I received some complaints about the previous story being a bit too dark, so I’ve taken this feedback into consideration (and quietly discarded it) to write a fable I think you’re all going to like even better!
The Plans of a Tack
Once upon a time, there was a tack named Arthur.
Arthur had a very important job. It was Arthur’s job to hold up the Quarterly Financial Reports. Every three months, new Quarterly Financial Reports would come out, so a hand would pull Arthur from the cork board, throw the old Quarterly Financial Reports into the trash can below, and pin Arthur back to the cork board to hold up the new Quarterly Financial Reports.
Even though the job was extremely important, Arthur didn’t like it very much. It never felt very meaningful to him.
His other tack friends told him he should be grateful for the job he had. He might very well have been stuck holding up some old birthday party announcement from last year like poor Dante. Or he could have been like Michelle, whose job didn’t even need to exist since the piece of paper she was pinned to was a sticky Post-It note that would have stayed stuck to the cork board with or without her. Or, worst of all, he might have remained in the tack drawer with all the other unused tacks who didn’t have jobs at all.
So Arthur tried to be grateful. He tried and he tried, but the gratefulness wouldn’t come. He wanted something more than to be trapped in cork all his life. He wanted to get out and experience the world. He had big questions he wanted to find the answers to. Questions like:
What was an adventure like, and how might somebody have one?
Was there such a thing as a soul? And if Arthur had a soul, was it in his metal part, or his plastic part?
Were bees really part-tack, as he had been led to believe?
But more important than all of these, he wanted his life to mean something.
These thoughts grew too powerful. So one day, when the Quarterly Financial Reports were due to be replaced, Arthur decided to escape.
He said goodbye to all of his bewildered tack friends, and when the old Quarterly Financial Reports went into the trash, Arthur slipped from the hand’s grip and dropped with the papers into the trash can below.
The world outside the office was like nothing Arthur had ever experienced. There was just so much to do! After managing to get himself out of the dumpster, the world was his cork board.
He toured the city while stuck to a shoe, but after he saw the whole city, he wanted more.
He got really into music for a while and spent some time as an avant-garde earring, but after visiting all the hottest clubs and listening to all the loudest bands, it all started to feel the same.
He attached himself to a tire and went on a soul-searching road trip across the country, but when he got to the other side he didn’t find anything particularly soul-like.
He even got an exciting part-time job at the police station holding a string to a cork board, but this was far too much like his old job, and he didn’t last very long.
After lots of traveling, Arthur began to feel somewhat empty. He’d had many experiences, but nothing seemed to stick with him. He didn’t feel like he had actually accomplished anything. Was moving from place to place experiencing things all it took to have an adventure? What might it feel like to do something truly meaningful?
He had discovered, at least, that if he did have a soul, then it must exist in the part of him that was metal, because travel had worn away his plastic part almost completely.
Eventually, Arthur found himself living with a very strange old woman who gave him all sorts of unusual jobs to do.
She tried to use him to write a letter, but that didn’t work very well.
She tried to use him to cook kebabs, but that didn’t work very well either.
She even tried to use him to open a wine bottle, but that didn’t work at all!
Eventually, the strange old woman put the bottle back in very bottom of the basement wine rack with Arthur still in the cork, and she forgot about him.
And so it was that Arthur found himself trapped in cork once again. But now, he wasn’t even holding anything important to it, and he felt rather silly. He began to wish he’d stayed at the office. At least there he’d had friends and a job to do, even if it didn’t feel like a very meaningful one.
The years rolled by, and dust settled all over Arthur and the bottle. And that is where he remained.