A Modern Parable

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe. She had so much work, that she did not know what to do. Next door to her shoe, there also was a not-so young man who had a lot of time on his hands. So he began thinking of how he could best use his time. He knew his fellow neighbor was constantly complaining about how much work she had to do, and how little time she had. So he went to her shoe, and knocked on her door. She came to door and said:

“Hello neighbor, what a fine day it is. How I can I help you?”

He said: “I am interested in helping others. Is there something I can do to help you?”

She said: “Are you a lawyer?”

He said: “No, I am a computer programmer.”

She said:”Do you have a lot of money you could donate to help me?”

He said:”I might. But I am more interested in rolling up my sleeves and helping you personally.”

She said:”Hmm. Well I really need a lawyer or someone to donate a lot of money. But I will tell you what, here is my autobiography. Why don’t you read it, learn something about me, and maybe you can come up with something.”

He said:”Hmmm.. Ok”

So the not-so young man sat down on her step and starting reading her autobiography.  Everyone now and then he would read something and knock on her door and ask a question. One day it might be something “I see you are overweight, have you thought about exercising more?”, or “I see other people think you are too negative, have you thought about taking Prozac?”, or “I see you are on a low fat diet. I think low fat diets are flawed, and  I think you will have better success with a low carb diet. Have you thought about doing that?”.  And so and so on. No matter what he might suggest, very few of his suggestions were well received.

Finally the neighbor grew tired of his constant questions, and came out of her house and said:  ”You know you always hanging out on my doorstep and you have made some very critical comments about me, are you sure you do not work for my ex-husband? He hates me, and I think he might have sent you over here to drive me crazy.”

He said: “No I am just here to try and help you. Have you thought of anything that I might help you with?”

She said:”No, I am too busy to think about that. Plus I would have to take the time to show you what to do and I just do not have the time.”

So the not-so young man went away and kept reading her autobiography. Later he returned and said: ” Well, I have finished reading your autobiography. I see that you like birds. How about I build you a bird-house to attract more birds to your yard?”

She said:”Are you crazy? It would be a lot of work to keep the bird-house clean, and I am way too busy. Plus I already have a bird.”

He said:”Well I would build it so it would not be hard to keep clean, and it really would attract more birds to your yard. Plus what if your bird flies away?”

She said:”Well I have a cat. I will teach the cat to be a bird.”

He said:”Ok. I see that you have a chimney. How about I cut some firewood for you? I will only need for you to lend me an axe.”

She said:”I am not sure. What if my ex-husband sent you over, and you used the axe to attack me. Or maybe you will pile the firewood up against my shoe and set fire to it.”

So the not-so young man went away. And while no-one lived as happily ever after as they might, life was still good.


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