TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE
Minutes after I learned that the purpose of life is ‘to be you’ I found myself committing identity fraud.
I was in the queue at Woolies, wondering if people still do that thing in supermarkets where they hook up for sex with strangers by hanging around aisle 9 with only bananas in their trolleys, when my ears caught the conversation of two American tourists chatting in front of me.
The blonde one, Kaylee, was lamenting the fact she was wasting her life (which did cause me to wonder just how long she’d actually been in the queue) and the brunette one, Teresa (obviously named after the Saint) was offering comfort by way of a piece of beef jerky.
“Why are you crying?” Teresa implored. ‘I promise the beef jerky’s low fat!’
“I don’t know the purpose of my life,” whimpered Kaylee.
“Please control yourself,” begged Teresa, “negative emotions will ruin your hair.”
It was awkward. The queue wasn’t moving. Our supermarket has a self-checkout facility which is apparently ostensibly to save us all time, but actually always takes much longer due to the fact that no one in our neighbourhood, it seems, is familiar with manual labour, and this includes wiping a bar code across a glass screen.
But I was glad for the queue and the discussion because I’d coincidentally allocated the previous five weeks to finding ‘the purpose of life’ and the only thing I’d come up with was some toilet door graffiti that said ‘Jesus is coming… look busy.’
So thank heavens a stranger appeared in the queue to help Kaylee and me solve our conundrum. Let’s call him Bob (the bloke, not the conundrum.)
Now, I couldn’t tell if Bob, with his long hair, beard and shabby chic attire was a rock star or homeless. I also couldn’t tell if he was a genius or insane. This is not surprising, most women aren’t good judges of men. A friend of mine thought a guy was the strong silent intellectual type, so she married him and found out he was just dumb.
“Hello,” Bob said to me in the kind of extremely affectionate manner that usually means a bloke’s drunk.
“There’s a Jewish tale of a rabbi named Zusya who died. As he waited for God to appear, he grew nervous thinking about how little he’d done with his life.
“He began to imagine that God was going to ask him why he hadn’t been more like Moses, or say, ‘Why weren’t you Solomon or why weren’t you David?’ But when God appeared, the rabbi was surprised, because God simply asked, ‘Why weren’t you Zusya?’”
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