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Cory Doctorow

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Something inspiring

Was watching Fareed Zakaria this evening when his Question of the Week reminded me of something I have wanted to post for a while.

While I don't have anything that comes to mind said by kings, presidents or even heavy metal guitar heroes, I have a joke/parable that has stuck with me since I was a child and whose philosophy I endeavor to follow even to this day.

Sadly, this joke must be so old that I had no luck finding out who originally wrote it and I found it on multiple web sites, so I'll just write up my version of it:

Years ago, there was a major flood along the Mississippi River.  Water was everywhere in this town in Missouri and, with non-stop raining and water flowing in from the north, soon all the town's streets were covered in water.

A family had managed to climb onto the roof of their house even with the water rising past their front door. A neighbor had drifted up to the house in his rowboat and asked the family if they'd like to climb in to the boat and be taken to the shelter to which he was heading.  The husband told the neighbor "No thanks, friend.  We are a religious family and are praying that God will come and save us".  So, the neighbor continued on his way.

As the sun set that day, a police boat motored up to the house and, though the bullhorn, the boat's captain asked the family if they needed help getting from the roof down to the rescue boat.  As the husband was busy praying, the wife answered "We're fine, sir. We are praying to God to save us".  With that, the wife waived off the police boat, which motored on into the night.

Later that evening, the family saw a light suddenly appear from above, then heard the whoosing and chopping noise of a helicopter.  A voice boomed from the 'copter's loudspeaker "Hang on - we're sending a basket down to grab you and your family."  The husband cupped his hands and hollered to the helicopter "We're fine down here - God will save us."

The rains continued through the night, the water level rising higher and higher until, finally, just before dawn, the waters overtook the house and the family was lost to the flood.

The family, being of faith and basically good, was rewarded with Heaven.  They were soon walking toward the Gates of Heaven.  At the gate, they greeted St. Peter, their names were quickly found and the gates were promptly opened.

The family, however, did not advance through the gate.  The husband and wife got St. Peter's attention and, almost in synch, asked "We don't understand!  We prayed and prayed, asking God to help us through the storm, the flood and all that mess.  Were we not faithful enough?"

St. Peter answered, "Really? What were you expecting? God arranged for the rowboat, the police boat and the helicopter!"

So, as I await a boat, helicopter or something else to get me to the next part of my life, the party here continues.

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