The university of life

Summer Madness

Yesterday evening we went to the local Supermarket and we were looking at the tomatoes, in between the carrots and the cucumbers, when a middle-aged woman tapped lightly with her finger on our shoulder. Our concentration on the tomatoes broke, and we looked the woman in the eyes. We immediately noticed that not so long ago this woman was a beautiful young woman, instead of being this middle-aged woman. There was still a residue of the essence of youth floating around her. Apparently this was the exact problem that was bothering her too. She took our hand, pulled it of the tomato we were thinking of buying, and held it with both hands. She took a deep breath and asked me: ‘Why do we get older young man?’ Right there, in between the carrots and cucumbers, this once beautiful young woman, and now still beautiful, but middle-aged, with only the slightest hint of her once young aura still hovering above her, asked me the question that has bothered the researchers of the University of Life for ages. Why do we get older? We grabbed the nearest tomato with our free hand, and held it up. ‘This tomato was once young, but its life is nearing the end.’, we told the middle-aged woman calmly with all the authority we could muster. But the woman was clearly not satisfied with this. She knew that this was not leading to the answer she needed. ‘But WHY!!!’, she cried out, ‘why do have to get old?’ In between the carrots and the cucumbers, we knew that for the first time in our life, we were lost for words. We felt utterly powerless to help this middle-aged woman with her humongous problem. But then an illuminating concept entered our brain with the eagerness of a greedy politician. The middle-aged woman saw the change in our thoughts from the sparkle of life that had entered our eyes. She expectantly waited for me to say something. ‘We get old, because if we didn’t, we would never have been young', we told her in a whisper first and then we shouted it out loud: ‘WE HAVE TO GET OLD, OTHERWISE WE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN YOUNG!’ A shiver went through the middle-aged woman, and suddenly, she didn’t quite looked middle-aged anymore. Instead a beautiful young woman was standing in front of us. We asked her out for a drink and a conversation, right there, in between the carrots and cucumbers.

To be continued.


University of Life

‘Summer Madness, part2’

At the UOL we got many reactions to the ‘summer madness’ lecture. Everyone wanted to know how the story ended and couldn’t wait any longer. At the UOL we like to serve public good so here is part2:

As you might remember, we ended our story about summer madness standing in between the carrots and the cucumbers. A middle-aged woman had transformed herself into a beautiful young woman and we had asked her out for a drink and a conversation, right there, in between the carrots and cucumbers. Without thinking it over she said no. A simple no and nothing else. A silence fell between us. We couldn’t keep our curiosity in check anymore. We had to know why, so we simply asked her. Her answer surprised me. ‘You look old,’ she said. We turned our head slightly and stared into the mirror whose sole function was to make the vegetable section of the supermarket look bigger. Now it could fulfil a more profound role. It would serve as a mirror to our soul. We observed and we saw what the woman had seen. The question, why do we get older, and the subsequent contemplation on the answer to this question, had drained us deeply. It had sucked our life with the same intensity of how a blood-deprived vampire would suck the warm tasty blood of a virgin, who had never eaten garlic in her life. This draining had made a mark on us. We were looking older. The young woman didn’t look that beautiful anymore, because she had failed to realize that this effect would only be temporarily. Soon we would be young again and full of life, ready for another question about life, ready to conquer the world. We said goodbye to the young ugly woman, right there, in between the carrots and cucumbers, without even giving the tomatoes a second glance. We would have to do without tomatoes tonight, and we knew it would be ok. We were again confronted with one of the greater truths of life. Beauty and youth are relative, and you never know were you might find them.


Professor at the UOL

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