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the state of the civilization

The So-Good Man

an unstable fable by Kurt Halliday

in a pretend-country somewhere to the north of the United States, there lived a very very very very very good man.

He knew he was that good because he didn't have any real friends and everything he did was important (and he didn't mind living in pretend countries.)

This very5 good man spent all his time helping people. His own "progress" or "journey" or "life changes," in fact, happened that way.

He would meet somebody in Middleton or Centreville (the two capitals of the pretend-country he was from at the moment) and he would improve the crap out of them.

He would get them to "feel" even if it meant making them angry at him. (He thought of this as helping them be angry when they were so cut off from other people they didn't know how to be properly angry - angry at the right thing - any more.)

He would help them "think" beyond the feeling. (Sometimes they needed to discover that their mistaken anger had such power over them because they'd been using it to get things and they just didn't realize people could use things like anger.

He would even help them "know". (Now that they had learned to not just feel their own feelings, like anger, and think about what people did with feelings, they could perhaps go on to really really "seeing" that they could be other than they were - have lives filled with joy or common sense or everyday stuff that just made them happy or encyclopedias.)


This guy had problems.

The So-Good Man had some nasty, heavy-duty, real rotten problems.

People depended on him for their "inside me" stuff.

He was an addiction.


One day, So, as his distant-and-only friends called him, was sitting outside his woodsy hut on his giant mushroom lamenting his lonely life, when thirteen people went by.

There was one guy in the middle. There were twelve guys kinda following.

The middle guy looked perfectly ordinary, as the saying goes, except that he didn't have any obvious vices crawling through him.

He maybe had two, three virtues (Calm, Patience, Compassion and Carefulness among them).


So-Good, as soon as he saw this guy, thought: "He could really be my friend! My real friend! I've never had a real friend before! And I can admit that even to myself!"

Not that he was jealous of the twelve following guys. They, and their vices (one each), didn't seem much competition at all.

Not that he was into competition.

The thing is, though.

So-Good only had to look at So-So-Good, as his up-close-and-always friends called him, to know that he, So-So, was good enough.

He, So-So, went through life helping people enough, correcting & connecting them enough, persisting with them enough so that he was understood.

(So they could help him back.)

"The Perfect Few," said So to himself, "and we know who we are," as he watched the happy thirteen round the bend ahead on their way to something or other just outside of Jerusalem, "are not understood!"

And so So-Good sat there all that day and the next, like stone, only stopping for the St. Pat's Day binge, in perfect humility, thinking on So-So-Good and how this guy'd got It All Worked out.

"If they can't understand you, they can't learn from you!" he maybe short-cutted a little.


"So-Good, you're Too-Good!"

Which is, as silly as it sounds to The Perfect Few, a bad thing to be.

Kurt Halliday will be survived in Kingston, Ontario by two near-novels, eighteen sorta-stories, creative non-poetry, wife Janet Anderson, sons Ross and Geoff, three cats and five computers

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