China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Dear Man Building a Brick Wall Over a Glass One

Dear Man Building a Brick Wall Over a Glass One,

That reminds me of something I once heard, an old Confucian proverb, perhaps: “Don’t build walls in front of windows,” I think it was. Something about possibilities, I suppose, or vision. Sound advice, though a little self-evident. Of course, the building of walls is part of your heritage (there’s a hefty one around this very city), and this being so close to Spring Festival, a time for honoring your masoning ancestors, you may have a perfectly good reason for slapping up a nice solid barricade in place of fragile glass.

However, as we are not the only pedestrians stopped by curiosity – unless this man in leather is a cohort of yours – we must assume your behavior deviant, even considering the season. An elaborate prank, hopefully, or perhaps a lesser-known tradition of the Lunar New Year festival – part of paying up debts, I suppose, or the result of having not. Or maybe this is your way of starting afresh, locking up your “Gentle Wash Something-or-other” shop so you may fully dedicate yourself to a new, more lucrative line of work.

But we can’t help but notice, as we watch you balancing on that wooden desk (most likely pilfered from your son’s classroom), arms hanging heavily, that your head is tilted down, as though in your respite from labor you have cast your eyes down to watch what remains inside that darkening room. How sinister! What pitiful creature looks up to meet your eyes? A traitorous laundry man, a adulterous spouse, a comatose new year reveler (I keep hoping for a practical joke), or just a defunct hunk of machinery – a still and shiny washer – symbolic of failed business, shattered prospects, now immured within a stony grave? Either way, old Poe would be proud.

Have mercy,

This Ridiculous World

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