A Story of Why We All Need Some Misfortune in our Lives
We live in a world where there is sadness after a breakup and the demise of a loved one, hate in the form of racism, bigotry, and jealousy for our friends’ success and pure cold suffering. There is no denying it. Our limitations as mankind are what make the world unbearable for some who choose to part with imperfection to attain true happiness.
Or is it?
A middle-aged man who goes by Neal after his month-long promotion to product manager strolls sadly and steadily down the street as he heads home. He carries a cardboard box full of office supplies and a pink blanket that his wife had on a chilly night that she was killed by thugs as they stepped out of the cinema. They were celebrating their 15th anniversary as a couple when fate chose to change that. The cardboard box as heavy as a steel cube; a symbol of 20 years of loyalty in a company he would no longer work for.
“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to let you go.” The human resource manager tells Neal. “The company has not been doing very well lately and we are letting off a lot of our employees. Thank you for your service and loyalty.”
Neal’s heels start to ache from the walking and his Oxford shoes and not helping either. “What has my life become?” He ponders. The thoughts spiral into a carousel of memories. His truck being towed away for numerous unpaid tickets, his recent demise, the heartless depose, and his life slowly falling apart to an empty void. He cries openly in the street wishing the earth would swallow him whole. He reaches home and takes a nap to help him clear off his mind and get a crystal picture of his next steps.
Later that night, Neal wakes up, picks a short tumbler as usual but does not go for its usual companion — the Single Malt Scotch Whisky. He instead takes a different bearing on the situation. Neal goes for the Cabernet Sauvignon to celebrate. Why not? He drinks half the bottle, dresses up in a sharp suit, and calls a taxi.
“To The Trident!” Neal lets out a half-drunk command, half desperate plea. He stares at the Trident restaurant wall for most of his meal and goes for a walk. The breathtaking size of the Golden Gate Bridge makes him gaze for a second and makes his mind clear. He walks up to the railing, sets up his arms for a leap, and measures his trajectory. Truly, the sight of a man suffering.
A man in rags walks up to him with a smile and asks kindly of what he was doing. “Nothing! What are you doing here?” He relays back defensively. The man, disappointed in Neal’s gesture, starts walking away. Neal who is fearful of not getting a chance to get his mind changed calls back the man. “I’m sorry. I came to catch some air.”
“Is that really what you are doing?” asks the man. “Yes. I’m sure.”
“Ok then, I’ll let you be.” He starts walking away again.
“Alright, stop! I’ll tell you why I am here. My life is a mess. The world is a mess. The world is full of suffering, war, and sadness. There are people fighting which make us live in fear, there are rains and winds that tear off people’s home, there is hunger, pain, and death. For that reason, I have come to jump.”
“What sort of life would you want?” The man asks in awe and disbelief.
“A world where there is always joy, peace, and unity. A world where there is no suffering, hunger, war, or pain. That is the sort of world I would love to live in.”
The man approaches Neal until he is too close to be a safe distance from the railing and pushes him on to the Pacific Ocean. They lock eyes as Neal drops to a dark and peaceful slumber.
“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.”
― Marcel Proust
Read Part II