The Barbarian Bard

Tales and Musings by Michael A. Espinoza

What You Make of Life

My father told me this short story recently, and it really resonated with me. He heard it from someone else, who likely heard it from yet another source, and as such, I’ll do my part by passing it on as well. Enjoy.

An elderly man sat on a park bench, thumbing through his copy of the newspaper. The occasional car trundled past on the quaint dirt road, but the old man paid them no mind, content to read his paper and enjoy the refreshing spring breeze.

But one car slowed down as it approached the bench, and the driver cranked down the window and waved to the old man.

“Excuse me, sir,” the driver called, “I’m looking for a new place to live, and I don’t want to live anywhere like my old town. What’s it like here?”

“Well,” the old man stroked his chin in thought, “what was your old town like, son?”

“Awful,” the driver spat. “Nothing but liars, cheats, deviants, and thieves. Immoral people, judgmental and crude. It was just a sad place to be.”

“You’ll find nothing better here, I’m afraid,” said the old man.

“Yeah, I figured as much,” replied the driver, scowling and pulling away.

The elderly man went back to his paper, chuckling at a particularly funny comic strip and nodding thoughtfully as he perused an editorial by the publication’s newest writer. The sound of a second car slowing to a halt drew his eyes up from the newsprint, and he saw another driver rolling down his window.

“Excuse me, sir,” the driver called, “but I’m looking for a place to settle down. What can you tell me about this town?”

“Well, what was your old town like?” inquired the old man.

“Oh it was wonderful,” the driver beamed. “Nice folks and a really friendly atmosphere; everyone was everyone’s friend. I could really trust my community. I’m sad I had to move, but that’s life. It really was a swell place though.”

“You’re in luck,” the old man informed him, “because this town is exactly like the one you just described.”

Remember, attitude is everything. Look for the good in the world, and you will always find it. If you enjoyed this story or any of my others, please consider donating to help fund the publication of my novel-in-progress:


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