Thursday, April 22, 2010

John Bradley - You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

From You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

John Bradley

Parable Embedded with Patience and Impatience

One bomb was stuck in his lower stomach and another in his upper back. He didn’t know how they got there, but as long as they didn’t go off he didn’t much care. The doctor who was also a mechanic by day and a doctor in the evening said it would be too risky to try and remove them. “And expensive,” his mother added. “Go on with your everyday chores,” the doctor advised. “Just don’t bump into any walls or slam yourself down into chairs. You should be fine.”

On the way home, his mom bought him a dish of ice cream. He didn’t even have to ask. As he ate, she looked down at the ice cream and sighed. “There could be a bomb in the ice cream,” she said. “You never know. I have one lodged inside my wrist, but I’ve never told your father. It would only make him sad. Besides, he has one stuck in the back of his head. You mustn’t say anything about this. I only tell you so you won’t act as if you’re special.”

On the way out, he bumped into the door. Not very hard. Just hard enough to see if the bombs were angry. If they were angry, it wouldn’t matter how careful he was. But with happy bombs, he could do anything. Maybe it was the ice cream that made them happy. Patience and impatience, that what he’d call them. He’d have to find a way to get money for ice cream for Patience and Impatience. Maybe he could sell more firewood or haul more water from the well. “You look so grown up today,” said his mother, rubbing his head, “so handsome.”


At 4/23/2010 12:18 PM, Blogger Julius said...

What?!?!? This parable bothers me because it makes me think without being able to offer much in terms of an answer..

At 4/23/2010 2:16 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Which is, of course, why I like it, as the thinking itself becomes a reward.

At 5/05/2010 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so happy that Bradley won the Cleveland State prize but so sad that someone like him (or you!) has to enter contests to get published. What a world (I'm wringing my hands and sobbing... sort of)!

At 5/05/2010 1:43 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I was unaware of Bradley before I saw him read briefly from this book in Denver last month, and I was hooked!


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