Friday, January 6, 2017

Training Day

The master and his apprentice entered the depot, which was hosting an exhibit of model trains.  People of all ages were milling about, watching the trains roll around the tracks.  The master pointed to an elderly woman.

“See that woman?” he said.  “She has loved trains since she was a child, a classic case of neglect.”

“Neglect?” said the apprentice.  “How so?”


The apprentice watched the woman as she watched the trains make their endless loops around the tracks.  Around and around they went, past miniature cars, trees, horses, cows, trucks, houses, shops, rail yards, and people.  The woman followed each circuit with shining eyes; a smile made intermittent appearances on her face.  After several minutes, the apprentice turned to his master with a puzzled look.

“I don’t understand,” he said.

“Don’t you,” said his master.  “It’s obvious.  This woman has not been taught the horror of the Same Old Thing.  When she a child, she was perfectly happy with a seasonal round of games; as she grew older, she continued to be delighted with snow every Christmas and lilacs every spring.  And now it is a fixed habit with her to enjoy pattern and repetition.”

The master regarded the woman with contempt.

“Look at her, will you?  She will watch the train pass each little scene a thousand times and not tire of it.”

“Master!  It looks like she is going to make a video.”

“What?  We can’t have that!  Why, she would watch that video over and over again and experience the same pleasure she feels now.  I’ll just see about that!”


Later that evening, the woman looked at the video she took at the train depot.  To her surprise, all she saw was a video of the inside of her purse.

That’s strange, she thought.  I was sure I pressed the record button.

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