Once upon a time there was a rotund little man with dark brooding eyes who was obsessed with collecting clocks. The world is filled with an almost limitless number of clocks – grandfather clocks, grandmother clocks, cuckoo clocks, alarm clocks, digital clocks, analogue clocks, big clocks, little clocks, medium size clocks. And our rotund little clock collector with the brooding eyes was obsessed with collecting as many as possible. By day he thought about clocks, by night he dreamed about clocks. He visited antique dealers to buy old clocks, perused the shelves of department stores to buy the latest clocks, scoured garage sales to find unwanted clocks.

Soon he had so many clocks he had to build a warehouse to hold them.  And each time he found a clock the process was the same. He’d hold the clock, feel the contours, listen for its tick, and then take it to his clock warehouse. When he arrived he’d undo the super heavy duty padlock on the barbed wire fence. Then he’d drive to the front door, look to make sure there was no one else around, and only when he was sure no one was able to peer on his magnificent collection, he’d quickly unlock the security locks, rush into his warehouse, shut the door behind him, and carefully place his latest acquisition in its allocated place.

He was however haunted by each visit to his clock warehouse. It was as though each time he opened and shut those doors someone was whispering in his ear: “Hans of Sweden has more clocks than you…Jillian of London has rarer clocks than you… If only you could get another clock, then you’d be happy.” On occasions the whispering was sinister:  “Is your warehouse secure enough? People might steal your clocks…” At times the whispering was indignant “Why should low income earners get a clock concession. Why don’t you get a clock concession too?”

Whenever the whispering started the rotund little clock collector with the brooding eyes was sure he could see someone out of the corner of his eye. But the moment he turned there was nothing.

One day the rotund little clock collector came to his warehouse with his latest prize. He was pleasantly surprised not to hear the whispering inside his head. But his pleasant demeanour ended the moment he opened the warehouse door. There was someone else in the warehouse, right in front of him, a tall, wiry fellow with impish eyes. In his hands the tall, wiry fellow with impish eyes held the most exquisite antique cuckoo clock. It was not one the rotund little clock collector with the brooding eyes had ever seen before. “Who are you?” demanded the clock collector.

“Why I’m a thief” said the tall, wiry fellow with impish eyes. With that he carried the exquisite antique clock to a shelf, placed it gently down and gave it a quick dusting. “Oh, don’t worry, it’s not stolen. It’s mine, and it’s my gift to you.”

As the tall, wiry fellow with impish eyes spoke his voice sounded familiar to the rotund little clock collector with the brooding eyes. Yes, that was it, this was the voice of the whisperer; this was the voice that whispered in his ear each time he unlocked his warehouse.

“A thief! A thief!” cried the rotund clock collector. “But a thief would be removing clocks from my collection, not adding to them! What sort of thief are you?!”

“Oh, I haven’t come to steal your clocks” replied the tall, wiry fellow with the impish eyes. “ You know my voice, don’t you? You’ve heard me many times before…” At this the tall, wiry fellow with the impish eyes leaned in close and whispered “Hans has more clocks, Jillian has rarer clocks, if only you could get another clock, is your warehouse secure? Why do lower income earners get a clock concession?” He continued “I’ve been here every time you’ve visited your warehouse. I haven’t come to steal your clocks my friend. I’ve come to steal your contentment.”

Who or what is the contentment thief for us today?

Source: Scott Higgins

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