The Parable of the Boy and the Balloon

There once was a boy who was at peace with the world. No, really. He knew love and joy on an intimate basis. They were his constant companions. Bosom buddies, even.
The boy was out walking one day when he came across a shiny red balloon whose string was tangled in a thicket of weeds. Try as it might, the balloon could not work its way free. “Are you OK, little balloon?” the boy asked. The balloon, being a balloon, said nothing. The boy reached into the weeds and carefully set about disentangling the string. He noticed that there were thorns among the weeds and exercised great caution in keeping the balloon from coming into contact with them. “Watch out for the thorns,” he instructed. The balloon, being a balloon, said nothing.


After the boy had freed the balloon from the thorny weeds he wrapped the string around his pudgy little fingers only to feel a tug strong enough to turn his fingertips blue. The shiny red balloon flapped wildly at the end of the string. “Don’t flap, little balloon,” the boy said, “let me take care of you. I want to protect you. I’ll make you happy and comfortable. I’ll tell you my story to keep you entertained and we’ll grow old together.”
The balloon, being a balloon, said, “I don’t want your happiness or your comfort and I certainly don’t want your story and your old age. I want you to leave me alone.”

The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife. The balloon was relieved when the boy used it to cut the string rather than to pop it, as boys sometimes will. The balloon floated away to the sky and the boy knew, in the icy pit of his stomach, that he would never be at peace with the world again.
MORAL: Balloons, right? Go figure.

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