Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Happy Valley, there lived a good and honest sharecropper and his four capable sons, who were actually two sets of mirror-image twins. One set of twins was particularly sturdy and strong. They could stand up to anything. These brothers were so connected to one another that many considered them to be joined at the hip. The other twins were less strong, but more agile, and were best suited for complex farm chores. They worked hand-in-hand to assist the Farmer.
All of a sudden one of the particularly sturdy sons began to feel strange. He grew tired and listless. About a year later his sturdy twin began to feel the same way. They had each become lame. They continued to get worse and worse until after a number years they could not help out with the farm work at all. Luckily, the other set of twins remained healthy and used their agility to keep the farm moving.
About five years later, one of the agile twins began to feel weak, just like the sturdy twins had years earlier. And sure enough, after one more year, the other agile twin followed suit. Everybody slowly got worse over time. Today, the formerly sturdy and strong twins, who could stand up to anything, can't move at all and must be carried everywhere. One of the agile twins can still move around a little bit but can't accomplish much. That leaves all of the farm work for the healthier agile twin, but he is getting more lame every day.
So now the Farmer is relying on the semi-lame, agile twin and the goodwill of the farmer’s (lovely) wife to fertilize the soil, plant the seeds, and harvest the crops…of life.
The End (for now)
Cast of characters:
The sturdy twins – my left leg and my right leg
The agile twins – my left hand and my right hand
The Farmer – me
The moral of the story:
When things start to fall apart, you better make the most out of your remaining assets, and you better have a steadfast support system. “Buying the Farm” is to be avoided until all other avenues have been thoroughly exhausted.
Now that you’re privy to the subtext, feel free to go back and re-read The Parable of the Farmer and His Four Sons. It draws the arc of my life story these past ten years.