Mr. Fast and Mr. Slow

From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

From 2007
This is preachy and I deleted it originally but I guess it's not all that bad. It represents a certain stage of thought in my life.

Mr. Fast was jogging through the park on a sunny August afternoon in order to get some exercise and keep himself slim. His iPod and cell phone were securely in his pockets; his wristwatch was on his right arm, and he would check it to make sure he was getting through the park on time.

Mr. Fast's cell phone rang. It was his cousin from New Jersey. They talked together rapidly as he ran through the park. Then all of a sudden, he saw a big, bulky mass in front of him, right in the middle of the road. Before he could stop himself or change direction, he had slammed right into Mr. Slow. His phone dropped to the ground. "Now look what you've done!" he said. "My whole schedule is ruined!"

"What's the rush?" asked Mr. Slow. So Mr. Fast told him.

Mr. Fast's story

The entire world is the story of how to do things faster and more efficiently. I was jogging and talking on the phone at the same time so that I would be finished with both tasks by the time I got back to my apartment, and then I could start working. Using work, I can accumulate money. But I won't waste this money on my self-- no sir! I'll use it to make myself more efficient and able to accumulate even more money.

No sacrifice is too great in the name of efficiency. I can't divert my attention to extra children, or care for my grandparents-- I'd hardly even survive if I don't keep up my current rate. If my food must be made on an assembly line and packaged into little energy bars to meet my standards, so be it. Efficiency will allow me to waste as little time as possible on meaningless tasks like food preparation. Cleanliness will prevent me from getting sick and wasting valuable time.

Yes, I know, what's the point of all this? Well, if I make enough money I will have extraordinary power. I will be able to solve crises around the world. I will use my power to save the rainforest, fix our corrupted politics, and maybe even grant myself immortality. It might sound self-centered, but the world would be better off with me and people like me making sure it's all running quickly and smoothly.

Mr. Slow's story

This might sound kind of dopey, but I don't think speed should be an end in and of itself. The story of life is really the story of happiness: how we make other creatures happy, and how we make ourselves happy. Happiness and love go hand in hand.

The way we make and eat homemade food makes us happy, and we share our love with the people we eat with. Caring for the young and the old is a source of pride, love, and happiness. Putting attention into little details makes us happy. Have you seen the way they used to paint signs 100 years ago, carefully filling out each swoop and edge of the letters? Those signs have love in their every corner.

There are many people before you who have had enormous power, and the power doesn't seem to have made them very happy, or more capable of loving. Quite the opposite, in fact. By following your recipe for power, they seem to have made themselves so busy that they have little capacity to be happy or love at all. And what you want isn't power, anyway. I can prove that to you.

You are spending your time "efficiently." Maybe you will make yourself proud if you ascend from the middle class to the upper class of the richest nation in the world. Maybe this is the way you prove to yourself that you are strong. But deep down, you know there are more important ways to spend your time. If you get sick with a terminal illness, and you suffer deep pain and think you might die, you would beg God to give you another year or two of life. Why is it that you want an extension on your life? Is it so that you can gain more power? No, it's so that you can spread more love, and be happy.

Today, so many people are in a hurry to acquire power that the pace of work is very fast. They will hurry through meals, work, and even walking in the park so that they can move on to the next thing. But if all you can see is the endpoint in the distant future, then you are not really living right now. If you were struck down by lightning right now, you would bemoan from Heaven all the wonderful things you had missed.


At that point Mr. Slow took Mr. Fast to a bridge, and showed him the water. And Mr. Fast took his cell phone and his iPod, and he dumped them in the water. And for the time being all was well.

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