China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Inheritance: a fable

A man, dressed formally from the belt down, casually above, strolls slowly down the street. He carries his young son in his arms. Soon they come upon a groaning, jerking machine, and they stop to watch as it scoops rubble from the sidewalk.

“Look, son,” says the father. “One day that could be yours.”

The boy’s face beams as the mind spreads and searches to acquire all the wondrous possibilities, grasping, of course, the greatest and most splendid of all.

“What do you mean will be mine?” he asks. “The city?”

“No, not the city.”

“This street?”

“No, son, not this street.”

“Those buildings?”

“No, definitely not those buildings.”

“Those trees that line the road?”

“No, they will be gone soon.”

“The backhoe, father?”

“Not the backhoe.”

The boy is disheartened. He cannot see anything else of worth. What kind of a trick is this for a father to play on a son?

“What then, father? What will be mine?”

The father sets his son down on his own two feet.

“If you are lucky, you will one day fill a cart with some of these bricks and haul it away.”

“Bricks? What do I want with bricks when there are shiny machines and skyscrapers?”

“With bricks you could build a house.”

“But why? There are hundreds of apartments in that one building alone.”

The father shrugs and reaches down and takes a brick from the scattered debris. And he says to his son:

“Well, son, if you do not like your bricks, there is plenty of dirt.”

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