Monday, March 9, 2009

A Smile Fairytale

A long time ago in a land far away there were two magnificent kingdoms known as Firstland and Thirdania. These two kingdoms were very similar in many ways. The landscapes were beautiful, the people were gracious, and the food was plentiful. Most importantly, however, was the kingdoms’ number one resource for survival: smiles. Yes, the smiles were the key to success. The uses of smiles were numerous and often related to increasing health, spreading happiness, and flooding the towns with giggles. Everyone loved smiles.

One day, a magical wizard came to the villagers of Firstland. He told them of a wonderful way that he could get the Firstlanders more smiles than ever! All that the people had to do was travel to his wizardry store and get the smiles. The wizard would take care of the rest. Upon hearing this amazing offer one of the Firstlanders asked the wizard how he would get these smiles. After all, everyone grew their own smiles in their own fields, so would this not be theft in the grandest of ways? The wizard laughed and reassured the Firstlanders that this was certainly no theft. The wizard simply traveled to Thirdania and gave the Thirdanians PAPER SMILES in return for some of their REAL SMILES. The paper smiles would be used later for the Thirdanians to buy things for their own betterment. This relieved the Firstlanders and made them feel better then ever. By buying the imported smiles they were HELPING the Thirdanians!

Soon after this initial proclamation the Firstlanders flooded the magical wizard’s store, consuming a seemingly infinite supply of imported smiles. These extra smiles were SO AMAZING. The imported smiles helped the Firstlanders gain happiness quicker than ever before. The more smiles the Firstlanders obtained, the more they wanted. Who wouldn’t want MORE SMILES?

Back in Thirdania, however, life was not nearly as pleasant. By exporting their smiles for paper smiles, the Thirdanians were not only less happy, but also became dependent on the wizard to even survive. Many Thirdanians wanted their old way of life back but knew that this was impossible because they would not be able to survive with so few smiles for their use. Instead, the Thirdanians tried to buy back some of their smiles that the wizard obtained from them. Unfortunately, the wizard charged the Thirdanians TEN TIMES the price of what the smiles were originally made for. Life was extremely hard, and the Thirdanians suffered immensely, with many dying from lack of smiles.

Quickly, Firstlanders heard of the awful situation in Thirdania and were OUTRAGED! How could this evil wizard be so mean to these Thirdanians? They immediately went to the wizard and DEMANDED that he take action. The wizard told the Firstlanders that he would send the Thirdanians a care package of THREE SMILES for the villagers to share. On top of that, he would have a SPECIAL SALE for the Firstlanders, giving away TWICE as many smiles! Hearing this, the Firstlanders were very happy and quickly bought EVEN MORE imported smiles.

As the years went on, the people of Firstland devoured smiles at an incredibly high rate. Smiles were so numerous that the Firstlanders could get them on every street corner for nothing more than a dirty rag. The Firstlanders NEEDED the imported smiles. Without these extra, cheap smiles, happiness was close to IMPOSSIBLE in the town. During this period nearly every Firstlander heard of the awful, desolate conditions in Thirdania. They felt really bad for the Thirdanians. By this time the wizard had locked himself away in a HUGE PALACE from the profit he earned through his smile business. Obviously, the average Firstlander would not be able to stop his smile monopoly. Instead, many of the Firstlanders decided to donate ONE smile to Thirdania for every ONE HUNDRED imported smiles they consumed. The Firstlanders patted themselves on the backs for being SO GENEROUS.

To this day Thirdanians often dream. They dream of the time when life was simple. Sure, the manual labor was intense, but at least they had their own smiles. Now, the Thirdanians are left inept. The manual labor is even more intense than ever and all that the Thirdanians have in return is a sack of useless paper.

There is no happy ending.

Do you take pride being a Firstlander?

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