a short, short story
When I was cleaning up the attic of my soul a few days ago, I
came across quite a number of precious items, the kind of things
that one knows one will never use again but cannot bear to part
with. After years of storage, I had almost (but not quite)
forgotten they were there. A lot of it is simply rubbish, of
course: a bushel basket of broken promises, every issue of
Resolutions going back to 1962, a couple of Vanities, a Vice or
two, that kind of thing. Eventually, I felt, I would simply dump
all that stuff in the trash, when I have the time.
But there is no feeling quite like the pride of past
achievements. As I surveyed those trophies, my heart swelled.
There on the shelf under the gable stands my Sense of Self-Worth,
seven feet tall, dusty, but gleaming with gold. Right next to it
is my Appetite for Success, mouth wide open, and on the other side,
my darkly glowing Self-Righteousness, still shining dimly, giving
just enough light to deceive.
Looking down the room, I spotted my first, rusting Self-Esteem
engine. Right above it were the real treasures of the attic: row
upon row of Dead Legalisms, all stuffed and mounted very
professionally. A lot of them are still in good shape, despite the
passage of years. I picked a couple of them up for a moment, and
it seemed to me that they were a good bit heavier than I remembered
them to be. Beautiful work.
And just beyond them was my old Works Salvation. I pulled it
away from the wall and got on it, for the first time in years. The
movement was cranky and needed some oil, but after I finally got
it wound up, it ran pretty good. Of course, it did not work, but
then it had never worked; it just made impressive sounds and took
up a lot of space. But almost everyone has one, and it was somehow
gratifying to know that I could still operate mine -- such good
Stepping off it, I looked back over the room. Several times I
had resisted the impulse just to throw the whole lot out. There was
nothing there of value to anyone but me, and I would undoubtedly be
better off without all that rubbish. I firmly resolved to clean it
all out -- when I get around to it. I stepped back toward the attic
But wait! What was that I saw at the end of the room, peeking
out of a case on the floor? Was it -- yes, it was. After all
these years, imagine finding a bottle of vintage Religious
Respectability. In fact, a whole case! I decided to take a bottle
back downstairs. I remembered, it only takes a drop or two to
really rev you up. It was comforting to think that, with a whole
case, I probably have a lifetime supply.
RMA, September, 2000
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