed the first.

"Very freaky!" confirmed the second.

And even more was confirmed as they conversed. They both owned the same model of laptop ("This model is a bargain!" "I know!"), liked many of the same restaurants and even held the same job title: programmer/analyst. How could two strangers be so exactly alike?

"Doing a good job," emphatically spoke the first, "is about doing things right. No ego or politics or time wasting bureaucracy to get in the way. Do the job right - focus on that - and everything else will work out fine."

"Man, you're not kidding. It's about thinking - using your head. Do what's best for the situation regardless of any sort of preconceptions. It's all about the bottom line."

Looking eye to eye, viewpoints were expounded eye to eye. But an artificial world breeds artifical men and the looking glass can lie.

The first man was flying high. "Man, I love my job. It's a great feeling being useful, knowing what you do makes life better for others. Every morning I have a reason to get out of bed."

The second man was a dying sigh. "Every morning I have a reason to die. I'm suffocating with this shit. My life just slowly has all meaning stripped away from it..."

"Wow, that's brutal. You need a new job!"

"I need no job. They're all the same: death."

"That's a heavy load to carry. Maybe things will take a turn for the better."

"You can show me how to not need a job in this world? No, things are what they are and lying about it only makes it worse. The hands of the world are bloody and its eyes are blind with rage."

"Ya gotta have faith, man. My wife, my family - they mean the world to me."

"I spend all my spare time recovering from work. I am the Lizard King - my feet can never touch the earth or I'll be scorched to a cinder."

"But you seem so successful!"

"Who knows who I am. I'm just not this facade you see. While in this hell, I'll do my best to make it work because that is the law of men. But it's a fool's gold - there's no love in it. I'm just very, very tired."

No love means no future. With nothing left to say, the Flying Man and the Dying Man now peered upon one another as total opposites. As the subway doors opened, each wished the other luck and with an obliging blind eye pretended the conversation had never happened.

Time is the mortal enemy of all things artificial. Flying Man thrived and raised his children strong. Dying Man shrank in hollow hopelessness, a chained man. Like intersecting bullets, as time passed so showed their separate paths. The Flying Man lived forever and the Dying Man died long before his body. And yet they lived in a world that knew each only for his labors.

It's not the work that's important - God needs no field tilled. It's only what it does for your soul that counts. A world of sick souls has no choice but to implode - but I hear they're going to pass a law against that.

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