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Human Nature

Mark Taylor



I was walking along one day when I came across a large bearded man at a bus stop. He was seated and was smoking a cigarette. He carried an umbrella which was extended even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
“Good day sir, why do you have your umbrella out even though it isn’t raining?” I asked.
“Why do you ask questions when it is none of your business?” Replied the man.
“I suppose I am inquisitive of nature,” I replied in all honesty.
“Well, maybe you should think about changing your nature, perhaps being naturally quiet would be of use to you in the future, and especially me,” said the man.
“How do I go about changing my nature?” I asked, taking an interest in his proposition.
“Well, the first thing you must do when getting up in the morning is to get up 10 minutes later than usual. Take today for example this morning? the man inquired.
“I got up, I stretched, I had a shower, I dressed and then had breakfast, yes I think that is what was natural to me this morning,” I replied, confident I hadn’t forgotten anything.
“Very good, very normal, very natural,” said the man.
“But you see, if you had risen 10 minutes later and continued on your natural, normal way you would have arrived at this bus stop 10 minutes later and I wouldn’t have had to answer your stupid questions,” the man growled.
Just then a truck pulled up and the man flicked his cigarette butt into the gutter, folded up his pink umbrella and climbed on to the back of the truck which drove off.
The next morning I followed the man’s advice and decided to change my nature. I had set my alarm 10 minutes later than normal, and upon awakening I stretched, took a shower, dressed and had breakfast. Later that day I was walking along when I came across the same large man having a coffee at the local café. Beside him he had a large empty basket.
“Good day again sir,” I said.
Upon noticing his empty basket, I asked him:
“Why do you carry a basket when you have nothing to carry in it?”
The large man sighed, lit a cigarette and blew a large cloud of smoke in my face.
“I don’t think I was clear enough in my explanations yesterday,” said the man.
“In order to change your nature properly you need to change the order of which you do things as well. A good example would be thinking before you speak instead of speaking before you think. Perhaps, even the thought of not speaking would be appropriate. It seems to me that every morning you stretch, shower, dress and have breakfast without remembering to wake up,” the man continued.
“Let me give you some advice: tomorrow morning after you have finished your breakfast I think you should go back to bed, go back to sleep and do the whole waking up thing again just to make sure of it.”
At that moment a big truck pulled up with a group of musicians on the back, and the man hopped on with his empty basket and the truck drove off.
The following morning I got up 10 minutes later than usual and after breakfast I went back to bed and tried to sleep again but couldn’t. It just wasn’t natural to me, so I got up and went for a walk. Near the local park I met the large bearded man again who was seated on a bench reading a newspaper.
“Good afternoon sir,” I interrupted.
Upon noticing he was reading yesterday’s paper, I asked why he was reading yesterday’s paper. He took off his glasses, folded his paper and slapped me hard across the face with it.
“Whether it is today’s news or yesterday’s news, it is still able to educate,” growled the man.
“Just because it’s a day old doesn’t mean it has lost its shock impact, don’t you think?” he said while slapping me again across the face.
“Can you stop hitting me with your paper please?” I asked politely.
“I was just trying to wake you up, you don’t seem to have followed my advice and woken up twice today,” he replied.
“I couldn’t get back to sleep, it’s not in my nature to sleep that much, anyway I’m already sleeping 10 minutes more than usual,” I said, defensively.
“OK,” sighed the man. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a little container.
“Take two of these sleeping pills after you wake up the first time and after you have had your breakfast, you should feel like going back to sleep.”
Just then a truck pulled up and the man left with yesterday’s paper and climbed onto the back of the truck where a group of musicians sat and left in a cloud of smoke.
The next morning, after my alarm sounded I took the pills in the container and then stretched, showered, dressed and had breakfast. After breakfast I began to yawn and felt terribly tired so I got undressed and went back to bed to wake up again. When I awoke for the second time I felt as if I had slept a long time. Upon checking my alarm clock I was shocked to see that I had slept an extra 24 hours. I got up, stretched, showered and had an enormous breakfast and then went for a walk. As I was walking along a truck pulled up and the large man was on the back with a group of musicians.
“Good day sir,” I said. He looked at me, I looked at him.
“Why aren’t you wearing any clothes,” he asked.
Looking down I saw my naked self. “Just as nature intended,” laughed the man.
I thought for a moment and realised I had no reply, for it was not in my nature to walk around naked and I felt very unnatural, very abnormal. I had changed my nature and I didn’t like it. I preferred my old clothed self.
“Come on,” said the man. “Hop on and we’ll take you to a nudist camp where you can feel normal as nature intended.”
“No thanks,” I replied. “I’m not one to go around jumping on any old bandwagon.”