Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl

When I was in 9th grade the teacher asked me to read a short story aloud to the class while she went to the office.  She asked that I do it because the class would likely listen if I were the reader, but if I were not then they would be out of control.  Mostly because I was not a good listener at that age.

In any event, I read the story aloud. Despite the intervening years I still recall the thing.  It was by Ray Bradbury and was titled The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl.  The character in the story killed someone, and was cleaning up fingerprints from the murder scene.  The cleaning went on as the story was narrated, and at some point it became apparent that the character had gone insane.

The story ended with the police coming and finding the person still there cleaning up fingerprints. The cleaning included the fruit at the bottom of the bowl.  Fruit that had never been touched.  The character was simply mad.

I think of that phrase whenever I see something completely mad.  Particularly when I see behavior which is inexplicable.  I've had a few "fruit at the bottom of the bowl" moments while on the High Council.  I try not to have them while at home.

It just isn't necessary (or possible) to micro-manage your children's lives.  Nor is it wise to try to micro-manage millions of other people's lives.  Whether as a parent, as a government leader, business leader, or as a church leader, Joseph Smith's advice is still timely.  He said the way he managed the church was to "teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves."  I'd like to see a return to that.  In all parts of daily life.

1 comment:

  1. After looking at what you people are sending in, I told my wife I'm not going to let the guesses be posted. No, it isn't a tatoo I've wanted (I don't want a tatoo), nor the edict to stop asking people to open their scriptures during sacrament meeting talks, nor the raising the bar stuff I posted about earlier, nor the multiple earrings. I'm just saying that there are moments of madness we all seem to recognize at times and when we do it is a "Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl" moment. Now stop guessing. (I have to admit though, some of them were quite funny.)


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