Monday, January 18, 2010

Blind Men and Elephants

A certain Plebeian received as a gift an overnight trip to a distant city and tickets to a live performance by a famous musician. Although he had heard of the musician, he was utterly unfamiliar with her music, but he enthusiastically made arrangements for the excursion. On the day of his departure, he called a cab to take him to the airport, and along the way he excitedly told the cabbie about his trip and the concert.

"Oh, you'll love her music!" exclaimed the driver. "I have every piece she's done on my iPod and my wife and I listen to her constantly!" The Plebeian was quite happy with the driver's opinion and looked forward to the event all the more.

As he arrived at the airport, he noticed that the performer was on the cover of a gossip magazine. Apparently some shocking and scandalous details about her personal life had come to light. Slightly taken aback, the Plebeian began to wonder if truly beautiful music could come from a person who led that kind of life. He went through security, and having plenty of time, he settled down at an airport coffee shop to ponder.

While he was there, he noticed a man of the cloth sitting alone at a nearby table, so he boldly told the priest about his trip and the concert. The priest's face lit up and he said, "My sister has her autograph. She said that musician is one of the loveliest and most gracious people she has ever met." Greatly reassured, the Plebeian thanked the priest for chatting with him, and he went on to his gate.

While waiting to board the plane, he sat next to a young woman who seemed pleasant enough. As they waited, they talked about their respective trips briefly, and the Plebeian told her about the concert he was to see. The woman smirked and said, "At least you didn't pay for the tickets. Her music is just awful. It all sounds the same. And she has such a boring stage presence. But, I know it's hard to turn down free tickets."

Well, the Plebeian was greatly troubled by the time he boarded the plane, and although he considered not talking to anyone else about his trip until he returned home, he had barely gotten into his seat before the man next to him struck up a conversation. Eventually, he told his neighbor about the concert, and the man said, "You're kidding! My brother went to high school with her. He says she used to run with a really rough crowd. Now she's a real snob. Never talks to anyone from her home town. I heard that she..." And on the story went for most of the flight.

By the time he checked into his hotel, the Plebeian wasn't even sure he wanted to go to the concert. Seeing the distress on his face, the desk clerk asked him if he needed anything else. Since the lobby wasn't busy, the Plebeian told the desk clerk about his dilemma. He had these tickets, and some people had said that her music was great and she was a wonderful person. But some other people thought her music is awful and told him what a horrible person she is.

The desk clerk smiled and said, "Well, you'll just have to see for yourself, then. Other people might have their opinions for any number of reasons, but you have a chance to form your own opinion. And that's ultimately the one that will matter most to you."

So the Plebeian went to the concert.

1 comment:

  1. Have you read the picture book "Seven Blind Mice" by Ed Young? A beautiful rendering of the Indian fable...and not just for kids (in my opinion, but you should check it out for yourself, lol!)