Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Even when trying to waste time I find something interesting to do

The other day I needed to kill some time in a city that I'm pretty unfamiliar with and in which there seemed to be nothing to do. Naturally I decide to stop at a familiar place (CVS - luckily they are everywhere) to look around and just waste away my precious minutes. I like looking at the seasonal sections because they are different at every store so I head in that direction only to discover the stock being rearranged and thus in buggies and on the floor instead of the shelves. Looking at the mess and the people trying work, I just decide to leave them alone and go find something else interesting to look at. As I wander to the back I discover a discount book section. Deciding that this would be a far more enjoyable way to pass the time I take a look. One particular book catches my attention a book by Amy Tan called Saving Fish From Drowning. I've read Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club for school and I remembered it fondly so I opened it up to take a peak and I was hooked, I made a $5.99 commitment that I don't regret.

One of my favorite excerpts so far comes from the very beginning before the story even starts. It is profound yet humorous and also rather sad.
A pious man explained to his followers: “It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. ‘Don’t be scared,’ I tell those fishes. ‘I am saving you from drowning.’ Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes.”

I love this because it can apply to almost anything. Hitler, the economy, the crusades and pretty much anything else that people are trying to mend or change all come to mind when I read these few sentences. History is riddled with "good intentions" that didn't turn out so good for someone.

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