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The Queen of Sheba 0

Dear Bradshaw,

While walking to work today, I saw a lady pluck the gum she was chewing from her mouth and toss it on the ground. It bounced off the wall of a building and rolled into the middle of the sidewalk, and she just kept on going as if everything was hunky dory, as if that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re done with the gum you’re chewing. Of course, having seen it all happen, I was able to avoid stepping on it but still, who does she think she is? The Queen of Sheba? Couldn’t she have waited a minute or two until she passed one of the thousands of trashcans and dumpsters lining the streets of Rome, or else tucked the masticated blob into a tissue or a scrap of paper, thereby sparing the general public the frustration and disgust of treading her sticky refuse and trailing it into their cars and homes? Really, Shaw. What’s this world coming to? Although there are worse things going on, I really believe her selfish, inconsiderate behavior epitomizes what’s at the bottom of everything, economic crisis included. How can she be so callous and uncaring? Not only is she jeopardizing her fellow citizens but she’s compromising the city’s beauty and sanitation.

Well, you know me. I wanted to seize her by the nape of her neck, force her to her knees, and make her suck the wad of gum back into her mouth but, of course, I didn’t. Instead, as I continued down the street, I caught myself thinking bad thoughts and decided to adopt a Zen-like attitude, in which I had neither positive nor negative feelings about the situation, and you know what, I really must say, I felt better, instantly! And if you think about that, it makes sense. After all, what can I do about it? People are tossing gum on the ground in cities all over the world (except maybe Singapore) and they’ll go on tossing gum on the ground for the rest of history, and probably just to spite me at that. So why should I worry about it?

That’s it then. I’m turning over a new leaf. From here on out, nothing bothers me. I’m a mirror, observing the world without judgment, reflecting reality, independent of my personal feelings. But don’t worry, Shaw, I’m just turning the leaf over, not uprooting the tree. There should be a balance to everything, I think. So my new motto is this: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know when I can seize people by the neck and make them undo their dirty deeds.

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