Man and Bee
Once upon a time there was a bee that didn’t like a man, and the man didn’t like the bee. Even though they hated to admit it, they were envious of each other.
The bee said to itself, “I wish I were sitting around inside so I could relax like that man.”
And the man said to himself, “I wish I were making honey so I wouldn’t need money.”
Now being envious all the time is ultimately not positive. If you can’t be happy in your own skin, then you won’t be happy at all. That’s what I say.
With the man, the situation went from bad to worse. He got so mad about having to pay his bills that he went on a bee-killing spree. Every time he saw a bee he would smash it dead. This violence was senseless because there was no way he could just make honey like the bees. He would always need money because he was a man.
Time passed. Life went on. The man had to pay his bills, and he continued to be envious of the bees that went about their lives collecting nectar from the flowers and making honey. And so he’d swat the bees whenever he could, out of spite, envy, and jealousy.
The bees didn’t like being swatted by this man. You can imagine. So they secretly planned to get their revenge. One day, the man was walking home from the woods next to his house when he felt a sharp sting on his leg. He looked around and thought, “Did a bee sting me?”
As the story goes in the bee version, the man got schizophrenia and the bees thought they had gotten their revenge. The man went through a rough patch, that’s for sure, but it didn’t turn out so great for the bees either.
First the man began to suffer from with an overactive imagination. His thoughts started going strange places. He began to wonder if cats thought farts smelled bad, or if maybe to them a fart smelled like sweet perfume, like a bouquet of roses smells to a human. His girlfriend had two Siamese cats called Felix and Feynman, and they looked at him kinda funny when he was over at her house and cut one. He thought he saw a twinkle of appreciation in their eyes.
Since he didn’t have a cat, when he was back home alone worrying about paying his bills, the man became a cat in his mind and started thinking his farts smelled sweet. It just happened every now and then, whenever he chanced to pass a perfumed fart. It wasn’t like he went around smelling people’s butts for their farts which was something he’d seen cats do when they hung out together. His girlfriend’s cats did that. Fortunately the man didn’t do that to humans, nor to cats, but he saw things other people didn’t see and sometimes he was bothered by paranoid thoughts.
The thoughts could seriously threaten him and cause him to believe that even his friends and family were out to get him, to say nothing of the bees. Seeing hallucinations of monster bees with huge contorted stingers all around him, he went on a bee-hunting rampage and blew up the beehive with a shotgun blast. That caused the man to be taken by police to a hospital, where he was given strong medication and told he had a mental illness. He heard voices saying bad things about him, and there were days in the hospital when perfume-smelling farts were the least random of his thoughts.
Then in a positive development that doesn’t happen to everybody who gets schizophrenia, the medication started working, and the man began to recover from his mental illness. Back at home, he saw a documentary on TV that said bees have to count, to communicate, and reveal food locations as part of their daily tasks. He saw how busy the worker bees were and came to realize that the bee he didn’t like at the beginning of the story was under a lot of stress. He no longer envied that bee.
The man could see it outside his window sweating and toiling endlessly to bring nectar to the hive. Even though the bee was part of a tremendous honey-making machine, it never got more than a drop of honey for its efforts. Almost all of the honey went to the honeycomb, where it was guarded like money in a vault. A hand over which the workers had no control removed the honey, and it was enjoyed outside the hive by powerful interests. The worker bee was a virtual slave, thinking about nothing more than doing its job in the flowers and getting back to the hive with some nectar, or else.
The man now understood why the bee wanted to sit on the sofa and watch TV and relax. Now he could understand both his point of view and the bee’s point of view. He stopped swatting bees, and he apologized for having blown up a beehive.
One day, the bee at the beginning of the story was mining nectar from some petunias outside the man’s house. Noticing that the window was open, it buzzed inside and across the room to the couch where the man sat watching a rerun of the documentary about the organization and labor of bees. He was having some tea and a slice of toast with huckleberry jam. About to take a bite of the toast, the man was startled when the bee landed on his plate and started sucking up some of that huckleberry jam. Oh was it sweet!
Instead of swatting the bee mercilessly, the man let it drink its fill of sugary jam juice and sit there with him viewing the show about bees’ behavior. Watching together, they got insight into what the bee was facing in its life, and the man felt sorry for the bee.
The bee, on the other hand, was just happy that it could sit there and relax for a few minutes and watch TV.