As a cold grey dawn broke outside the warm doorway of Cayman Executive Finances, Big John, a burly homeless man, gathered his cardboard and meagre belongings. He knew a good thing when he found it and didn’t want staff turning up and making a complaint. The night had passed with one interesting incident, a false alarm call to the fire brigade from the nearby hotel. John had a good relationship with the hotel staff, who would find him suitable leftovers from the evening meals. He’d shared a friendly chat and a cup of tea with the fire-fighters that night. Big John was a likeable, non-drinking man and previously owning a smallholding business, gave him an air of respectability. He couldn’t cope anymore with four walls, it was his freedom that kept him sane. Regardless of weather he took life in his stride and a smile on his face. As he wandered with his few but useful possessions in the direction of the local park, he nodded a friendly hello to the early morning postman and received a cheery wave in reply. They had much in common, out in rain or shine while most were still tucked up under their duvets.
An hour or so after John had left ‘home’ at the prestigious Cayman Executive Finances building, the silence was broken by the arrival of chief executive Clive ’wonder boy’ Rothenchild. Roaring into his reserved parking space in his red Ferrari, he was ready to start work and kickass in the world of banking, a euphemism for shifting poor people’s money into rich people’s offshore bank accounts. Even with the windows closed, his new age ‘rock a bully’, music almost ruptured the eardrums of a passing stray dog. Clive made his way to the grand entrance, where he had to wait briefly for the caretaker to open up. ‘Good day sir, lovely morning now,’ he welcomed with a smile. Clive stared in fury at the cretin someone had obviously mistaken as suitably employable and ignored him. Clive took the lift, one floor up, and hoped his dim witted secretary would be in early just as he’d texted, late last evening.
Clive entered his office, turned up the heating and took off his coat, briefly stopping to admire himself in one of several office mirrors. He sat at his desk, turned on his computer and drummed his fingers impatiently while it warmed up. It requested his personal password to continue.
He tapped them in slowly with one clumsy finger, S H E E P, a £ sign and a smiley face. His soulless and greedy eyes led his equally soulless and greedy mind to look out of the window and survey the land of peasants, all ready for fleecing. He snarled a few words at his secretary as she hurried in, looking flustered. ‘Get your act together deary, I’ve got important friends visiting today. No mistakes, right? Smarten yourself up too, you look a mess, like you’ve been up all night.’
She forced a smile, looking after two small children and a sick husband was taking its toll on her and she’d had to pay through the nose to find a last minute childminder so she could arrive early for work. She desperately needed to keep this job. ‘Yes sir, of course sir. It’s the mayor and head of chamber of commerce isn’t it? I have everything organised for them, just as you asked.’
As she bustled off to prepare for his guests, he sneered under his breath, ‘Dopey woman, no idea why I keep her.’
Let us consider the successes of both men.
One of them can find his way anywhere in peace and calm regardless of the weather, he is given food freely by those who care for him. He has no need of modern technology to get him though the day. He uses his mind creatively and is always willing to help others – he knows the meaning of gratitude and of empathy. He is rich in spirit and at peace with the world despite his various hardships. He lives in tune with the seasons. He is content with his cardboard box in the warm doorway of Cayman Buildings.
The other one, has no friends except on social media, where pretence takes the place of honesty. He cannot find his way home without sat nav and is afraid to go out at night. No one makes him a dinner unless he pays for it. He must have holidays abroad in warm countries but no place he considers dirty. He has burglar alarms and cameras at his house. When not bragging on facebook he watches TV. His success, if that is what you call it, comes from robbing old ladies of their pensions. (Perfectly legal, the small print explains the risks.) He is despised by all who meet him. He has no soul. But his Ferrari tells the world he is successful.
What is your choice?
You’ll hear your inner voice, but will you listen?