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A LUCILIUS PARABLE: UNINTENTIONALLY EARNED

August 19th, 2018

Lucilius was sitting on a patio, eating and drinking with a beloved old friend, watching people as they walked up and down the street.  The sun was bright and people were in their summer clothes.  The wine was light and cold and the food was too much for Lucilius.  He smiled looking at one of the murals up on the buildings.

 

Lucilius’ friend was looking out at the people also, and with a mouth full of half-chewed food, said with not a little disgust.

 

“So many tattoos…”

 

Lucilius followed the attention of his friend and looked at all the designs that people had adorned their skin with.  Some people had nearly all of their arms and legs covered with the designs.

 

Lucilius’ older friend turned to Lucilius and asked with a face confused and sad:

 

“Why would you ever do that to your body?”

 

 

Lucilius looked off at some bright patch of the sky and remembered his time aboard the old whaling ships during the early 1800’s.  He remembered how sailors would come aboard a new ship with all of their tattoos showing.  It was the resume of the times, and everyone aboard knew where a sailor had been, and what he had done to earn those tattoos.  An anchor for crossing the Atlantic and Swallows to mark the many thousands of miles over the water.  Every design and image had a meaning.  A meaning to be earned and worn with pride.  He remembered his first tattoo, the dip and prick of the point tapping into his skin.  A slap on the back from a fellow sailor and swig of rum.  All of his tattoos had long faded over the last couple hundred years and his skin shown unknowingly clean.

 

 

He looked back at all the designs people had showing on the sidewalk.  How many of them meant something, he wondered.  Had any earned their tattoos in the same way sailors earned them in years long gone?  Lucilius smiled, and remembered his old friend’s question.

 

He turned to his old friend and looked at his friend’s round pot belly.  Lucilius poked his friend’s pot belly and with a smile asked,

 

“Why would you ever do that to your body?


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Podcast Ep. 126: A Lucilius Parable: Unintentionally Earned

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