Saturday, November 8, 2008

Choices - a fable

My sister sent this fable to me. I thought I'd put it here for the rest of you.

The Great Benefactor had a sad but resigned expression on his face as he looked up from his check book. He picked up the phone and summoned his beneficiary for an urgent discussion.

"As you know," he explained, “I have endeavored to give you whatever you have desired, but the time has come when even my vast resources are inadequate to accommodate all of your desires, so you will have to give up something. After much reflection, and really not knowing what your priorities are, I have concluded that I will let you select what you wish to keep and what you wish to forgo."

The donee was uncomfortable making decisions. It was an entirely new and unforeseen experience having to give up anything. But finally, he agreed to the process and the Great Benefactor began.

"You can have clean rivers or dead rivers."
"I'll take the clean."

"You can have clean air or polluted air."
"I'll take the clean."

"You can have a live ocean or a dead one."
"Give me the live one."

"You can have peace or you can have war."
"Man, I'm all the way with peace."
"Now, wasn't that simple?" inquired the benefactor.
"Easy as pie," answered the beneficiary, feeling very comfortable with himself.

"Good, so let's get a little more specific. You can have clean rivers or indoor plumbing."
"Did you ever sit on a cold toilet seat?"

"Perhaps that choice is a little too difficult. We'll get back to it later. How about clean air or automobiles."

"My heavens, where would I be without a car? I'd have to walk to the club, and besides I own all that Automotive stock."

"Let's try another one, something a little easier, solvency or a bloated military?”
“That’s a toughie? Can we come back to it?"

"Certainly. How about choosing between peace and nuclear bombs."
"No bombs? You mean it, really, no bombs? The Russkies or the Arabs would take me over in two minutes if I didn't have all my bombs."

"Perhaps I'm being too severe. We'll try some really easy choices. How about clean rivers or bubble baths."

"But how will I enjoy my bathing? That's an impossible choice, besides Procter and Gamble is my favorite growth stock."

"Let's try clean air or mopeds."
"I gotta get around."
"But you'll have autos and airplanes and trains."
"Yes, but my moped is special. It gets me down bicycle paths."

The Benefactor was getting visibly exasperated. "Then how about a living ocean or an electric tooth brush."
"I've got tennis elbow. No way can I return to regular brushing."

"Then choose between peace or your beebee gun."
"Give up my beebee? It's what I started with when I was a kid. It's part of me. It's what made me appreciate the bomb. No way can I give up my beebee."

"The Great Benefactor threw up his hands in despair. "I really don't know what you're willing to forgo but I'm serious, you have to give up something. I just can't afford it any longer. You're going to have to choose. I'll give you this evening to think about it and tomorrow morning, I'll come by for your answer. I know it's going to be difficult but I also know that you can do it."

The next day, the Great Benefactor appeared before his beneficiary's home and rang the bell. There was no answer, so he tried the door which was unlocked. He walked in and proceeded to the living room where he found his donee hanging by his neck from the chandelier. There was a note pinned to his jacket which read, “You gave me no choice."

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