Monday, April 23, 2012

A Fiver of Virtues!

Dreams are made to be realized. We sometimes may believe it not so, and then a miracle happens. Mine were most certainly to be crushed, small though my wishes might’ve seemed. For almost a year, or perhaps even more, I had my senses fixated on a shiny material object; a small Oscar sized solid brass knight in the window of a video store. "It's not for sale," the pretty clerk at the counter unequivocally reaffirmed. Sigh. My wife, some six months ago, tried to purchase it for me as a Christmas gift. She had received the same message: "It's not for sale."

There are “twenty seconds of bravery”, as articulated in the 'We Bought A Zoo' movie that I watched just last night. Those words galvanized me. I had wanted that brass knight for almost a year! And now, passing the window yet again, I decided I at least had to try.

The knight stands firmly, but carries no sword! His arms hang down by his sides, and his visor is down, but it is not as though he is defenceless, nor as if he is vulnerable. He leans back on his left leg, his right a bit forward, relaxed. His shoulders are broad, but relaxed too. He is a man prepared for the world. And he hearkens me back to my childhood, when I was very much inspired by the Pentacle of the Knightly Virtues. A pentacle; like the prefix to my own name. And five knightly virtues; essential values to aspire to in the quest of The Holy Grail. Somewhere deep inside me I knew that such a grail was no mere object, no golden chalice. I knew it as a metaphor for the insight and wisdom that eludes us all, and that no attainment of it would allow it to be solidified, put on a shelf for others to see, to be owned. A bit like this knight now, standing in the window. Unobtainable.

So I wheel into the store on my trusty metallic-blue steed, make my way to the familiar clerk and, after she tells me yet again, "It's not for sale!" I look her four-square in the eyes and say: "Everything is for sale." And I ask her for the manager and ascertain that he owns the store next door and so I wheel over there, but to the wrong store, and have to go back past the video store and around another corner to yet another store and speak to the clerk about the knight in the window, and even he says: "It's not for sale." So I ask to speak to the manager and the clerk turns and indicates at a door, just as the manager walks out of it. So we meet. And this man, Mike, says he's not sure what I'm talking about so he walks ahead of me and out of his store and around the corner to the video store, where I stay outside to point out to him the article in question through the window, and he hoists it up and palms it over and over, and heads back toward me. "So, you want to buy this?" he says, speculatively. I nod, expecting now that I may after all have to decline. Even dreams have a limit on their price! And now that he knows my rather keen interest. ... "How about five bucks?" he says. Five bucks!

As we make the transaction I tell him why. Those five virtues are Frankness, Fellowship, Courtesy, Compassion, and Purity of Thought and Deed. And now, as I write with my bronze knight before me, I know exactly what to call the fellow. That kind store manager exemplified all five of those virtues in one single deed. Why, I shall call my knight exemplar: Sir Michael Fiver!

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