Every once in awhile, the road of life requires us to negotiate particularly tricky twists and turns, forks, and so many branchings. Today, I came to a crossroads.
It was around 2 o’clock on a blustery December afternoon. My friend – I’ll use the generic name ‘Tim’ – asked if he could borrow my glass pipe, which I occasionally use as a device for smoking marijuana. Apparently Tim had acquired some marijuana, yet lacked a means to ingest it. Since I knew I probably wouldn’t be using the pipe for the next week or two, I said “sure.” At this point all that was left to do was arrange the logistics of the pick up.
Tim said he’d be over in a few hours to pick up the pipe. I told him that if I had to run out for any reason, I would put the pipe inside a small wooden box and then place that box in my mailbox (since today is Sunday, the mailman wouldn’t be coming by, and assuredly would not be receiving an early Christmas bonus in the form of a dainty glass pipe). Anyway, as soon as I told Tim the bowl would be waiting in a small wooden box in my mailbox, an absolutely genius idea flashed before my mind’s eye, like a streak of lightening illuminating a jet-black summer sky.
About two months ago, my younger sister was given a hamster by one of her friends. It lived for a few weeks but died suddenly, so I agreed to help her bury it in a small wooden box in our back yard. As soon as the words ‘small wooden box’ rolled off my tongue during my conversation with Tim, I glimpsed a major opportunity. I could go out back, dig up the hamster’s coffin, dust the dirt and soil off of it, and place it gently in my mailbox. Tim would arrive and see the small box in my mailbox just like he had expected to, and then swiftly take the box back to his house, where Samsonite and some other friends were waiting and itching to get high. Assuming the smell wouldn’t tip him off before he got back home, Tim would likely ascend his stairs, greet his young friends, and proceed to open the box in order to pack the pipe he was expecting to find. Instead, Tim would be greeted with the small, rotting skeleton-corpse of a decaying hamster. He would likely recoil in disgust and drop the box on the ground, which would cause the hamster-corpse to roll out onto the floor. Equally shocked and disgusted, his friends would likely jump to the conclusion that Tim had finally gone totally insane.
So, the choice was ready to be made. Should I give Tim the pipe, or should I give him the hamster?
I decided on the hamster.