The Parable of the Offended Man

29 Apr 2009

One day a man called Lucius was walking towards a supermarket when another, a big, burly man, stopped him and said: "You offend me, sir."

When Lucius then asked the other how he had caused offense, the other growled and said: "There are many reasons. You are no perfect man. You covet, you blaspheme, you do not follow the Law."

"What law might that be?" Lucius asked, but the other merely flexed his muscles and growled again.

"Now, since I'm a nice guy", the other said, drawing a long, heavy nail, like some crude stiletto, from a deep pocket, "I'm going to do something about that."

Lucius naturally cringed, but no harm came to him: the big man pushed the nail into his own left bicep, grimacing with pain, eyes rolling in his sweaty face like marbles in a dishwasher. Some froth was involved in the regions of his mouth, too. After a while he pulled the nail out, wrapped a bandage around his arm, and smiled. "There."

Lucius, unsure of what to say, merely repeated this: "There?"

"Now I've forgiven you all your offenses against me."

"Huh?"

"Usually, when someone offends me, I do pretty ugly things to them --- that nail thing for starters, then something with pitchforks. But since I'm a nice guy, I decided I'll take it on myself, on a condition. So run along now, little man. As long as you remember this, you're alright in my eyes. If not, well..."

And he chuckled, his eyes twinkling like moonlight on a sea of raised knives.

"Er, right", Lucius muttered, and then staggered back from the angrily flexing bloody bicep as it was thrust towards him.

"Listen, you idiot! Don't you value the suffering I went through for you? I'd have beaten you to bloody pulp otherwise, you moron!"

Lucius smiled a rictus, nodded, and then ran. Thanks to blood loss and the timely arrival of the nice men in white coats, he got away.

last updated: (Mar 15 2011)