The Wisest Man In The World — A Short Story
The Wisest Man In The World
Sonny drove half a day to see the man who advertised himself as the wisest man in the world. Sonny saw his ad in the free weekly paper and figured it was worth a shot. Sonny had tried therapy and many religions, but still could not find his place in the universe.
So he drove East to an unassuming mini-mall, parked his car and walked to a storefront bearing on its window the words, “The Wisest Man In The World.” Sonny entered an unassuming room that looked like the reception of a dentist’s office. A woman sat there on the telephone. She smiled as he entered. Sonny listened to her conversation to see if he could steal some hints of wisdom, but it seemed she was telling a child what chores to do before she got home.
“Can I help you?” She asked Sonny after she hung up the phone.
“I’m here to see the wisest man in the world.”
“Of course. Do you have an appointment?”
“We have an opening in twenty minutes.”
Sonny sat down. At first he felt uncomfortable since there were no magazines for him to kill the time reading, but he tried his best to appreciate the moment. It is not often one gets in the proximity of greatness.
Twenty minutes passed and the receptionist said, “He is ready to see you.”
Sonny found this strange. She had received no phone call. No one came out of the room behind her. But somehow she knew it was Sonny’s time. He took a breath and entered the room. A man was seated on a chair playing a video game. It was Frogger. “Hello.” He said to Sonny.
“Hi.” The man did not face Sonny. He stared at the screen pushing buttons so a frog could cross a busy street. After a moment Sonny sat down on the couch.
“What can I do for you?” he asked Sonny.
“I want to know what it’s all about.”
“What what’s all about?”
“Life. I don’t see the point any more. Why should I keep on living?”
“I can’t tell you that until you tell me about yourself. Why don’t you start from the beginning?”
“I was born. My father was very strict and my mother very beautiful. She always encouraged me and…” Sonny stopped as Frogger was run over by a car. “Would you mind turning the game off. I find it distracting.”
“Yes, I would mind. It helps me focus. Now go on.”
Sonny did go on. He spoke more of his childhood, but as he reached the part of his parent’s divorce he felt a lack of sensitivity from the wisest man in the world. As revenge Sonny decided to speak his most personal thoughts. “I have this fantasy I marry a crippled woman. Someone deformed and perhaps stupid. The ugliest, least charming person in the world.”
“Why would you wish that?”
“To see if I was capable of unconditional love. If I could love someone in spite of them having no redeeming values, it would be selfless and I’d prove to myself and everyone that I am in fact—“
“OK, we’re going to have to wrap up.”
“But you didn’t tell me anything. You just sat there and played that stupid game.”
“Stupid? You think you are so special and important to this world. Let me tell you something. When I’m playing this game nothing is more important. I’m dealing with life and death here. Now you can thank me.”
“You’re welcome. Now go see Sharleen in the lobby about your bill.”