The Necessities of Life

I had journeyed long and hard, through heat and cold, sun and rain, all kinds of weather, to reach the mountaintop where the wise ascetic philosopher lived.

And so I asked him, “What, O wise man, are the necessities of life?”

“There are six things.” The aged mystic raised one bony hand, and opened his index finger. “A broom, that you may diligently clean up after yourself.”

This sounded reasonable. I nodded.

He added his second finger. “A dustpan, else you will simply push the dirt from one place to another.”

Again I nodded.

Middle finger. “A washtub, to keep your garments clean.” Ring finger. “A clothespin, to hang your garments.”

“Only one?”

“Shh. A glove, to protect your hands in washing.” He held up his thumb, so that his hand was entirely open.

“Not a pair of them? So I can be like Michael Jackson?” I frowned. “But that’s just five things, what’s the sixth?”

“A pinch.” Lightning fast, his hand whipped out and gave me a painful pinch on the cheek.

“Ow! What was that for?”

“To grow an inch.”

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