15 November 2006

A Favorite Story, Obsoleted

I need your help again. I have a favorite story that is gonna become obsolete soon, for reasons that will be obvious. I hate to lose the story, because it shows how with adversity, sometimes there is opportunity. Let me tell it, and afterwards maybe you can help me find a way to change and perpetuate it:

"The Custodian"

Anxiously, he worked his way to the Vicar's office....
His old boss and friend of 35 years was dead, victim of a heart attack.
Now he was to meet the new Vicar, a man much younger than he, and find out what duties might be expected of him.

He had been Custodian of this Anglican Church for all these years.
Dyslexic, his classmates had been cruel with their teasing. They made such fun of him, he quit school early and was lucky to nail down this job. He was a hard worker, and had maintained a wonderful relationship with the recently departed Vicar.
He and his wife lived a modest, but comfortable life on his wages. They had even socked some money away for their eventual retirement.

Entering the office, he relaxed immediately when he saw the new Vicar's smile and extended hand.
His new boss explained that his work would basically remain the same, with a few additional duties. Then the Vicar dropped the bombshell:
"Now and again, I'll need you to do some Secretarial duties."

"But Vicar, I can't read or write, much less type!"
"Oh my. That IS a problem."

After much discussion, it became obvious the Custodian could not remain in his position.
The Vicar reluctantly had to let him go.

Shaken, the newly fired Custodian leaves the Church.
He pats his pocket....... finds an empty pack.
"Bloody Hell, I should have bought cigarettes on the way to work!"
He needed a cigarette, NOW!
And although he had worked at this Church for 35 years, he really didn't know the surrounding neighborhood all that well. He walked several blocks looking for a tobacconist, to no avail. When he finally stopped and asked directions to the nearest shop, he had to walk several blocks further to get there.

Discussing the situation with his wife, he mentioned how much difficulty he had trying to find a cigarette when he desperately needed one.
Then the light bulb flashed as they both came to the same realization-
That neighborhood needed a tobacco shop!
They withdrew all their savings to start the store. It was a desperate move, but what other recourse did they have?

Their store was an immediate success.
Thereafter, the old Custodian and his wife surveyed other neighborhoods, finding those that had no tobacco store. Soon, he and his wife were managing dozens of stores, and were approached by a large retail concern to buy their business. He and his wife were ready for retirement, so they agreed to sell for a tidy sum.

Closing the deal, the buyer's lawyer handed him a contract to sign.
He responded, "I'll have to allow my lawyer to review this, I can't read or write."
The buyer's lawyer was surprised-
"Imagine how successful you'd have been, had you been able to read and write!"
To which our friend responded, "Yes, I know exactly how successful I would have been......
I'd still happily be Custodian of the Anglican Church just down the street!"

Smoking is under fire. Whole cities are making it illegal to smoke within their boundaries.
I'm seeing more and more "At least I can still smoke in my car" bumper stickers.

Like it or not, it's gonna get more and more difficult to practice the habit.

And that dooms my story.
I'm at a loss to think of any product that will fit in place of tobacco. The story revolves around the fact that the Custodian is so stressed he needs his fix, and he needs it quickly!
Will it work with any product that is not addictive?
Is my favorite story doomed to the scrap heap?
Will I need to just preface it with the setup that "long ago, cigarettes were legal"?
Do you smart folks have a suggestion?


Flyin Dutchman said...

I don't smoke but I keep a brewery in business..... :)

the golden horse said...

I guess you could start it with "Once Upon a Time" and ending it with, "Now Everyone Lives Happily Ever After" because everyone can breath easy and no one is getting ill from second hand smoke and formal smokers have learned the 3 minute yoga techique that relieves stress and now they have no need to consume anything that might prove harmful in the long run. And everyone is putting their former smoking money into CD's for their future.

k said...

It shouldn't have to be a fix, per se, but maybe just anything that's a pleasurable escape from the day... Coffee. Ice cream. A movie (not with subtitles, obviously). Those kinds of things -- not vices -- might give the story more longevity...

Purple Tabby said...

How about coffee? Maybe espresso? Made from _____ (pick a place) coffee beans?

He realizes his thermos is empty, no where to get his special coffee except home, which is an hour bus ride from work.

After he gets home, jangled nerves settled, he and he wife decide to go into exotic coffee business and WA LA --- Starbucks ????

Aviatrix said...

And everyone is putting their former smoking money into CD's for their future.

I read that thinking, "yeah, it would be good to have a nice music collection in the future," but I suspect a CD is a type of tax-sheltered term deposit.

A chocolate shop would do for me, but that'll be illegal without a permit from your doctor saying you have good cholesterol, right?

Greybeard said...

"CD" stands for Certificate of Deposit. By agreeing to deposit your money for a guaranteed amount of time, you make more interest than you would on say, a passbook savings account. You can get CD's for as little as a month, maybe even less, or as long as 10 years or so. Most are insured by the Federal Government, and most are taxable.

Cholesterol in chocolate?
Not in the U.S.!
Ya gotta have animal fat in food for it to contain cholesterol!
And the latest news is a bonus for you chocolate lovers-
They now think chocolate thins the blood in a fashion similar to aspirin.... just less effectively.
And we also know it's good for your sex life, right? ;>)

Anyone care for a Kiss?


I love your story, GB. Don't worry about the "theme" going away any time soon. Smoking, along with the other "vices," aren't leaving us.

The tobacco store you speak of will always be in business. It will be under attack by this group and that group, but with us it will remain.

Trust me.

Anonymous said...

Before I read the other comments, my vote was going to be chocolate or ice cream!! I like the idea of coffee as well. One of my treats to myself when I go out running errands is to drive thru this little place that existed before we had a 'Starbucks' in town...it's called 'Java the Hut'. There I get the best 'Almond Mocha Latte' (hot or cold) with whipped topping and powdered chocolate sprinkles on top!! Yummm...need I say more?! To this day, I'd take his drinks over any 'Starbucks' drink...too bad he did not expand back in the early days.