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Harold Learns a Lesson

Written by Matt S

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Harold Learns a Lesson:
A short story

This is a story about a man named Harold. Harold thought he knew things, the same way you and I think we know things. We know until after we had thought we knew things we start to know new things, and these new things become the new know things after we find out that they contradicted (and therefore replaced) what turned out to be no knew things. If you're confused, so am I, but I think it means that we really don't know all that much. Or that we can be wrong. Or something like that. So if you're wondering why you should read this didactic short, which presumes that I know something and wish to tell you, then you got me. But you're here, this story is here, and you've gotten this far already, so why not...

All you really need to know about Harold is that Harold, like many people, liked to take shortcuts. This applies both literally and figuratively. He liked results, but he disliked effort. Seems common, no? And the thing that Harold knew, if you want to know, was that most things, if not the best things, in life can be attained with little to no effort.

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Harold was sitting in his "cube", as those who have lived in offices know it, one day at work. He was bored - as usual - but it wasn't like he didn't have any work to do. No no, Harold was thinking of how, just how, this work was going to get done. 'Cuz he sure as heck didn't want to do it. So he got to wondering, to thinking. He thought about cars and girls, movies and sports. Then he thought about what makes some people work so hard. He thought about great workers and really smart guys who lived a really long time ago. His mind, somewhat randomly, stumbled on this guy named Newton, and Harold remembered that Newton had "made" some laws, or so he thought. And he recalled how he had heard people say before that these laws govern our world and our life and how important they were and yadda yadda. And, miraculously, Harold remembered one of those laws verbatim. After all, Harold was a smart guy, or so he thought.
Harold remembered Newton's third law of... what was it again? Oh, he couldn't remember but it definitely was a law. And it said "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Harold sat up quickly in his chair, a sudden shock of awareness awakening his system. He said it to himself again. "For

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every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Almost uncontrollably excited now, he said it again.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Why it was so clear, thought Harold. If I want a lot of work to get done, then I have to do a lot of non-work. If I do a whole lot of no work, then an equal amount of its opposite, that being work, will get done! It was so simple. The opposite of no work must be work, so if he does no work, an equal amount of work will get done. Harold laughed and laughed, sat back in his chair, and fiddled his thumbs. He couldn't believe he hadn't figured this out earlier. And, truth be told, Harold worked very hard at not working. He stared, he daydreamed, he fiddled with his thumbs, and he chewed his nails. He ate, he walked around, and he even took a nap. Harold, feeling very satisfied, happily went home that day, pleased with all the work he accomplished.

Harold continued this for a full week. Then, to his surprise, his no good boss fired him. Harold was shocked and sad. He had no idea why he was fired, because he thought he was getting so much work done.

While Harold was at home during his unemployment, he thought it was a good time to get in shape. So, to accomplish this, Harold sat in place all day, every day while eating tons of junk food. If I do a whole lot of sitting, which is definitely easier and more enjoyable than working out, then this Newton guy says that I will actually get a whole lot of exercise done! So he ate, he sat, he laid down, and he ate.

Harold continued this for a full month. Then, to his surprise, he saw that he was fat. He saw that he was fat and tired all the time. He didn't understand why.

Harold thought he wanted to read some books and possibly learn something. So Harold thought he would do a whole lot of non-reading. Then an equal and opposite amount of non-reading, reading, would get done. He did this all day, every day. Avoided reading at all cost. Hey, this is easy, he thought. I'm learning so much.

Harold continued this for a full year. Then, to his surprise, he found out that he was oblivious to just about everything in the literary world. Poor Harold wasn't fortunate enough to read about the white whale or the rage of some guy named Achilles.

Finally, Harold thought he needed a date. That would cheer him up. So, as you can very well guess, Harold did a lot of non-dating. He saw pretty girls but he didn't talk

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to them, because non-talking was certain to produce some talking. And besides, non-talking is so much easier and less stressful. Working for it is just too much.

Harold continued this for a full five years. Then, to his surprise, he realized he hadn't been on a single date. No one really talked to him, and he was lonely.

Harold then decided that this Newton guy didn't know what he was talking about, or that if he did then it certainly didn't apply to Harold. So Harold learned something, and, after a lot of thinking, thought that if he wanted to get a lot of work done, get in shape, read some books, go on a date, that he would have to do just that. He would have to do just that.

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Well, my lovely and patient audience, that ends my short story. Pretty simple, huh? In fact, it was almost too simple. That way, almost anyone can read it. And hopefully, they'll get something from it.

Remember when your parents, or your teacher, or whomever, used to always say that you learn a lot from mistakes? Well you know what, sometimes it's true. And lucky you, you have just learned in 5 minutes what it took Harold to learn in 5 years. Look at all the time you now have, that you can now use and enjoy. Pardon me while I preach:

The lesson is simple: if you want something, go get it. Don't always look for the easy way out. Go after it, head on and full throttle. Put in effort and give it your best. Sometimes you have to work hard to get what you want. Take initiative and make the best of it. Go get it. Get it started. And, after you do that, keep it going strong.


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Interesting. Fable-like quality.





Very groovy man. I like this a lot.