Q. What’s happening now?
Q. Isn’t that a good thing?
A. What do you mean?
Q. Well, why should you have any faith in yourself?
A. Why should I not?
Q. Are you not completely flawed far beyond your capacity even to know it?
A. That’s what the Bible says, yes. But still, I think in practical reality, it somehow doesn’t help for me to grasp how completely incapable I am.
Q. But isn’t God fully capable?
A. Well sure He is. But so what? God’s not going to come down and tie my shoe for me. There are some things a person just has to do for themselves.
Q. How many times has God come down and helped you find a missing item?
A. Many times. Sometimes I just shout out: “Where’s my glasses?” Then I find myself looking straight at them. But He still won’t help me tie my shoe.
Q. Are you having a problem tying your shoes?
A. Not anymore. Not since I’m no longer being ridiculed about the way I tie them.
Q. Who used to ridicule you?
A. Oh, the kids on the playground.
Q. Wasn’t that a long time ago?
A. Yeah, but it stuck with me.
Q. So what did the kids say when they ridiculed you?
A. Apparently, I’m throwing some kind of extra movement into the tying of the shoe that doesn’t need to be there. They laughed because I don’t tie my shoes the right way. I only tie them my way.
Q. But your way still works, doesn’t it?
A. More-or-less. I do notice I have to bend down and retie them a lot.
Q. And what else do you notice?
A. Sometimes I forget to tie them entirely. I just go about walking with them untied.
Q. Then what happens?
A. Depends on whether I’m alone or with another person. If I’m alone, I just wait until there’s a logical place to tie my shoe without having to bend down all the way to the ground. Like, you know, a fire hydrant. Then I tie my shoe using the hydrant.
Q. What if there’s another person with you?
A. Usually, they notice that my shoe isn’t tied, and they tell me to tie my shoe.
Q. What do you do then?
A. Well, I certainly don’t tie it just because they told me to! I usually respond with an expletive, adding that I’ll tie my shoe when I’m good and ready.
Q. Do you have issues with authority?
A. I have issues with people issuing direct imperatives, yes. Especially if they are not an authority, but an equal.
Q. Are authorities not equals?
A. I suppose they are. They just don’t act like it.
Q. So you dislike not being treated as an equal?
A. Dislike doesn’t say it. I despise it. We’re all equals and no one has the right to treat someone as a subordinate. Unless, of course, you’re in the military or some other form of hierarchical structure to which you’ve signed on. And in such a case, you asked for it.
Q. You did? What if you got drafted?
A. Good point. I’d have escaped to Canada, myself.
Q. Might you still?
A. Might I still what?
Q. Escape to Canada?
A. At this point, that would hardly be an escape. More like a practical maneuver. But I doubt they’d let me in. I think I have to marry someone there, or something like that.
Q. Would you like to marry someone from Canada?
A. Sounds pretty romantic, but probably unlikely.
Q. What about a marriage of convenience?
A. I wouldn’t know anything about those. I’ve only been in a marriage of inconvenience.
Q. What was inconvenient about it?
A. Uh — conflict of lifestyles. But aren’t we getting off the subject?
Q. What was the subject?
A. Something about equality and authority.
Q. Ah yes, how could I forget?
A. I have no idea.
Q. So — as I was saying, do you dislike being treated as an unequal?
A. Of course! Who likes to be treated with condescension?
Q. Why is this on your mind?
A. Something disturbing that happened a few days ago. An unpleasant interaction with an old friend of mine.
Q. Who did not treat you as an equal?
A. Well – triggered the memory thereof. The memory of — almost never being regarded as an equal. A time in my life when I just accepted the uneasy fact that most people looked down on me, as though I were despicable.
Q. Why would you have been despicable?
A. Uh — homeless — and homeless in the Big City. It’s cold enough in the Big City to begin with. When you become homeless, you find out just how cold it can be.
Q. But you’re not homeless now, are you?
A. No I’m not.
Q. Why are you so hung up on the past?
A. That, sir, might be the most important question you have ever asked me.
The Questioner is silent.
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