Houses built of sand

Heya, it's me, Buddy, back to help you take the next step forward on the path to a better understanding.  I reviewed your homework from last time, and you didn't understand the point of the cold ham, but otherwise it was a good attempt.  Don't worry about it for the moment, there will come a time when suddenly everything will fall into place.  For me, it was while I was on a walking tour of Chinese firework factories, which was unfortunate.  You can read about it in the newspapers of the time.

Today, I have a little story for you about... well, listen to the story, and maybe you can tell me what it's about!

A couple of years ago I was working in a large office that was predominantly open-plan except for offices for the more senior managers.  Those offices had glass walls and doors, which made them little more than ovens in summer.  There's a moral there in itself: he who dwells in a glass office cubicle should beware flammable paperwork; but that wouldn't be relevant for a couple of months.  I was sat at my desk meditiating on the optimal solution for Minesweeper, when a colleague of mine approached.

"Buddy, hi!" he said with a bonhomie that I immediately felt was false.  "I was wondering if you could help me out with some furniture?"

I paused for thought.  Although this is not the strangest question I've been asked, either before or since, it was certainly a puzzling one.  However, my fantastic intellect coped as I expected.

"I think you want George in Accounts," I said loudly.  "He hires himself out as furniture on the weekends.  Although I think he prefers to be naked."

My colleague looked a little stunned and his face gradually suffused with red until he looked like a blushing Weeble.  I wondered if indeed he would wobble but not fall over, but couldn't reach him across my desk.  "Er, no, Buddy, that's not what I meant," he said quietly, leaning in a little.  "I meant, I'm moving into a new flat on the weekend and it's unfurnished.  I was thinking you might have some old furniture you don't want any more than you could let me have.  Maybe you could drop it round on Saturday afternoon?"

At that time I wasn't fully enlightened and I still had some lingering attachments to material things, but I had succeeded in giving up quite a lot of my possessions already.  I had little intention of surrending the little I had left.

"You must ask yourself," I said, lifting my hands up, "if these are the hands of a carpenter.  If they are not, then why would you expect me to have an excess of furniture?  You attach yourself too easily to material objects.  Whereas I must take the low road, and suffer the degradation of owning, of possessing, of enslaving the material world and denigrating myself, debasing myself in the gutter of ownership and washing myself in the filth of purchase, you have the chance to start afresh, to free yourself from the sins of your father and to bask in the reflected glory of the already enlightened.  A lack of furniture is the obvious way to rid yourself of all possessions, and all the psychological ties that are associated with them.  Untie the bonds and free your spirit!  Burn your books and your bra, deny yourself the comfort of a feather bed and sleep instead on the simple earth and commune with it.  Learn about it as it already knows about you, and appreciate what it can teach you.  Aim for enlightenment, for to aim lower is to deny yourself the fullness of what you can become."

"...thanks Buddy..." he muttered, plucking at his shirt where his bra-straps were showing.  He shuffled away not talking to anyone and reminding me again of a weeble.

A few days later, just before the weekend, he fell down fourteen flights of stairs, thus revealing to me that some weebles don't wobble but do fall down.

The moral of this tale, therefore, is that George from Accounts offers very reasonable rates to impersonate furniture, although it is better not to have guests round when he is working.

The End

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