A man walked out of the bank to find his friend standing there with a look of surprise on his face.
“They’ve taken all my money!” he said.
“All the cash from your paycheck?”?“All of it,” said the friend.
They looked down the street where the fleet-footed thieves must have disappeared.
“Wow,” said the first one.
“What?” said his friend.
“You just worked a whole week for nothing. That stinks.”
The man with no money was silent. As they walked down the street, his friend listed all the ways the previous week had been a waste for the men.
“We go in for forty hours every week. We fight traffic for another ten. We struggle to get ourselves awake for five hours every week before we even get in our cars. We try to come down for a couple hours every night when we really can’t enjoy our time off. Then we’ve got to prepare ourselves for the next day. We stay in because we can’t go out and enjoy ourselves because we have to get up early. There’s eight hours of restless sleep; if it’s peaceful it’s over much too quickly. Then, there’s the weekend. We say, thank God for a day off! But let’s not kid ourselves about our days off; how much of them is spent dreading Monday? Thank God it’s Friday, we say. We call Wednesday “hump-day” as if it’s a hurdle to get over. We live for the years when our bodies will be too frail to enjoy any savings that isn’t eaten up by all the things in this world designed to eat up our money.”
The man paused for a moment, considering the weight of all he had just said. It obviously hadn’t been the first time he had thought these things. But his penniless friend was silent, so he said, “Right?”
“Let me ask you something.”
“Anything,” said the man with a negligible amount of money in his pocket.
“I know how much you make. Are they paying you enough for all they’re asking you to give up each week, each month, each year – these best years of your life? How much is it worth to trade our lives, our passion, our youth? Are we crazy or what? Is the world crazy?”
There was no answer.
Finally, they arrived at their cars. “Listen,” said the man with money in his pocket. “Why don’t we go get a few beers. We’ll put this out of our minds. I’m buying!”
“I can’t,” said the penniless man. “You’ve reminded me that I have something I need to do.”
The first man watched his man drive off. He wished he had the guts to go with him wherever he was going. For a moment he even wished that he was penniless. It might be easier, he thought, if he had been robbed outright and honestly out on the street, beneath the slowly setting sun.