One day a precocious 2 went to an old and wise 100 and asked him:
“Why is our name effers everything?”
The old one looked at her and smiled.
“It’s a long story. I will tell you when you are older”
“But I am older already. “
“What do you mean?”
“I am 2, I am definitely older that 1”
100 laughed and said:
“Yes, but in a while you’ll be 5 and then 10 and then 20…
“But you didn’t say when, you said when I’m older.”
“Ok. I’ll tell you the story. But after you hear the story you will be older”
“Because you’ll know more.”
“That’s how you get older?”
“But I’m already older. Can’t I just get wiser?”
“That’s not how it works. You hear the story, you get older and wiser.”
“But you are old and wise, can’t you tell me the story in a way that I just get wiser?”
“Why are you afraid of getting older?”
“Because I want to still play with my brothers. And with my friends. I have no older friends. And all the olders I see, they don’t play at all. And I like playing.”
“Then wait until you’re older and I’ll tell you the story then”
“But I am curious now.”
“And see, you’re already 5”
2 looked at her blouse and saw that she was now wearing a 5.
“Wow. That’s good. I still want to play. Come on, tell me the story.”
“Are you sure?”
5 looked at her blouse.
“Yes. I think I like being older. If I think about it, I could play more games now. Soon I’ll go to school and play with more children. That should be interesting.”
“Ok. Here you go: Once upon a time, not very long time ago our land was divided in many small lands. They were called countries. And in each country the inhabitants took the name of the country”
“Like we do”
“Yes. Like we do, just that in each country there were also inhabitants from all the other countries”
“Did they take the name of the country they were in?”
“No. They still had the name of the country they came from.”
“Because they belonged to that country, they were just living in another one for a while”
“So why didn’t they take their country's name back when they were going home?”
“They were defined by the country they were coming from. “
“They spoke different languages, had different traditions and habits…”
“Like we do.”
“Yes, but they didn’t all know the others language, like we do”
“So how did they live in a place where they couldn’t speak?”
“They learned the language eventually”
“But what is it to learn? You just listen to what the others are saying.”
“You’re still so young, listen to the story. All the countries had a ruler.”
“Wow. He was pretty busy with all these countries full of people who don’t understand what the others are saying.”
“No, my dear. Each country had a ruler”
“Whaaat? That is impossible. You can’t have so many rulers.”
“Yes, they did. And all the rulers had different sets of rules for each country”
“Hahahaha, that’s impossible. Is that really true or you’re just playing with me?”
“It’s true. Don’t you trust me?”
“I do, I do, but I need to make sure I understand exactly what you’re saying”
“You’re already older. Do you want me to stop?”
5 looked at her t-shirt which now had a 10 on it.
“Hm, interesting. I don’t feel older at all. I still want to play and now I already know more so I could definitely play more and have more friends to play with. Go on.”
“All the rules were made to help them live better.”
“Better than what?”
“Back then better meant good.”
“How could better mean good?”
“They made a set of rules and then they lived just to improve it. They believed that you can always improve what you have”
“But the improvement doesn’t become the new good?”
“It does, but when you always look for the better the good you have is not that important anymore.”
“That is so weird. The good you have is all you have, how can that be not important?”
“Exactly. More than that each country had a different set of rules, so a different type of good and they were each striving for a different better”
“No way. That can’t be true. Good is good. That’s all that it is. You can’t just move from a place to another and what is good here it’s not good there. What you say makes no sense,”
“Think about it. There were many, many countries that lived separately, they had to adapt the good to each ones understanding.”
“Weren’t they all the same, like us?”
“They were us, but a while ago. So yes, they were all the same. But when you live in separate environments you adapt the good to your necessities. And to protect your own good, your own needs, you decide that your good is better than your neighbor’s. And then because you think your good is better, your neighbor becomes less the same to you, it become more and more different.”
“That’s why they didn’t understand their languages, they focused so much on the differences, I guess.”
“But how did you have a country to begin with?”
“Good question. They owned property. More properties together formed a city and more cities together formed a country.”
“But how can you own something? Don’t we all have everything?”
100 looked deeply into her eyes.
“I think you’re old enough for that now”
She looked and saw that her t-shit had now a $20 on it. She didn’t pay much attention. She said impatiently:
“They all had everything. But not all of them had access to it”
“Hahahaha, really? How come? How could you not have access to something that you already have?”
“They had to pay for everything.”
“What do you mean pay? Pay attention? Pay what?”
“Money? Those pieces of paper we sometimes found hidden in different places when we played?”
“Yes. Money was the most important thing for them. The more money you had, the more power you had, the more rules you made. At some point they were able to buy almost everything with money.”
“I am very confused: why would you need to buy something you already have?”
“The moment you bought something it belonged only to you. So you were the only one having access to that. In order to let others use it they asked for money. And soon some of them started to have more and more and others less and less. And they started to fight more and more between them. And some countries became richer and richer and sometimes they bought or just took other countries. Or just ruled them because ruling became a matter of money. If you didn’t have them you needed somebody with money to rule for you. And then they started to do everything just to have more and more money. And soon the good we talked about, the good as we know it now it was measured in money and better meant to have more money. And somehow the good was no good anymore. Instead of being better as they strived to be, they were not even good, they were just money. “
“Pieces of paper…”
“Pieces of paper…when they had a lot of that paper they were not good because they wanted more or they were worried they would lose it. When they didn’t have enough paper they were just striving to have it so they can have access to some of the things the others had. They started to hate each other, to look for ways to hurt each other, they put all their energy into finding ways to destroy one another so they can have the destroyed ones money. They thought that would make them good again. They started to kill each other and find ways to justify that. More, they invented new ways to kill each other. They bought everything including each other, they bought each other’s ideas and creativity, they glorified new ways of destroying each other, they used every bit of their energy and the Earth's energy with the sole purpose of having more and more money, even if that meant destroying the place they were living in, The Earth.”
She was listening. For a while she didn’t ask anything. Her face was sad, she made an effort to understand what he was talking about. She did understand what he was saying but it was so hard to believe that it was possible, it made no sense. With every word he said she felt an urge to stop him because she felt anger growing in her. She didn’t know what that anger was, she became more and more part of the story taking everything in . When she felt that the anger and the pain she felt became more than she could control, she said:
“Okay. I got the picture. How is that connected with us being effers everything? Cause that was my original question?”
100 stopped. He looked at the $50 on her t-shirt. She didn’t notice yet.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“I’m a little tired. But please finish the story”
“Well, one day some of them started to realize this was going nowhere. They were destroying everything. And instead of having everything, now they were pretty close to having nothing. “
“What do you mean nothing? They still had each other. They destroyed everything together, they could rebuild it together”
“Yes, but how? Because when your sole purpose is to destroy to get a promised better and that becomes the only thing that rules your life, the law of the land, it’s pretty hard to stop it even when you know you have to.”
He stopped, thinking she would ask a question. But she didn’t. She patiently waited for him to go on.
“The ones that realized it first were the ones in school. Back then in some of the lands, I mean the countries, you had to pay money to go to school too. And the schools became more and more expensive, So they borrowed money to learn, But then when they finished school they had to pay more than they borrowed because the institutions landing money, banks they called them, they charged more money for the money they lent. And when they finished the schools there were less and less jobs for them and with each year they didn’t pay the bank they owed more and more. Then there were countries in which they had to pay to have access to doctors, it was called health insurance. These countries were the wealthiest countries in the entire world, so their inhabitants were the first ones to realize something was wrong with their living. They started talking about it. Then they wrote about it and made movies and plays and songs about it. Little by little more of them became interested in what was happening. Soon more and more countries started to realize that something needed to change. But they didn’t know how. They used to think that was a given, that’s how life was supposed to be.
And then one day, when they had a public meeting on the street to discuss about what is to be done, a young girl stopped by to listen what the people were fussing about this time. She got pretty bored because she was tired of hearing everybody complain, so she asked: ‘So what's wrong?’ One of them, the one closer to the mic said: ‘Everything.’ ‘Then Fuck Everything’, she said. ‘why don’t you just live the way you’ve been talking about for the last half an hour?’ They started to protest – who was she to talk about that, what does she mean, are you making fun of us – but she looked them in the eyes, straight in the eyes, with a serene smile on her face and said: ‘Why not? If everything is wrong, fuck it! Live the way you want. And if your way is the good one more and more will join. They just have to have an option. Not just words. That’s how all that wrong you talk about started too, somebody started living like that and more and more followed. Now you do it. Live that …effing change you keep fussing about.’ Then she turned around and left.
There was a long silence after that. Then one of them said: ‘What the eff? Let’s do it” There were of course protester saying it’s hard to start living outside a strong built society. ‘We don’t have to live outside. After all we are the society. ‘ So they started giving up the old way of living, little by little. They found ways of avoiding money, they realized that if all of them did what they were already doing, what was back then called their profession, but instead of being paid with money they would do it for each other, then they won’t need money, They would have everything they needed because there is somebody out there who loves doing that thing and doesn’t need to be paid to do it. They adopted the name effing everything first as a joke, then they became a small community, an alternative, Then more and more joined them. It was much easier than they actually thought. Because you see most of them were kind of tired and bored of looking for the better, they really missed the good. As you realized already they were us and it took us a long time to get where we are now, to understand we are enough to each other, we are all we need.”
He looked at her, she had her eyes closed, she looked like she was napping. But then she smiled.
“Yes, we are.”
She looked at her t-shirt, it was now $100.
“I understand the t-shirts now, we kept the symbols to remember, good one.”
“We are the money of today, we are the value. “
“Was it worth it?”
“Do you still feel like playing?”
“Maybe a little later, now I’ll take a nap.”
“Well, I’m gonna go play a little. Sleep well.”
She opened her eyes and looked at him. His t-shirt was now 2.
“That’s how the story works, I see.”
“That’s how life works, we both got what we needed: you needed to learn, I really needed to play for a while. See you later!”
She looked at him running through the door smiling. Once an effer always an effer, she’ll catch him later, she’ll have a story for him, everything was good, she just needed a good effing nap.