A Message From the Little Mermaid
On a recent trip to Copenhagen, Denmark I met with The Little Mermaid. I found her perched upon a rock, staring longingly and wistfully off toward the shoreline. As I approached her she told me she had a message from God she wished to share with mankind. Naturally, I was quite interested because how often does God speak to you through any human/fish hybrid - particularly one as famous as the little mermaid?
"Picture yourself in front of God like in the parable of the talents," she began. "God asks what you did with your life and you answer, more or less, "I plodded through it, worked hard, paid my bills, didn't commit any sins that will ever be the theme of a made for TV movie, . . ."
At this point God interrupts you and says, "Really? That's it? I put you in the middle of this big, beautiful world; gave you a creative mind capable of conceiving of infinite possibilities; and that is what you choose to do with it? I'm not asking what you literally did or didn't do; I want to know what you experienced. Tell me about something crazy you did with your friends that you still laugh about. Describe how it made you feel when you saw the Grand Canyon. Tell me how your perspective on life altered when you held your baby the first time.
"Why do you think I created you? It's not so you could work a bunch of years, pay your bills, and take a week vacation you stress about before, during, and after. No, I want someone to experience things with. Tell me what you thought of that sunset. Let me know how you feel about organized religion. By the way, if they don't stop using me as an excuse to be narrow-minded assholes soon, I'm probably going to smite the lot of them. Tell me about something other people might find insignificant that inspires you. Remember when you went to Copenhagen and looked into the eyes of the Little Mermaid statue? What did she do, do you think? Did she decide to play it safe and go back home and watch Legs - Reality or Myth the documentary on TV again, or did she use the talents and desires I gave her and go discover her own reality?
"It is amazing, is it not, how people look at the place one another are standing and long to go where the other person is. Human logic mocks that trait. Platitudes like "The grass is always greener" pollute human language and make this curiosity into a sin. This is a lie. Get out there and explore life. Quit simply surviving and live.
"Life isn't about having experiences; life is the experience. You work half your life away to earn the privilege of having a few hours a week to yourselves and then you give those away as well. You give them to television or to your phones. You give them to people who don't deserve them, but suck the joy out of your lives. You excuse yourself from life because you have children, as though they are tethered to the house and can't be relocated from the house for a few hours or days to try something new. You complain that you don't have enough money, but you do that whether you are making 10,000 a year or 500,000 a year.
"You are a unique and wondrous creation with your own set of special talents that the world longs to see. Share them. I am not saying you should go to the Galapagos Islands tomorrow, but get out from behind your illuminated screens, use your imagination and go do something so ill-conceived that the memories will last forever.
"Do something that makes your friends say, "Did you hear what Susan did? She's crazy. And I heard she wasn't even drunk. . . . I wish I had the courage to do that."
She stopped talking and stared me in the eyes, waiting to see how I would respond. I asked her, "So what did you do? Did you go for it? Or did you sulk back home and be responsible?" The answer may surprise you, but she made me promise not to tell. She wants you to come and ask her in person.