Thursday, June 12, 2008

Short Story - For the One Who Has Everything

As I entered the store I saw a sign saying “For people who have everything” and it actually made me smile. Normally signs like that one, and their variations, tend to annoy me a bit.

You can find them in almost any store selling curios junk and strange gadgets. Due to the male-centric nature of such stores they more often say something along the lines of “The perfect gift for the man who has everything!” and sit atop tables filled with some really strange contraption that no one is ever likely to own.

This time though, the table under the sign wasn't filled with something like that. There were no electric corkscrews with built in short-wave radio transceivers. No toaster ovens with 3-inch LCD status screens. No vibrating keyboards. No boxer shorts that double as refrigerator magnets. There were none of those strange (and usually pretty useless and dreadfully expensive) gadgets that they usually try to sell to people desperate for that unique gift.

Instead it was just an empty table. They had probably just run out of whatever was on the table before but it was still really nice to see to me. Because really, what does the one who has everything need? I would immediately say nothing. And if they already have everything they certainly already have that weird gadget, whatever it is and however inconceivable it is.

So I thought the empty table carried great symbolism. And then I started thinking about what you should actually give the people who have everything.

I thought about it while browsing the store. I also started thinking about what you should give people who has nothing, a question that suddenly seemed just as hard. It felt very hard to know where to begin with people who has nothing when there is so much that they need.

Soon I came to the conclusion that the thing that the one who has everything needs is something that the one who has nothing also needs. After that I suddenly felt done with my shopping, left the store and went home.

As I walked into the apartment I immediately smelled smoke. Quickly running into the kitchen I found my temporary roommate taking something out of the oven.

I don't know what it was before he put it in there, but when it came out it was something black and shriveled up. It didn't look at all edible and looked about as sad as my roommate.

“My life is such a mess,” he said, putting down the severely blackened piece of food in disgust. “I'm still out of a job. I still live with you since I can't afford my own place. My car is gone, my girlfriend has definitely left me for good now and I seem to have lost the ability to cook. I just feel like have nothing going right in my life right now. I have nothing.”

I looked at his sad face for a moment.

“Come here,” I said, waving him over. “I picked something up for you at the mall today.”

He looked surprised and a bit happier and slowly went up to me to see what it was. As he got close I stepped up to him and put my arms around him, drawing him in close to me.

“A hug, just for you,” I whispered by his ear, as he hugged me back.

“Well, then at least I have that,” he whispered back, and I could hear in his voice that he was now smiling that sweet smile of his.

And he was right. He did have at least a hug. And he could have as many more as he would ever want from me, as well as a friendship that should last a lifetime. When he thought about that he seemed to feel that life isn't all that bad anyway.