Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Comedy of Errors (not about the play) (08/18/11)
TITLE: In Self-Defense
By Hiram Claudio
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Bill peeked into the office coffee room. Someone was laughing uncontrollably. It was Tony. They’d been friends for years.
Catching his breath, Tony replied, “I’ve just had one of the worst days.”
Totally confused, Bill said, “Worst days? Why are you laughing?”
“It started this morning. The central office called and said the finance report that was due next month is due tomorrow. We had the information so it was just copying and collating. But then we found out that brand new fancy copier wouldn’t work. We have two hour tech support for it. But then we found out the support company had a fire last night and can’t come till next week. All this was before ten o’clock.”
“Wow! That’s some start to a day.”
“It gets better. I left Susan to figure that out and went back to my office. I found the finance information had a number of huge errors. As I began to go through the report, I realized this would take me two days to fix.”
“Oh my, could it get any worse?”
“It did! I began working on that report but then broke for lunch around noon. Went to my car and it wouldn’t start. I called the auto club. They said they’d be right over. As I got out only then did I notice that the right passenger tire was flat.”
Bill himself smiling now, “Oh my goodness.”
“It’s just been a day of one thing after another. It got to a point where, in self-defense, you just gotta laugh. It felt like once things started going wrong, I was powerless to stop any of it. What could I do?”
“That’s a really awful day.”
“Things like that happen, like in life sometimes. You try this philosophy or some new thing and it sets off a chain of events that are not what you wanted. But once you’ve started the process, you have to see it through right? It’s like a ride – you’re powerless to get off.”
Bill paused for a moment, then spoke, “Wait a minute Tony. The day you had truly was a collection of mistakes that were out of your control. But it’s not the same thing as a series of mistakes that are tied to trying some new thing. What you call ‘trying a new thing’ I call choices. What you call a ‘chain of events’ I call consequences. In that case, it’s entirely within your control.”
“Perhaps. But once you open the door, you’re pretty helpless to stop things. You have to see it through.”
“That’s crazy. I’m not trying to preach to you but another word for these choices is sin. And no matter what poor choices you’ve made, that’s never an excuse for seeing them through to the end. Sin number one never justifies sin number two. You can always get off in the middle.”
“But what’s the point? Once you’ve taken that first step, you might as well as go for it all. I mean no one should sin or make poor choices but if you’re going to, might as well sin boldly. You know what I always say … in for a penny, in for a pound.”
“But there’s a truth your philosophy ignores. The reality that cleaning up a penny’s mess is easier than cleaning up a pound’s mess. Especially if the mess you created touches the lives of others.”
“Hmmm … really never saw that.”
“Remember, God give us the power to avoid poor choices completely. But just because we don’t use that power doesn’t mean we can’t lean on Him to get off the sin rollercoaster once we’ve boarded. Trying to laugh it off at the end, in poor life choices, is not self-defense. That’s self-justification. Besides staying on to the end never becomes funny, trust me. It’s just not true that once you’ve taken a seat that you’re obligated to finish the ride.”
“I guess I’ve still lots to learn.”
“We all do my friend. Look, it’s five o’clock. How about I buy you dinner? You could use something good happening today.”
Tony smiled as they grabbed their jackets and left the office.
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