Nobody is free who cannot master himself.<br>(Matthias Claudius, „Sprüche des Demophilus“)
Dr. G. has made it in life. His bank account is going from strength to strength, his sons are successful in their own right, his daughter has made a good match, he has no worries about the future, he is a member of the company Board with his own driver and reliable, skilled personnel are managing everything to his satisfaction. G. is a very prominent citizen in his town. Since making a donation of US $ 100 000 he has gained a reputation as a philanthropist well beyond his home region, he is universally respected, politicians ask him for his views and talkshow hosts invite him onto their programmes. He also has intellectual pursuits, organises poetry readings and is a patron of the arts in general. He has also discovered his spiritual leanings, and beyond the established church he is receptive to e.g. the Dalai Lama and the writings of Krishnamurti.
At around 11 a.m. G. wakes up in his hotel suite, dazed and confused by a nightmare. Still half-asleep, he makes for the bathroom. On returning he takes his watch from the bedside table with the intention of putting it on his wrist, but it slips from his fingers and is about to fall. He tries to catch it, but in his fumbling attempt to grab it he knocks the Swiss watch into the mirror, which immediately shatters. The watch also sustains a number of ugly scratches, and the second hand has stopped moving. Shit! In disgust, G. lays aside the watch which was once his pride and joy.
Room service brings him breakfast. Blast, the 5-minute boiled egg is hard. G. makes a mental note to stay at a different hotel in future.
On leaving the hotel lobby to keep an appointment at the Ministry, he sees a blind beggar whose face reminds him of the waiter at the Krokodil restaurant where he always orders their fantastic lobster. Suddenly he feels hungry. The hard-boiled egg spoiled his entire breakfast, and he resolves to make up for it with one of those lobster salads and a glass or two of wine at lunchtime.
Two attractive young women are also seated at the lobster bar. They keep looking at him in obvious appreciation, and he hears one of them whisper to the other: Look at him, what a dish. They strike up a conversation and he mentions the hotel he is staying at. “Perhaps the ladies would like to join me for dinner this evening?
G. feels great, and on leaving the restaurant he throws a 20 Euro note into the beggars hat.
Whistling cheerfully, he enters a jewellers and asks them to arrange for his watch to be repaired. “Well have to send it away for repair sir. Im afraid it will certainly take a few weeks. “No problem, I have another watch with me.“
G. returns to his hotel. The doorman holds the door open for him.
“I hope youre enjoying your stay with us, Dr. G. G. appreciates the service in this hotel, and tips him generously.
He enters his room; the shattered mirror has been replaced. There is an internal hotel message for him on the TV screen: Mr G., please contact Reception. There is a message for you.“
It annoys him that they have omitted his doctorate, so he reaches for the telephone and calls reception. Nobody answers. When somebody in reception finally answers the call after two minutes or so of ringing, he lets off steam: Doesnt anybody answer telephones in this excuse for a hotel? – Im very sorry, Dr. G., two ladies telephoned and asked me to tell you that they would be in the lobby at 8 p.m. – G.s mood changes instantly: Thank-you very much, please book me a good table for three by the window.
Man, the lord of creation, is he really free in his actions?
Keith R. Kernspecht