Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Starfish: A Modern Parable

A young boy woke one morning craving to see his old friend the ocean. He wiggled into a sweater, laced his sneaks, and made for the beach. It was early morning, calm. But the previous night had apparently not been so. Thousands of starfish lay on the beach, drying slowly in the rising sun. They must have been tossed from their lives by a storm, and, now, they were goners. The boy sadly walked along the water's edge observing the loss of so many tiny lives.

Then he noticed a figure just down the bend. He started jogging. As the boy came closer, he realized the figure was a man, hard at work, picking up starfish that weren't just finished yet and throwing them back to the water. The man moved with focus, determination. The boy watched a few moments and the man continued to work and the beach continued to look basically the same despite the efforts of this stranger.

"Excuse me, sir," the boy said.
The man barely paused to look over and kept searching for the next creature. "Yes?" he murmured.
"It's just...you're working so hard. But there are thousands. It will not matter."
The man looked at the starfish in his hand. "It matters to this one," he said as he sent the little star soaring over the blue tides. Then he smiled. The boy smiled too. The man let out a fat guffaw. "NAH," he boomed. "Truthfully, I just really like chuckin' starfish."

And then the man laughed. Laughed a lot. "Wait, what?" thought the boy. But the man kept laughing. In good spirits the boy joined in. The man cackled. Like, an uncomfortable amount? The boy felt like he really didn't have another option other than to also keep laughing? The man's face turned red. The boy's too, out of sheer terror. Oh my God, is that a gun in his sock? Why didn't I notice his ICP t-shirt? Am I gonna die today?! Is today really the day I'm gonna