Saturday, January 14, 2017
The Weight Of Gold
Everyone in the neighborhood hated the New Guy. "He's a creep!" "He's a jerk!" "He's a hypocrite!" "He's a liar!" said the creep, the jerk, the hypocrite, and the liar. A meeting was called to find a resolution.
"We must rid ourselves of this man. There's no living with him! He's making us all look bad. We'll lose everything if he remains among us."
Many others stood up to claim of similar outrage and pornographic desires. Yet try as they might, they couldn't find a solution. The more the New Guy was denounced, the stronger he got, tweeting insults in kind as his constant reply. The real problem, of course, was the neighborhood had a prickly problem of being the pot calling the kettle black. None of their words could ever stick.
This left them with only one alternative: Esmeralda.
"Please help us. We know you're an evil witch with great powers of destruction and we must rid ourselves of this man. What can we do?"
Esmeralda shook her head. She was considered a "witch" because she lived outside their social norms and did that which is the greatest enemy of modern civilization: think. That made her mysterious and incomprehensible to the non-thinkers. They were also deeply suspicious of her since they knew they themselves were not worthy of trust. But deep in their hearts they knew thinking was the right thing to do, yet turning to it only as a last resort.
"The answer is simple," replied Esmeralda. "Give him gold."
"That's complete madness! That would accomplish the complete opposite of what we're trying to achieve. We're trying to get rid of him, not feed him like a stray cat so he forever begs."
There was much muttering as the leaders left the room. "I told you so!" was heard more than once. But a month later they were back, stymied worse than ever.
"Please! Give us an honest answer. We must have hope for life to be worth living."
"I did give you an honest answer."
"But we don't see how that could work! It goes against all our precepts and understanding of life."
"Naturally. That's because you don't think. My advice is give your gold. I shall say no more."
"OK, bitch. We'll give him our gold. But if this doesn't work we're coming back to get you and cry real hard!"
The next morning the New Guy found gold on his doorstep. "This is amazing! You love me, after all! Way to go, you stupid cunts! #morons"
Next morning, the same. "Wow! OK! So maybe you weren't just trying to buy me off. #SoGlad!"
Again the next day. "I'd say this is too much but I'm a greedy son-of-a-bitch! #Suckers"
After another week of daily gold, doubt crept into the New Guy. "Hey guys. I've got more than enough. You need to take care of yourselves. Really! #I'mSoResponsible!"
A week later, he refused to bring the gold inside. "Not sure what's going on here! I'm not some sort of monster who wants all your gold. I told you to stop, so STOP!!!! #NoMas!"
But the giving was relentless. "I can't keep taking all this gold you keep giving me. Don't ask me why. You must be deceived I'm something I'm not. I admit I've been presenting a pose so you would love me. Don't we all? #SoSorry!"
As it yet continued, the New Guy felt as his neighbors had: trapped by behavior he could not control. To keep the gold would be to show himself a greedy monster. To refuse it meant to reveal himself as the fraud he was. Since he couldn't bring himself to admit he was underserving of the mounds of gold he'd been given, his only choice was to run away, never to return lest he be branded a fool for life.
When the New Guy left, he left the evidence of the gold as well. They took it back and returned to Esmeralda to give thanks.
"Your plan worked! Unbelievable. Do you know how we can keep him away?"
"He will keep himself away, believing his life depends on it. To him, returning here is a fate worse than death. Never underestimate the power of self-truth."
"And we got our gold back too!"
"Because you were willing to give it up you were able to keep it."
From then on, whenever anti-social behavior was observed, gold would start to appear on the transgressor's doorstep. Even those who misbehaved on purpose to get gold crumbled under its eventual weight. In this way balance and harmony were achieved.
EPILOGUE: In the next neighborhood where the New Guy lived, he reigned with cruel intolerance having been forced to see is his own ugly face. But because his neighbors there could not give up their greed for gold, they remained powerlessly under his thumb (and then he took all their gold in his contempt). Many, in fact, were drawn to his power, defending and enforcing his rotten ways. And in this way fascism came to rule.