“Why is the world like this?” said the man in the grey flannel suit. “People are crazy,” he added, as he was wheeled into the emergency room. He had been shot. There was blood all over his nice, pressed suit, mostly where the bullet had gone in, near his heart, but not in his heart. There was that to be thankful for. But his suit had been torn open, tearing off the buttons, along with his shirt and t-shirt. His chest was bare except for blood and bandages.
The man who drove him to the hospital was pushing the gurney. He said, “Oh yeah. I know what you mean. I really do!”
Grey Flannel thought about it for a moment as they parked him and began processing him. The bleeding had been stopped on the way to the hospital and he had been given some pain killer. It put him in a contemplative mood. He finally responded, “We’re supposed to pretend it doesn’t matter. But it matters a lot, doesn’t it? Why people want things, what they do to get them, it does matter. Right?”
Gurney Man kept talking with Grey Flannel, trying to keep him calm. He said, “I heard a man once describe a Christian leader he knew as ‘ambitious.’ And he was right, I think. This guy, he was ambitious. Like a lot of people.”
Grey Flannel was with him on this. He knew what he was getting at. He said, “Yeah. I know a lot of guys in business who are that way. It’s how they survive. It’s how they get ahead and beat out the competition.”
Grey Flannel said, “Well. Ambition is really just wanting, isn’t it? It’s about wanting a lot of something. Which can be good or bad. Sometimes you can even get good from bad, you know?” He had to stop talking here to answer some questions for the doctor. They also asked Grey Flannel some things, then they started to move him again. Gurney Man stayed with him as they were wheeling him down the hall.
Gurney Man said, “This Christian leader, he was really concerned with what his dad thought about him. He was really concerned that he measure up because his dad didn’t seem to like him enough. And then he got to where he wanted affirmation from other people he looked up to. And this drove his ambition. He wanted to impress people. And he did it. That’s what drove him to do most of what he did. But the thing is, he did a lot of good along the way. He accomplished a lot of good, and that’s what you have to think about. You have to think about the good. Protect it even. And realize that the man doesn’t even know himself.”
Grey Flannel said, “Oh. I get it now. I get it. I know who you’re talking about, right? You’re talking about the guy who put this bullet in my chest, aren’t you?”
Gurney Man said, “I’m just saying. He’s doing a lot of good. His motives might be off a bit, but he’s doing good things. And what have you done? You just got in the way, that’s all. You just got in the way. Sure, this was a little over the top, but if you stop the man, you could stop a lot of good.”
Grey Flannel said, “So, how long have you been in on this? His voice started to tremble with anger. “You’re with him right? How long have you been feeding his ambition to get what you want?”
Gurney Man just smiled at him, with pity. It was clear that Grey Flannel just didn’t get it. Probably never would. So Gurney Man let him go. Let them patch him up. He’d survive. That’s what chumps were good at. Surviving. Not thriving.
They pushed Grey Flannel through some swinging doors and he was gone.
Gurney Man thought to himself: Let him live with his ethics and such. See how far it gets him. What good will it accomplish. Nothing.
Gurney Man walked away.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2010