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Outlet: a fable

Once there was a powerful emperor who lorded over a great portion of the world’s people. The emperor knew that his people were not happy, but he did not care. In fact, their discontent seemed to him to tarnish the image of harmony for which he longed – he felt that by proclaiming harmony, it should exist. But that was of little importance; he had other concerns: the emperor suffered from terrible gastrointestinal discomfort.

The emperor consulted his personal physician, but the physician had been ordered never to criticize the emperor’s abominable eating habits, so he suggested to his leader that perhaps there was some other factor attributing to the lack of ‘harmony’ in his guts.

“Harmony!” exclaimed the emperor. “But of course! As emperor I must be directly linked to the great land over which I preside. If my people are not harmonious, then neither shall I be so. Thank you, doctor!”

The emperor then summoned his top advisors to his bed chambers and explained his situation. The top advisors had been ordered never to criticize any of the emperor’s policies, so they offered the most palliative solution they could imagine.

“Emperor,” said one. “We suggest that you provide some sort of outlet for your citizens’ problems.”

“What?! Are you implying that they have reason to complain?”

“Of course not, emperor,” said another. “But, because the common people are incurably unappreciative, they will never cease to brood and harbor resentment, and that is the cause of your unpleasant pressure. As their anger swells, so does your intestine.”

“Emperor – this policy will be no more than a pressure valve. A political antacid. A tiny hole in a balloon.”

The emperor was convinced, and the very next day he made an official decree. The people could now lodge official complaints and hold public protest, so long as they received permission. The emperor was quite pleased with the plan, and in his delight indulged in an extra serving at dinner that night, knowing that his bowels would be saved.

But something happened. It seemed that far too many citizens had grievances, and soon the official protest booths were overcrowded, and the lines backed up for miles. The emperor’s top advisors witnessed this new blockage forming, and ordered all but a handful of protesters to be hidden from view.

“A much more forceful cure is needed,” said one. “Nothing relieves bloating like a good pummeling.”

Now the emperor saw only a few of his dissenters, and was pleased. But, as the emperor believed his internal bubbling to be intrinsically connected to external unrest, the top advisors also enlisted the aid of the physician, who began to place an elephant’s dose of Alka-Seltzer into the emperor’s beer glass every night. Within days everything was settled, and the emperor could declare with pride that his land was truly harmonious.

One Response to “Outlet: a fable”

  1. MyLaowai says:

    And lo! For all was again right with the world, or at least all the important parts of it, including those parts across wide seas that were also part of the Emperor’s domain, and the high parts of the world that were also under his dominion, and all the island provinces too, according to maps since ancient times. And the barbarian peoples of the world saw this and bowed down in abjection and begged inclusion in the Lands of the Empire.

    And the people of the Celestial Empire cried “Yea! So mote it be”.

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