It was a day like any other. I was walking down the street in a glum mood because my 9-5 was tiring or my car wasn’t fancy enough or whatever reason I had invented to feel sorry for myself that afternoon. As I was walking along the sidewalk, I spotted a homeless man up ahead. He was coated in dust, his clothes were tattered rags and his shoes were worn through but what stuck out most was his smile. He smiled warmly and proudly from ear to ear, never mind the fact that his teeth were crooked or his face was burnt by the sun. As pedestrians walked by, he didn’t ask them for money. He just nodded at them and smiled as if to let them know that everything was going to be alright. The image touched me profoundly. Here was this homeless man without any of the luxuries I am blessed with but still finding a reason to smile. I just had to speak to him. I walked up to the man and I asked him:
“How do you do it? How do you keep your spirits up when nothing seems to be going your way?”
I’ll never forget what happened next. The homeless man listened to my question, paused for a moment with a knowing twinkle in his eye then unhinged his jaw allowing a swarm of locusts to burst forth from his mouth into my face. The blow knocked me back against a parked PT Cruiser. I wiped the goo of the crushed locust from my now bleeding face and looked at the homeless man. His eyes had rolled back in his head as his skeleton buckled and morphed before giant black wings burst from his back, lifting him into the air. It turns out the homeless man wasn’t a man at all but an ancient daemon named Molakthar and it turns out Molakthar wasn’t even homeless but actually lived in a palace made of viking skulls in a shadow dimension whose name is lost to time. Molakthar opened his jaws to speak.
“Galor niheth ozom diorg!” Malakthar snarled. I later learned from an old mage that this phrase roughly translates to “Your cock shall decorate my hall of conquered meat.” Language is a beautiful thing. Anyway, as Malakthar disappeared into a cloud of dust and flame, I promised myself that I would never allow myself to feel glum again.
Never judge a book by its cover and never forget how lucky you truly are. I know I won’t.