Tollbooth: January 7, 2018

Dear Mr. VP,

“There once was a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself — not just sometimes, but always.

When he was in school he longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in. On the way he thought about coming home, and coming home he thought about going. Wherever he was he wished he were somewhere else, and when he got there he wondered why he’s bothered. Nothing really interested him — least of all the things that should have.

‘It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time,’ he remarked one day as he walked dejectedly home from School. ‘I can’t see the point in learning to solve problems, or subtracting turnips from turnips, or knowing where Ethiopia is or how to spell February.’ And, since no one bothered to explain otherwise, he regarded the process of seeking knowledge as the greatest waste of time of all.”

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

Have you ever read The Phantom Tollbooth? It’s one of my favorites.

When we meet Milo, the main character, he’s a dull, bored boy. He’s never present in the moment. He’s not curious.

Sitting here reading the opening, I was struck by how much this reminded me of your boss. The total lack of intellectual curiosity.

I thought: what if we sent a tollbooth?

See, in the book, Milo is sent a tollbooth that allows him to travel to other lands. His journey opens his eyes to the wonders of the world, and he returns a different person, ready to stop and smell the metaphorical flowers. To be open to difference. To eat his steak without ketchup, if you will.

I checked out Amazon, but I can’t Prime a supernatural tollbooth to the White House. I suppose I’ll just have to hope it happens magically. Y’all could use some imagination.


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