Fool

Midway through his junior year, Julian DeSantos left Harvard and moved onto a twenty-acre plot of land in upstate New York.  He gave away his possessions and constructed a simple one-room cabin.  He gave up electricity.  He gave up plumbing. 

He even gave up the internet.
Friends said it was the stress: triple major; pressure from his folks.  He simply snapped.  And his mind snapped, too.

The years passed.  Old friends went on to lucrative careers and vacation homes; pretty boats and second wives.
Julian married Louise, a plain girl, a simple girl, by town standards. 

Together they had four kids.

Julian played in the dirt.  He played with his children.  He found he had all the time in the world to do what he wanted. 
As he learned to fend for himself—to repair the tractor; to mend the roof; to raise chickens—he felt instinct taking over.  He remembered all that was forgotten.  The collective memory of his grandparents and great-grandparents and even those before came rushing back, happy to have found a home again in Julian.

When he wandered into town wearing his dirty jeans and torn shirts, the people took pity on him.  They tried to press money into his hands; were angry when he refused it. 
“Poor fool,” the banker said one day, after Julian had passed.  “Really ought to be locked up.”

“He’s harmless,” the policeman said.
“But for his own good,” the banker insisted.  “The man can’t even take care of himself, let alone his family.”

The policeman agreed to look into the matter.
But then the bottom dropped out of the market.  Overnight, houses lost their value.  Portfolios were worthless.  Life savings disappeared. 

The dollar lost all value: The enlightened masses burned their cash and their stock certificates and, yes, even their diplomas for fuel and lined up at Julian’s door for his wife’s eggs and milk.
“Lucky bastard,” they said, watching Julian smile as he pulled a stray weed from beneath a strawberry leaf. 

This post was written in response to The Trifecta Writing Challenge.  This week's word was fool:
3 a : a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Fool

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fool

Midway through his junior year, Julian DeSantos left Harvard and moved onto a twenty-acre plot of land in upstate New York.  He gave away his possessions and constructed a simple one-room cabin.  He gave up electricity.  He gave up plumbing. 

He even gave up the internet.
Friends said it was the stress: triple major; pressure from his folks.  He simply snapped.  And his mind snapped, too.

The years passed.  Old friends went on to lucrative careers and vacation homes; pretty boats and second wives.
Julian married Louise, a plain girl, a simple girl, by town standards. 

Together they had four kids.

Julian played in the dirt.  He played with his children.  He found he had all the time in the world to do what he wanted. 
As he learned to fend for himself—to repair the tractor; to mend the roof; to raise chickens—he felt instinct taking over.  He remembered all that was forgotten.  The collective memory of his grandparents and great-grandparents and even those before came rushing back, happy to have found a home again in Julian.

When he wandered into town wearing his dirty jeans and torn shirts, the people took pity on him.  They tried to press money into his hands; were angry when he refused it. 
“Poor fool,” the banker said one day, after Julian had passed.  “Really ought to be locked up.”

“He’s harmless,” the policeman said.
“But for his own good,” the banker insisted.  “The man can’t even take care of himself, let alone his family.”

The policeman agreed to look into the matter.
But then the bottom dropped out of the market.  Overnight, houses lost their value.  Portfolios were worthless.  Life savings disappeared. 

The dollar lost all value: The enlightened masses burned their cash and their stock certificates and, yes, even their diplomas for fuel and lined up at Julian’s door for his wife’s eggs and milk.
“Lucky bastard,” they said, watching Julian smile as he pulled a stray weed from beneath a strawberry leaf. 

This post was written in response to The Trifecta Writing Challenge.  This week's word was fool:

Labels:

19 Comments:

At February 20, 2012 at 1:42 PM , Anonymous meadering meágan said...

I like this. :-)

 
At February 20, 2012 at 1:42 PM , Anonymous jaum said...

Love it... How circumstances re-enforce real values. Like to see more of Julian!

 
At February 20, 2012 at 2:49 PM , Anonymous Kim said...

It's all a matter of circumstance and perspective, isn't it? Nicely put tpgether, this piece.

 
At February 20, 2012 at 7:02 PM , Anonymous Lisarosenberg said...

I agree with Juam: Julian is very interesting! Is a longer story in the cards?

 
At February 21, 2012 at 9:59 AM , Anonymous megan said...

I love this.

 
At February 21, 2012 at 11:53 AM , Anonymous Nicole Leigh Shaw/Ninja Mom said...

Exceptional turn around. I like seeing the fool on both sides. And I can't separate "fool" from the courtly fool. The doting entertainer who was silly to see and arguably wiser than the king. A Julian, certainly.

 
At February 21, 2012 at 6:17 PM , Anonymous barbara said...

how quickly a fool becomes a lucky bastard. :)

 
At February 21, 2012 at 6:30 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! I kept seeing the fool at court as well.

 
At February 21, 2012 at 6:30 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Megan!

 
At February 21, 2012 at 6:31 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Not so far, Lisa. Thanks for reading!

 
At February 21, 2012 at 6:31 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thank you!

 
At February 21, 2012 at 6:32 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks!

 
At February 21, 2012 at 6:33 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Meagan!

 
At February 22, 2012 at 5:39 AM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

Ha! Who's the fool now?

 
At February 22, 2012 at 5:41 AM , Anonymous The Gal Herself said...

This was fabulous! It really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing.

 
At February 22, 2012 at 7:24 PM , Anonymous jesterqueen1 said...

I like the contrast here. It makes me think of the Little House books and how the Ingalls family moves from complete self-sufficience in the first book to almost total dependence on others by the time they get to Little Town On The Prairie.

 
At February 23, 2012 at 1:12 AM , Anonymous Heather Mattsen said...

Nicely done! A moral tale for today's world and economy!

 
At February 23, 2012 at 8:57 AM , Anonymous Carrie said...

Mwah ha haa! Who's the fool?

Love it

 
At February 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM , Anonymous Trifeta said...

Thanks for linking up again, Kelly. Ah, a timely reminder that what most of us consider indications of wealth and prosperity (and in this case, sanity) can often be very shallow. I love the turnaround in this from 'foo'l to 'lucky bastard'. Brilliantly written, as usual. See you for the weekend challenge, I hope

 

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