Linda Ravenswood wrote to me. She said she had written a "fairy tale" after seeing my movie. I thought it would be fun to share.
Once upon a time there was a man who didn’t wish to hurt anything.
He wouldn’t have eaten his lunch except for the fact that his wife begged him: Please, what are you, trying to kill yourself?
You think that’s not going to have some impact?
How will I raise the children and keep clothes on them?
Eat, would you? You’re driving me crazy.So the man who wished to do no harm, saw more good in eating his lunch than killing himself and leaving his children with no clothes to keep them.
Later that night however, it was the same thing over dinner — the man worried if he should eat the dish before him, which could be hurting someone somewhere, not to mention the noodles, or if he should go hungry and eventually die, his children going without clothes.
He was so annoying to his wife that she went next door to visit the neighbours she hardly knew.
The man who wished to do no harm stayed behind, playing with the children and staring at the pile of dishes, too afraid to turn on the faucet, for fear that someone somewhere would be adversely affected. After some time, his wife came home and stood in the doorway.
Are you still nuts ? she said.
The man who wished none harm hung his head yeah and went to bed. The next morning as he was waking, the man had a few brief seconds of stupor, when he didn’t remember the tainted soybeans because of the embargo, the fumes choking the ozone layer of the atmosphere, the starving people in the refugee centre in Chad, all those plastic bottles. But when he got a hold of himself, he realized everything.
Also, as he looked down at the bedsheets, he noticed he was soaking in a great dispersion of what appeared to be blood. Well that’s more than usual, even on a heavy day, he opined thoughtfully. But his wife was nowhere in sight. He pulled back on the bedclothes and revealed to himself that to the contrary, it was he who was bleeding profusely. He sat up, frightened and looked for the telephone. He paused for only a second before deciding to indeed use the electricity to make the call. Emergency, excuse me, I need you straight away.
When he awoke in hospital and saw all of the drippings, the cording, the machinery with frontfaces bordered in digital lights, the energy wasting ding, the plastic tubes, the bright fluorescent lights above — he closed his eyes in a faint and fell asleep. Later that afternoon, when he was slightly recovered, the doctors were there in his room. Hello there, young fella. Quite a morning, huh ? D’ ya know where you are ? The man who wished no one harm told them that he knew he was in hospital after waking to find his bedclothes covered in blood.
Yes Sir, it appears you need some new organs there, about a handful, give or take, I’d say, wouldn’t you say so too, Dr. Fujiyaki ?
About a handful, yes, that seems about right. Give or take and they smiled and waited for the man to say something.
New organs ? he said shakily.
Yes, we could draw you a map of what’s the deal here, have you got any paper ?The doctors looked around and found only an unopened card attached to a flower arrangement. Mind if we use this ?
No, no, go right ahead the man said.
The doctors opened the envelope, Gee that’s nice… To our neighbour. Get well quick ! Love from The Johnson’s in 1A. Great to have neighbours, huh ?
The doctors flipped over the card and proceeded to draw the most convoluted diagrams, up one side of the little paper and down the other. They looked more like drunken directions to buried treasure, than medical chartings. The man sighed gloomily.
Don’t you worry now, Dr. Makai is the greatest when it comes to organs.
And then, like a bunch of girls at a nightclub, the doctors walked off together, in a tight clutch.
The man sat there staring into middle space. He almost didn’t notice when his wife sat down. She had two bags of groceries with her and a wet umbrella. She took a few deep breaths — Seems we’ve come to a cross roads, an event horizon, so they say.
What do you mean dear ? he said weakly.It’s put up or shut up, that’s what I mean. So what’s it gonna be ? The surgeon or the undertaker ? she said.
I’m not sure I follow said the man.
What I mean is, are you gonna let those doctors scrub up with insecticide or whatever they use, from non biodegradable plastic carafes, put on latex gloves from slave labour in Indonesia, work under lightbulbs that denuded the mountains of tungsten, blah blah blah like you’re always saying, or are you going to roll over and die like a worm? Well?
He looked at his wife tenderly. I’ve been sitting here thinking, actually. Thinking about the organs. And if you think of it, well, it’s just like my whole lifes coming round to say that all the pains I’ve tried to take for recycling, weren’t for naught. You know, like even these organs will be second hand. And he smiled. A brand new tear filled his eye.So what you’re saying is, correct me if I’m wrong, is, that you are going to let them use all of this junk on you and then you’re gonna go right back to acting like a nut — do I understand you right ?
But he kept smiling, knowing one day, she would just have to see it his way.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.