Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Futile Epikles

The Epikles lives for the chance to do good deeds. He prowls for the opportunity. He lies in wait for unsuspecting victims of his magnanimity. His favorite phrase is "can I help you?". People looking at a map in public are the most susceptible to his aid. Before they have a chance to get their bearings, he appears before them pronouncing his phrase, and he is never at a loss for the information they require. He seems to know where everything is located. He is always "glad to help".

The Epikles spends his free time wandering around doing any good deed he can muster. Any good deed, no matter how small, rewards him with infinite satifaction. In line at the supermarket, he will insist that someone with fewer items go ahead of him. Spotting someone at the bus stop without an umbrella, he will inform them of the likelihood of rain. If he is at a train station, he will look around for people who seem to need to know the time, and he will tell them precisely what it is.

His acts are inspired by genuine goodness; he has no doubts about his inner qualitities. Other people may find him a little odd, a little too forthcoming, a tad too friendly, perhaps. After all, they do not know this knight in shining armor who is popping up out of nowhere to rescue them from nothing. His good deeds do in fact go unpunished, for they are not quite good enough to merit that result. He is dismissed with a half-hearted 'thank you', and, convinced his helpee is now all right, he hustles off to find the next horizon.

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