The Perfect Garden

A man decided that he would make the best garden there had ever been. He bought a beautiful plot of land on the top a mountain, with picturesque views in every direction. He brought in truckloads of the finest black mulch and laid it out in perfectly straight rows. He gathered the most expensive seeds he could find, and carefully hand-painted intricate designs on each of the shells. He set each seed on its own white pedestal with a bronze nameplate and a large glossy picture of the fruit it could grow. Finally, he built walls and a ceiling over his garden to keep it safe from the weather. It was an amazing thing to behold, and he spent many hours admiring it.

The man visited his perfect garden every day, observing his seeds carefully. If he noticed any seed starting to crack, he would throw it out and replace it with another. No imperfection was allowed in his garden.  As the weeks passed, the thrill of his new garden began to wear off, and his visits became less frequent. They became weekly, then monthly, and eventually yearly, though at each visit he was sure to rid his garden of any seeds that had cracked or had odd green or brown things growing on them.

One night a terrific storm rocked the mountain. The wind shook the walls of the garden and the frame creaked. A massive gust ripped the roof from its place and sent it spiraling into the valley. Pounding rain poured into the garden for the first time, turning the carefully planned rows of black mulch into a sea of mud. Winds whipped through the garden, knocking the beautifully painted seeds from their white pedestals. They sunk into the watery mess. The perfect garden was ruined.

After the storm had moved on, the sun rose over the remains of the perfect garden. As the weeks passed, green sprouts began to appear in the black soil. Eventually the man returned to see his perfect garden, but he found a shocking sight. The beautiful order he had spent so long creating was gone, and in its place, plants of every variety filled the damaged garden.

The Hospital

Once there was a hospital with an amazing doctor who could heal any injury or disease. People traveled great distances to be seen by her.

One day some patients met together in the halls of the hospital and began to talk, as patients do, of their treatments.

“The doctor is quite alright, I guess,” said the man with the broken leg, “but she keeps insisting that I don’t put weight on my leg for six weeks. Doesn’t that seem excessive to you?”

“Absolutely,” said the man with the rare blood disorder. “What’s worse, she keeps prying into my personal history, asking about my parents and the environment I grew up in. What business is that of hers?”

“Frightful,” said the obese woman. “Do you know she had the audacity to tell the nurses to stop bringing me the fried food I requested?”

“No!” said another woman, who tried to tell of her plight but was overcome with a fit of coughing.

“That’s nothing,” said the man with appendicitis. “She wants to cut me open!”

The patients all agreed that the hospital was in a dreadful state and decided they should do something. They raided the supply closets for white lab coats and stethoscopes, then set about to fix the hospital’s problems.

The man with the broken leg made it his mission to fit casts to the legs of anyone who would hold still long enough, while the woman with the coughing fits followed behind handing out cough syrup.

The man with the rare blood disorder visited each patient’s room, spreading the news of his journey from being a patient to a doctor, and telling everyone where they could find their own white coats and stethoscopes. He was joined by the man with appendicitis, who taught the patients that while the doctor’s emphasis on health was excellent, her more radical suggestions were not in step with modern thought, and what really mattered was that they foster a mindset of “healthfulness”.

The obese woman took it upon herself to visit the sick in the waiting room and refer them to her fellow patients for treatment.

If you visit the hospital today, you will be met by thousands of patients in white lab coats, each claiming to be perfectly healthy and offering you a similar cure. They will lead you in a reading of the Hippocratic Oath that they have reconstructed from memory and give you your own white lab coat and stethoscope.

Rumor has it that the doctor is still somewhere in the hospital, but no patients have seen her in years.