My Aching Temples

The boy fidgeted. His Mom and Dad were holding his hands while deeply contemplating the magnificent treasure map on display before them. Then he got “the look.”  “Dear, you know how important this map is.” “Yes, Mom.” He knew that there was great symbolism, but none seemed to know what it all meant. Curiously, that added significantly to its mystique and allure. He knew that this map wasn’t the original. That one is rumored to be securely kept deep in a vault. Hence, copies hang in hundreds of appropriately magnificent museums, available to all who would come.

In point of fact, no one knows just how different it is from the original. Everyone knows that the copies are occasionally adjusted to ensure that none take offense as society’s cultural evolution conflicted with the symbology. Exact replicas would also be too expensive to maintain. Besides, since none comprehend the map, it hardly matters what the changes are.

Like all children, he had been taught the now mythic origin story in verse and song. Long ago a man had sacrificed his wealth, reputation, and associations in search of an incredible treasure. Eventually, he found the singular map that would lead to the treasure. When he returned home with the map, many swarmed his house to see it. He was compelled to build a museum and charge a nominal entry fee for upkeep and a non-profit trust with directors and employees to ensure continued access after his demise. His associations, reputation, and wealth took a positive turn. As they say, the rest is history (with all of its essential “corrections” and scholarly interpretations).

Unable to contain himself, the boy continued to fidget. That would have been bad enough. But no, the boy then brought embarrassment and ridicule from the many patrons upon the heads of his parents. This resulted in their reflexive, rigid response and the fire in the eyes of his father. In a moment of presumed inspiration and with great enthusiasm, he had asked loudly, “has anyone ever tried to find the treasure?”

He learned the hard way that some ideas are simply too sacred to pursue.

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