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downloadable short stories:


The Glass Cleaner: a very short story

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The Glass Cleaner



A long time ago, in the year 2032, there was a young lad. (In fact, there were many young lads, but this story is about this young lad.) He loved to clean and polish things. He went around his house and cleaned the bathroom mirrors and his dad said, "Hey! I can see myself!" He went around and cleaned the windows and his mom said, "Wow! I can see the world!" He went to his school and cleaned all the classroom windows and the students said, "Look! We can see the fire engine!" (whereas before they would only hear it, rush to the window, disrupting class, and see nothing. A big disappointment, really.)

Years passed and our young lad became an old lad. Or a young man. Whatever. It was now the year 1999 and his classmates had all become firemen and firewomen (but since it was California, they were referred to as firepersons, as required by State Law, Revised Subchapter 295, Paragraph 19.125 on Political Correctness).

Our young man had found another path. Any guesses? Same as it ever was. But now incorporated. He went around to retailers and cleaned their windows. ("Gosh! We can see our customers!") And he went around to high-rise office buildings, dangling from a chair and cleaned their outside windows. (Visionary businessmen and businesswomen said, "I can see the opportunities in the marketplace now", while nonvisionary businessmen and businesswomen with their secretaries on their desks said, "Look! Somebody's watching us do it! Close the blinds!")

His business grew and grew and grew. From himself to a handful of employees to a major publicly held corporation with 65,000,000 offices worldwide serving every nook and cranny whether it was profitable for his shareholders or not. 

"Size Matters, and we intend to have 100% global market share even if we go bankrupt achieving it!" he roared at the annual shareholders meeting, to which a sweet, little ole granny way in the back who held 5 shares thought, "My, what a greedy ass! I'm dumping this stock and going back to AT&T."

Millions of others followed Granny out the door and back to AT&T and AOL, taking their shares and business elsewhere, while our middle-aged gray-haired man achieved 100% of bankruptcy.

But not to worry. If you fall off a horse and the horse steps on you and kicks you really, really hard a couple of times, you don't get back on THAT horse. You can't. You're in too much pain. You wait, learn from your experience, sell Kicking Horse With Attitude for a profit to a cowboy rodeo show, and get another horse. One without emotional problems.

And the profitable lesson for our middle-aged gray-haired man now writhing in pain and bankruptcy was simple: "I still got me." So he picked up his window cleaning squeegee, got up, fell down, writhed in pain a while, got up again, and hobbled off to find a customer. To start over.

But wait, there's more. He continues to clean windows, inspires Jimmy Cliff to remake a favorite song of his ("I can see clearly now. The rain has gone"), gets really old, grows lots of hair out his ears and nostrils, and dies.

Nobody shows up at his funeral, they stick him in a pine box, and plop him in the ground. Without a grave marker. Or even a nostril haircut.

So what? Don't you recognize a success story?

Look, our hero knew what he loved doing in life from the start, did it, and did nothing but it. He made some money, lost it (which you can't keep, anyway) and everything he had ever done had helped people gain clarity. All the while, he sought no recognition, expected no recognition (well, besides his "Size Matters" speech outlining global domination), and received no recognition.

He did his thing that made him happy. And others benefited automatically. Think about it. It's that simple.

Do YOUR thing that makes YOU happy. And others will benefit automatically. Think about it. It's that simple.


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