There’s a town, a peaceful place really. Not quite the word. It’s tedious. Everyone is free to live their own life. Free to do that sure. They all actively choose to work. It’s a nice busy little town. What do the people work for? Depends on who you ask. They all give a different answer. Not too different mind you. At the end of the day they’re all happy to come home and relax. These townsfolk really love their weekends too. Who doesn’t? I asked them what they work for one day. To see what they’d say. Maybe I was looking for an answer myself. Maybe I wanted to know I wasn’t the only one.
“Why do you worry so much about your job? What’s your goal.” “I want to live a better life. You need money for that.” “Things cost money. Life ain’t cheap. Especially not a good one.” “I want to be successful,” They’d say.
Yep, not too different from me. Different words same meanings. We speak in synonyms. Such a silly word. I enjoy it anyway. Synonym. We all want to be happier. That’s what our jobs bring us. We fulfill that goal. I just don’t feel happy despite that. It’s not that I’m always sad. I’m rarely sad. Just not what I’d call happy. The people of the town say they’re happy. They don’t look happy. They look busy. Yep, a busy little town it is.
I asked Mr. Banks, “What do you work for?” “Money of course! Don’t do something for free when you can get paid for it!” He laughed “You already have so much money. You own the lumber mill and a few restaurants in town. You should have more than enough, right?” He seemed to be a little uncomfortable with that. He sat for only a second before responding,”Well I’ve got to provide for my family, make sure they live happy lives too.”
Mr. Banks is a good man. A smart man too, by many accounts. Me being one of those. He still gives the same answer. “This must be the right answer,” I think, “The whole town agrees.” Still it doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t feel happy. I don’t feel sad, do I? No, I know what sad feels like. I’m definitely not sad.
I’ve asked all over town. The answer never changed. It also never felt like the right answer. All over town? I still haven’t asked Poppy. I’m not supposed to talk to him. My parents say Poppy is crazy. And he’s dangerous. And he’s different. Maybe I’ll get a different answer from Poppy.
“What do you work for Poppy?” I asked “I don’t work, kid. Can’t keep a job,” He said. Not really said more grumbled. Poppy raises his brown paper bag,”I drink too much.” “Well how do you pay for your food?” I needed a form of answer from him. “I sit here and beg, kid. That’s my job.” “Well why do you do it.” Dumb question I know but it led him to an answer. “Things cost money and I gotta eat to live, kid. Don’t you know? My parents are dead I can’t live off them.”
Well that was a different answer. Right? I went back home still unsatisfied. Why aren’t I satisfied. I asked everyone. They answered. Didn’t they? I looked out at the town. The busy little town. What do we work for? Is there something I’m missing? Is this the universe trying to fool me? WAIT! Did Poppy give a different answer?
I asked what they work for. They work to sustain. We all do. Same answer. Synonyms. I want to know.
What do you live for?