Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Thomas. Thomas was watching his favorite show one night and a commercial came on for something called the blue marble. Needless to say, due to the exciting nature of the commercial and the amount of fancy effects utilized Thomas got very excited. He did, however, realize after a little bit of thought that he had absolutely no idea what it was or how it was used.
Thomas decided that since his father was the wisest man he knew, he should ask him about the blue marble. Well, Thomas’s father worked a late shift at the factory on this particular day so Thomas had to wait an excruciatingly long time before his father would be home.
When his father finally made it home, Thomas quickly rushed up to him and asked:
“Father, I saw a commercial today and I was hoping you would know; what is the blue marble?”
Thomas’s father got visibly upset and his face turned a bright crimson. Vein in his forehead pulsing, he screamed:
“How dare you ask me that you ungrateful little bastard! You get out of this house. I never want to see you again!”
Thomas, shocked at this reaction, burst into years and ran out of the house.
As he was aimlessly wandering the streets of his hometown trying to figure out what had just happened; Thomas realized it must be a misunderstanding. If he could find the truth about the blue marble, maybe his father would forgive him. Wracking his brain, he remembered his father (the wisest man he knew) used to speak highly of the mayor of his town. Thomas decided maybe the mayor could answer his question.
Thomas remembered where the city hall was because a year ago his class had taken a field trip there for their social studies class. So Thomas made his way there. When he arrived, he was stopped by the mayor’s secretary who wanted to know why he wanted to see the mayor.
When Thomas explained how important it was that he see the mayor, for reasons lost to the past she actually buzzed him in. The mayor was sitting behind his large oaken desk wearing a business suit and smoking a big cigar. He looked up from his paperwork and his eyes locked on Thomas.
“Why, hello there son. What is it I can do for you today?”
Thomas, feeling quite uncomfortable under the mayor’s intense, piercing gaze, started to fidget.
“Well, come on son, I’m a very busy man”
Finally Thomas managed to pick up the courage and stammered:
“S..s..sir, I saw a commercial today that confused me. I asked my father about it and he got very very angry and threw me out. So I’m here hoping that you can answer my question. Sir, what is the blue marble?”
At the mention of the marble, the mayor’s gaze finally wavered. He became visibly angry just like Thomas’s father before him.
“How dare you ask that?” He bellowed. “Do you not have a shred of decency?”
And, with that, he called for the sheriff and had Thomas escorted out if town. As the sheriff dropped Thomas outside the city limits he told Thomas not to ever show his face in town again.
Thomas, now alone and bereft of everything he’d ever known, once again wracked his brain. He remembered watching the news with his father and hearing them praise the new president for his wisdom and kindness. Thomas decided that the president would be his best chance at finally getting the answer he needed.
At first the going was slow. Thomas had never been in his own before. But pretty soon he figured out that through a combination of strangers kindness and his own ingenuity it was possible to get by. Months passed. But, ever so slowly, he made his way towards Washington DC.
The one strange thing in his travels, that he quickly noticed, was; no matter where he went or who he asked about the blue marble, the reaction was always the same.
Finally, right around his birthday it so happens, Thomas made it to Washington and to the Whitehouse. He was once again stopped at the reception desk.
“Why hello there young man” the person behind the counter said while eyeing Thomas’s admittedly rough appearance. “What is it we can do for you?
Now, Thomas had been in his own for quite awhile at this point, and he had learned how to be pretty crafty. It was actually surprisingly easy to convince them to let him in to see the president.
Thomas walked in to the oval office, and sitting before him in the nicest suit he had ever seen was a middle aged man with close cropped grey hair and piercing blue eyes; the president of the United States of America. Who slowly looked up from the paperwork in the desk to take in the disheveled boy before him.
“And who might you be?” He asked in a surprisingly gentle voice.
“My name is Thomas, and I’ve traveled a very long way to ask you a question.” Said Thomas
The president, obviously intrigued cocked an eyebrow.
“And what, pray tell, is so important that you would come all the way here and interrupt my duties?”
“I have traveled across plains and mountains I have slept under the stars, I have scrounged for food; all so I can ask you, the wisest man in the country, what is the blue marble?”
Thomas braced himself, and rightfully so, because at the mention of the blue marble the pesident got very still and quiet. A scarlet hue crept it’s way up from the collar of his suit.
“Have you no tact or decency whatsoever?” He snarled between gritted teeth. “No citizen of this country can speak to me that way! Get out. Out of my office and out of this country!”
And so it was. Armed men came and slapped Thomas into handcuffs. They threw a bag over his head and put him on a ship bound for Europe.
Thomas travelled for many years always in search of his answer. Over Hill and Dale his journey took him. No matter where he went or who he asked the answer was always the same. Get out.
Finally after many many years and many many miles Thomas heard talk of a Yogi in India. A holy man who, twas said, had discovered the answers to every single riddle in the cosmos. It took a few more years and many adventures but Thomas finally found the ascetic in a remote village in India.
Upon entering the village Thomas quickly found out that the Yogi lived in a small shack at the edge of town. Upon finding the shack Thomas noticed how small and run down it was. He had slept in nicer places while he was homeless. It was exactly where he figured such an enlightened person would call home. He entered the shack.
The inside of the building was dark and smoky. There were rags strewn about the floor. One of the bundles of rags sat up and addressed Thomas in surprisingly good English.
“It’s been a long time since I had a visitor.”
Thomas realized this was the man he had sought all this time. The diminutive elderly man smiled a toothless smile at Thomas.
“So what is it that brings you to my humble home?” He asked softly.
“I have traveled many years and over much of our world seeking the answer to a question. I was told you know the answer to every riddle in the cosmos.” Said Thomas.
“I cannot proclaim to know everything, but I do indeed know many things. What is your question?”
“What is the blue marble?” Thomas asked bracing himself for the anger he had gotten from everyone he had ever asked.
The anger never came. The old man started laughing softly to himself.
“Oh such a simple thing. And fortuitous that you would come here for the answer.” Said the tiny man as gingerly he stood up and moved to the door.
“The answer you seek” said the man pulling open the flap across the entrance, “lies in that building.”
He pointed at a rather large structure directly across the road. Excited to finally be so close to the answer he had spent a lifetime searching for; Thomas thanked the Yogi and immediately jogged toward the building.
He never saw the tour bus that ran him down.
And that’s why you always look both ways when you cross the street.