24 January 2014

A vicious circle

This evening I took a little stroll down to St. Peter's to mail a postcard for a friend whose son's class is studying geography and is collecting postcards from around the world.  On the way back I saw a sad - and drunk - man sitting on the side of the road with bottle in hand.

As I pitied him and wondered what led him to such a way of life, I couldn't help but recall a brief passage from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince:
The next planet was inhabited by a drunkard.  This visit was a very brief one, but it plunged the little prince into a deep depression.

"What are you doing there?" he asked the drunkard, whom he found sunk in silence before a collection of empty bottles and a collection of full ones.

"Drinking," replied the drunkard, with a gloomy expression.

"Why are you drinking?" the little prince asked.

"To forget what?" inquired the little prince, who was already feeling sorry for him.

"To forget that I'm ashamed," confessed the drunkard, hanging his head.

"What are you ashamed of?" inquired the little prince, who wanted to help.

"Of drinking!" concluded the drunkard, withdrawing into silence for good. And the little prince went on his way, puzzled.

"Grown-ups are certainly very, very strange," he said to himself as he continued on his journey.
 If you haven't yet read The Little Prince, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today.

No comments:

Post a Comment