Monday, 1 April 2013

Buddy: My heart burns like fire

Hi!  You look… well-fed.  Perhaps a little too well-fed, really.  Overstuffed, like a couch.  And that colour you’re turning, well, you know that healthy people can’t manage that colour?  That’s congested blood, pooling in the tissues of your face because your blood-pressure’s up and your heart is struggling to maintain it, despite the fact that you’re neither fit for fight nor flight.  It’s – well, I suppose the closest thing I know is bruising.  Your face is bruising with the strength of my words.
I’m Buddy, I’ve been assigned to you.  What?  Yes, by “Corporate” if that means something to you.  What?  Well why should it mean anything to me?  I’ve just been assigned to you to help you through the troubles and tribulations of corporate life.  I’m like a life coach, only better.  No, I’m not going to shake your hand thank-you, I’ve no clue where it’s been.  Actually, from the look of your face, and the look on your face, I suspect it’s been in the chocolate box a little too often.  I worry that I might contract diabetes by touch.  I’m not interested in your opinion, thank-you very much, please keep it to yourself.  Unless you think you might eat it, in which case putting it in a safe place might be advisable.  How about – oh.
So, desk drawers are not really the right place to keep cream cakes.  You knew that, right?  Oh good.  Well, let’s get started then, since the reasons for me being here are now so apparent.  Let me tell you a little story about the non-dweller.
Once upon a time in a better place than this, where better people than us lived and were happy, was a man who was so close to enlightenment that he seemed almost transparent to everyone who saw him.  When he walked into shops, public baths and inspectorates people would often start, then stare as he walked past them, wondering if what they saw was a man or a ghost.
One day the man walked into a tiny bar where food was served, an izakaya known to everyone who lived in that place, and sat down at a small table where his friend already sat.  In front of his friend was a plate of baked mushrooms sizzling softly in a wide pool of soy sauce, some skewers of tiny whole fish that had been grilled and daubed in chili oil, a bowl of deep-fried shrimp tempura and a selection of spring vegetables heated just sufficiently to make them as vibrant and tasty as had they just been picked.  The non-dweller sat down, and the owner of the izakaya immediately approached him, bowing his head low and offering him the owner’s own sake cup to drink from.  A bottle of sake was placed on the table, and the non-dweller’s friend immediately moved it slightly to one side, away from his food.  The non-dweller looked at him and smiled.
“I believe that my friend is hungry,” he said to the owner of the izakaya.  “Please, bring him all the same dishes again so that he may sate his hunger.”  The owner did as he was bidden, and the non-dweller sipped the sake, drinking perhaps less than a quarter of the cup before the table was overflowing with dishes, and the smell of hot food rose tantalisingly all around them.  People at other tables discreetly leaned in to appreciate the exquisite cooking.
“Will you eat with me,” asked the friend at last, gesturing at the dishes that surrounded him with his chopsticks.  The non-dweller picked up a single skewer of fish and delicately ate a single fish from the tip, then placed the skewer back down.
“Is that it?” asked the friend, but his countenance betrayed his happiness that all the remaining food might be for him.
“One should eat to moderation, and never to the point of satisfaction,” said the non-dweller, and stood up and left the izakaya.
Yes, there is a reason why he’s called the non-dweller, but I don’t think it’s anything you should worry about for now.  The message of the story is not that the protagonist had a name that you find strange.  Perhaps you could think about the story as a whole, instead?
No, it’s not a message that you should start a diet, though if you were to ask me that question I suspect that I would say you should.  Or rather, you should change your current diet, as it is causing you to put cakes in your drawers instead of papers.  Keeping the papers on your desk where you must constantly look at them and remember that you’ve not done anything with them will stress you, and when you are stressed you will crave food like the cake in your drawers.  You are forcing yourself to eat by your actions.
No.  I don’t believe that putting fish in your drawers will solve the problem.  I’ve seen this tried before, all that happens is that you replace your glue-stick with a whipped cream dispenser and start eating creamed fish.  It’s a change to your diet, definitely, but not for the better.  Although no-one will want to sit next to you on the tube, which can be quite useful.
I suppose we could go and talk about the story over lunch.  Where were you thinking of eating?
Oh.  No, I can’t eat there.  My heartburn’s like fire and that would only stoke the flames.  How about… what?  No, none of the restaurants on this list are good for me.  They’re all the ones you have an expense account with?  Really?  McDonalds and an expense account?  That many cheeseburgers?  That would explain a lot.
OK, I’ll be back after you’ve eaten then.  You might want to think about the story of the non-dweller while you’re eating though, as I’ll be asking questions again later.  There are several morals to the tale actually, and I’ll give you one for free: Thin men fit through doorways more easily.  Yes, after you.
Oh.  You actually get stuck in the doorway.  I wasn’t expecting that.

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