The Happiness Room

“All have a desire to be happy, but few have the courage and resolution to grapple with the difficulties that meet them in the way to their happiness.”~ William Gurnall

A man woke up on the cold hard floor of a room. A barred window let in the only light. The walls were smooth and plain, only one brown door with a black knob. No furniture populated the room except a small round table in the center. On the table there was a key and a loaf of bread.

The man got up and walked over to the table and picked up the key and tries the lock. The key was stuck in the lock and didn’t turn. The man frowned and went back to the table. The loaf of bread was fresh, and he ate it hungrily. He saved some for later. Nothing else happened that day and he fell asleep when the light o the day had receded.

The next morning he rose from the cold hard floor and found that the key was still where he had left it but the loaf of bread was now stale. He tried the key in the lock again, and still nothing happened. The key refused to turn.

He returned to the table and ate half of the remaining bread. Being nourished by it, he decided it was time to try some other ways out. He inspected the window and the bars were solid. Next he hurled himself at the door, and his body weight could not budge the door though he tried many times. He inspected the hinges, but he had no tool to take them off.

Suddenly, it occurred to him. He set the loaf of bread onto the ground and picked up the table and ran at the door to smash it down against the door. The table shattered but it also broke through the wood near the door knob.

He smashed it and smashed it and reached his hand through the narrow opening and unlocked the door from the other side.

He left the hard plain room and into his eyes entered a new sight. He entered into a room much like the one he left with barred window lighting, a locked door across from him, and a table in the center of the space. This chamber in additiob had a thin berber red-brown carpet and an opening shelf built into the wall. On that shelf was a tray of bread, cheese, and water. He immediately drained the cup of water since he was quite thirsty and then ate the last of the bread from the old room. He saw a door opposite the one leading from the old room and checked the table which was slightly larger round and oval-shaped. On the table he found a lock pickers set of tools.

The man very clumsily tried the lock pickers tools being very unfamiliar with them, and nothing happened to the door lock. He eased his frustration with the bread and cheese until the light of the day through the window faded to blackness. He fell asleep on the carpet and slept soundly but for a great clanging noise that roused him in the middle of the night.

The next morning he awoke and looked around the room to see what had changed that night. The only difference he noticed was that the shelf built into the wall was now closed behind a metal panel. He went over and fingered hia way arojnd the esge til he foind a latch, and the panel slid down to reveal the tray of food. To his surprise, curiosity, and gratitude the tray was replenished with food and the water cup was full again. He ate of the food on the shelf and drank the water and felt encouraged to keep trying to get out of this room.

He thought to himself if only he could use the wooden pieces from the last room to get through the door, but try as he might all he got was a splinter and a cut in his hand. the wood of this door was of sturdier stuff he guessed. He wrapped it in cloth from the bread tray and attempted the lock picking set. He met only frustration.

Then, it came to him that he should try the key in the other door. He had to use the lock picking tools to even pry the key out of the first lock, and he tried it on the second door. The lock would not turn. He went back to the oval table and examined it. He found nothing. He examined the tray and found nothing underneath it besides the concrete of the wall shelf.

Here the man’s frustration began to edge at him. He felt inadequate to get through the door, he had already hurt himself, and he still had no idea what had caused the claninging noise. He curled up onto the carpet with some bread and cheese and lay still munching away.

He stayed in this room another night and heard the same mysterious clang in the darkness and found his food  and water were replenished.

He sat down on the oval table facing the next door for a while then pced between the two rooms.

It was around this time that he considered a long view approach to his situation. He fingered the key in his hand and realized that this key was probably meant for something, and that “probably meant for something” might be to learn how the lock picking tools simulated a key.

He spent that afternoon studying the key and the lock picking tools and he practiced on the broken door first. It took him countless tries after which he took a break to eat and came back before he finally unlocked the broken first door.

He hurried to grasp the second door hands too shaky from the excitement to open anything. He had just leaped so many hurdles in this one moment that he felt he could conquer the world. He gingerly felt the lock easing under his precise touches with the tool, but he didn’t get it to turn until the sun had completely set. Then CLICK the door was open and he pulled the door back and thought to step into the dark, but for all he knew it would lead downhill or into a trap. He decided to find his blind way back to the carpet and get some sleep.

Before he did, he thought to get some water and food before that panel clanged shut again. He first gingerly felt in the dark and found where everything rested then quickly snatch the bread off the tray with his hands, and then quickly grabbed the cup and guzzled down the sips that remained and then threw the cup back into the dark shelf.

Like a metal jaw the panel sliced shut bumping into his hand as he retracted it. A wave of terror of what could have happened froze his body from torso outward.

He returned to the carpet and eagerly awaited the next day. The twilight came and he rose from his floor bed and pulled the door open.

This room was so much unlike the first two. Color splashed into his sight as yellow,  purple and dark blue met his view on the far wall. Inside this larger parlor scattered all over the place were giant shapes like squares and triangles made of foam, furniture, and a plush bed. The temperature was mild, and there were lamps, a bathroom, and a new shelf in the wall on the side of the room very similar to the one in the room before, but this one had pastries, and chocolate milk and fruit juice.

The only other thing similar in that room to the ones before it,  was the table in the center of the space and after much looking around, a door behind the big blocks. The table this time was rectangular and nothing rested on it but a plain, straight, smooth walking stick.

The newcomer felt no urgency to leave this room. He ate of the delicacies, drank the juice and walked around to the bed and fell into a luxurious, comfortable snooze from which he woke to explore the place further.  Walking around blocks and finding no secret passages and no window in this room he approached the door. There was no door knob. Only a light brown circle of wood where the door knob might be.

It was pretty solid. He pushed against it, and thought of using the stick on the table just as he had used the table,  but he saw that the staff would break if it was swung at something. The table was to heavy for him to manage. He tried manipulating various configurations of toys,  blocks,  triangles,  and nothing got the door to budge. “Maybe it isn’t even a door.” he thought as he set up some Lincoln logs. He also began to wonder if the door knob was hidden, and if he needed to find it in the misat all of these things.

The man spent a week in this room,  eating,  playing, and occasionally, searching. He began to grow tired of the kingdom he built in that parlor,  which he ruled over with his wooden scepter.  He lived like a king,  but with no one else to share it with. He had as much as he could want, but his heart grew weary playing and not progressing.

He left the color room back to the carpeted room, and back again to the first room at which he had started. He lay on the cold floor and remebered: he was a prisoner here. He had once refused to stay, but he had grown accustomed to his cell. Does he still want to get out?

He sat up and looked around.  Only broken pieces of the table remained. He entered the second room and saw the bare table. It had held the tools needed to get into the next room. And the third room held only the walking stick.

It clicked for him. It was simple. He took his staff in hand and ran at the door with terrific speed. With his hands he gripped his pole horizontally in one hand behind and the other in front. Finding himself mere feet from the door, he braced for impact.

With a terrific crack the door broke open a crack and the stopped stuck. A white light from the outside pierced inside. He pushed gently on the door, and then intently. Then harder, and then he used his stick to pry it open. It swung free.

The man stepped out into a white, snowy hillside with white clouds above him and a sheer mountain’s grey face greeting him and welcoming him to this brave new world.

 

 

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Math Myth

At lunch today I told this story to some 5th grade kids.

Once there was a division between the Sum and the multiplication. There was also a guy named Minus, who wasn’t very good at doing things. He wanted to remove the division between the Sum and the multiplication.

Minus had one problem. He didn’t have a heart big enough.

So he drank a lot of milk to make himself stronger.
But his heart didn’t grow any bigger.

He went to school and learned everything he could about the division between the Sum and the multiplication.
But his heart didn’t grow any bigger.

After school he gathered as many numbers around him as he could: all kinds of possessions.
But his heart didn’t grow any bigger.

Finally, he prayed and asked God to give him a bigger heart.
And God gave him a bigger heart.

After this, Minus found Sum and multiplication still divided.
And because his heart was bigger now,
He applied himself to the division between the Sum and the multiplication
And Viola! He “subtracted” the division from between the Sum and the multiplication.

The Sum and the multiplication had a party and celebrated with cupcakes.

Then they all made an equation to remember how a Minus is always able to remove the division between the Sum and the multiplication.

That is why there is a minus sign used in the Division symbol.