A Story

So Mike gave me a story idea, and then I was thinking about interactivity and such, and treasure hunts. So I’m going to ‘have a go’ at linking them all together. I’ll bold the story parts below so you know what is story and what is instructions to the next part of the story.

I was born in the space between a white picket fence and a giant weedy tangle of evergreen bushes. After being run off by some angry suburbanites, my mother had really no where to go. Wherever she went, she was treated as a leper, as a thief, as something unclean. She was alone, and near to giving birth to me and my 3 siblings.

I don’t remember opening my eyes at first. I don’t remember the brightness of that first day. I don’t even remember the sense of loss I must have felt at being separated from my sister, my brothers, my mother. Perhaps the shock is lost somewhere in my memory, occasionally brought forward as nostalgia or melancholy, brought on by a familiar sound or smell.

My early life was hard – scavenging, moving all the time, living off the leavings of others. It wasn’t that bad though. I didn’t have time to be envious, to watch the twinkle and gleam of inside lives. I had my family. We kept each other warm, looked out for each other. But it was always a little different after the first time I heard my mom get really angry.

It was an odd sort of situation. My brothers, Cerne and Cassis, were trash diving at a local park for some useful odds and ends and maybe some food. The whole family was there. My mother and sister Cassy were washing up a bit after their own ‘dives’, and I was playing lookout. The park was mostly deserted at this time of day – late afternoon – except for a few bums lounging.

A woman trotted towards us with her dog. Seeing us, the dog went crazy – barking, tugging at the leash, and generally furious. I called to my brothers, and they quickly turned to face the danger. But still the woman approached. She tried to contain her dog, but he was a big dog. Despite our family outnumbering him, we were all small. And afraid.

But we were quick. Cassy darted around the dog and away, and Cassis quickly followed. Cerne jumped up on top of a garbage can and made to go up into the trees, but the branches were too small. One splintered beneath him, knocking him back onto the ground. The dog moved in to wring him by the neck, but my mother stopped him. She deliberately put herself in front of my brother and snarled.

I’ve never heard such an ugly sound. I couldn’t believe it, coming from my own mother. The hairs stood up all along my body. Even the big dog was a little afraid. He stepped back, and looked around for his master. She tried to quiet him, but I knew that his courage was coming back. While his attention was distracted, it was now or never.

The story continues with perspectives from a variety of sources on the events.

To complete this story as if the narrator runs away and escapes, click here.

To complete this story as if the narrator stays to help his family, click here.

To complete this story on your own or give opinion on the process thus far, pleaseĀ  comment below.

Why I have the best boss in the world.

Does anyone remember the live-action movie of that children’s classic, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery? Besides being a wonderful story, it had great songs with extreme choreography such as “A Snake in the Grass” and “I’m on Your Side”. The one brought to mind today though is “Why Am I Happy? I’m Dying of Thirst,” or, in this case, ‘Why am I happy? My Job is the Most Boring On Earth.’
Granted, the job is not boring and stressful at the same time, like working in a bank or hospital where you can screw up someone’s finances or health. But still, it wears on me, the day after day slog of pointless activity – answering the phone, opening the mail, making some copies, scheduling some meetings and finally going home. It hurts my soul a little. However, every once and awhile there’s a little light that comes in. usually it’s in the form of actual research projects my boss gives me, data that I can be proud to find and quickly organize, getting to use that rotting organ, my brain.

Recently in my ceaseless mail opening there’s been quite a few holiday gifts to my boss from various companies and organizations he works with. Sometimes these will be food or tasty beverage items that he shares. Other times these will be more practical items, like office gadgets or a finance or investment related book. One of my favorites this year was Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. What does this book have to do with investing? My co-workers could not decide, and my boss playfully announced our office would now follow the Mongol model and proceed to take over the world. I was ready, just as soon as he gave us our ponies – Mongolian horde ponies, of course.

So he gave me my next research project – what is the proper weaponry of the Mongol Horde? What, exactly, would we need to advance our mission of taking over the world? Wikipedia, here I come!

In the end it’s not the fact that my boss is such a relaxed manager, or that he feels comfortable joking around with his staff that keeps me feeling good about my job. True, I work at a large institution where people might tend to be lost. But at the basic level, in the small moments like this, it’s when I really know that this institution truly values education and learning. It’s in one person saying to another ‘let’s find out’, that curiosity in our own history and the world around us that gives me a renewed sense of purpose. True, my phone answering and mail opening are very small in the scale of life, but at least I know they are menial tasks that support something meaningful, that are in some small way contributing to the larger world.