The Myth of Elsewhere (Dave Carrol, @DaveCarrol)

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John grew up “Here.” After brushing his teeth and combing his hair a satisfactory number of times, his father an adequate machinist, would tell John stories of “Elsewhere.” John loved “Elsewhere” with all his heart. It was a beautiful, storied land with mountains that shone in the morning sunlight and valleys that smelled of sweet alyssum. “Elsewhere” there were men who loved as he imagined love being. That perfect love that poets wrote idyllic sonnets about. A love that John had grown jealous of, being part of the pedestrian masses subjected to a birth and rearing “Here.”

“Here” was different than “Elsewhere.” The sunsets weren’t as red. It’s streets were cracked and too many “Hereians” smoked. Not pipes either. They didn’t think twice about it. Monsters really. There were problems “Here’… and “There”, too. Sometimes John’s Father would take the family stationwagon “There”. “There” had a modest mall where John’s father could buy camping supplies for their trip “Elsewhere.” What a trip this would be. At the end of every month, there would be enough money left over to buy one piece of the expedition gear. A tent here and a Coleman burner there. But the problem with “There” were the “Thereians.” They were a rude and inconsiderate folk who thought only of themselves. John’s father was sure that they had never heard of “Elsewhere.” How could they have? You see, “Elsewhere” was a copious country that the small minds of common “Hereians” and “Thereians” couldn’t comprehend.  “Elsewhereians” would never be like that.

John grew to hate “Here.” And he loathed “There.”

John’s father died. It was not a sad story except to say that hard times had hit “Here.” So much so that the tent had been sold to buy stacks of canned corn and the Coleman burner had turned into a side of “There’s” finest beef to salt and preserve for the “Hereian” winter. But John’s father’s death was sad enough that John couldn’t tolerate “Here” any longer. In the willed-wagon, John began driving for “Elsewhere” without so much as a goodbye, though there were no neighbours he knew well enough to say goodbye to anyhow. He cursed “Here” as he sped through town. “I’ll never darken a doorway in ‘There’ again!” John shouted as he tore a strip down the ordinary “Thereian” streets with “Elsewhere” on his mind.

John drove and drove. The speeding ticket from an unfamiliar land he didn’t know existed didn’t deter John’s zeal for “Elsewhere.” Finally he arrived “Elsewhere.” It felt…

…familiar.

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage. Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah ~ 600BC

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