Thursday, October 26, 2006

Recursion Paradox

An alarm buzzer sounds. A weary and reticent hand reached out from under the covers to silence it. Bob felt old. He was only thirty today, but turning an age divisible by ten is a milestone that always plays tricks on your mind to make it think its body spontaneously aged by ten years all on its birthday.

Bob was about to be given the most amazing gift for his thirtieth birthday; a gift from God or Fate or the Way or something else entirely. As he headed into the bathroom, he didn't notice that the sink was already full. He flicked the light switch which immediately blew all three bulbs in the bathroom. The odds of this, thought Bob, were astronomical. The brief flash left an iridescent glow playing on the surface of the substance in the sink. Bob noticed it now. The odds of what Bob was about to see were more than astronomical.

Bob leaned over the sink and into a window into another world. As he closed in he could make out figures moving about on the other side of the portal. Through this vision Bob saw himself, his family, his children and his grandchildren to come. It was beautiful; magnificent. They were all smiling, happy. All his insecurities about the future melted away; his worries, fears, and dread evaporated in an instant. He knew that what he was seeing was real.

This vision gave Bob an inner peace he had always dreamt of. Soon, he didn't worry about anything. He didn't worry at work when he lost that big sale to the new client. He didn't even mind when they fired him for it. He knew everything would work out. He didn't even bother looking for a job because he knew the right one would find him and one day he would live the life he saw on his thirtieth birthday. When he couldn't pay the bills anymore, his wife left him and took the children with her.

He was sure that they would come back, because he already knew what his future held. Eventually he had nothing left. Bob stopped living his life to dream about what could have been. He watches his vision of his wonderful life over and over again in his head. When he finally snaps out of this loop, he sees the horror that he has let his life become. Unmaintained, alone, and miserable, Bob ends his life.

Appalled, Bob stepped back from the sink. The vision within the vision left him scarred. Driven to madness by what he saw, he clutched too tightly to all that he held in life. Constantly worried, always afraid, Bob never enjoyed a minute's peace even in the best of moments in life. His children have birthdays and graduations, weddings and children, but he's too scared to lose it all to just live in the moment. Bob dies of a heart attack at fifty.

There were many questions and uncertainties all through Bob's life, that when taken for granted could amass destruction or when overly tended cause needless fret and heartache. He was given a gift to see some of the answers to these questions, but the greatest question of Bob's life was this, "When will he step away from the sink?"

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