Even great minds make mistakes.
It’s hard to believe, but once even the ultimate mind made an unforgivable mistake. Instead of granting it to its right owner, a screaming newborn, God presented a shiny new soul to a… Potato.
At first the potato was confused. It had no eyes, so it could not see. It had no mouth so it could not taste. It had no ears so it could not hear. Up until this point it was a normal potato, no different from any other in the world. But the special thing was, it had a soul. This meant a truly incredible thing. The potato could feel.
Blinding fear took ahold of the potato, as soon as the soul spread through the body, residing in its every cell. The surroundings felt cold and dark, and the skin no better: rough and too tight, uncomfortable. Its mind began swirling with questions. Who am I? What is this place? What is my purpose in this pitch-black void? There was no guide, no knowledge, no answers to the questions of the tiny soul.
As time passed, nothing special was happening, and little by little the potato’s fear turned to a vague feeling of unease.
It was hard to concentrate on being calm and wait for questions to be granted, wait for instructions of what it should do, wait for a sign. Exasperation was creeping under its skin, and closer to the core.
Until suddenly it happened. And then it happened again.
These brief moments of bliss, when a sudden light illuminated the potato, happened accidentally and erratically, went away as quickly as they appeared. Darkness was playing with light, light was teasing darkness, it was a dance or a game or a flirt or a chase. It happened a few times in a row. It stopped happening. It happened again. The potato realized that the periods of bathing light were more or less two, equidistant in time. It began to wait. It began to expect. It began to hope. What were these sudden flashes of light, that the potato could feel inside of its soul? It didn’t know. Nonetheless, it would give anything for that light to shine for longer.
It didn’t know that the light was not a sign, and had no meaning. It was an invention of creatures greater than itself that helped to see in the darkness of a low temperature storage of products meant for consumption. The potato would never understand the complicated notion of the fridge’s light.
The potato couldn’t communicate with the other inhabitants of the fridge. There were objects of different shapes, different smells and different colors, but the potato couldn’t see or hear them. The only objects the potato felt lucidly were the beings similar to itself, the other potatoes. It tried to establish a contact, forced communication, reached out with every fiber of its fragile soul. But all the attempts remained one-sided. The other potatoes were completely soulless, to them these great efforts were invisible, incomprehensible and meaningless. The potato felt the dull pain of being misunderstood and rejected. It was completely alone in the entire vast universe.
The only source of contempt was the light. The potato concentrated on it, praying to see it again. It greeted every burst with a feeling of absolute joy, as if it was an unprecedented miracle.
Its senses sharpened, and soon the potato realized two things. The number of the objects in the fridge changed with each burst of illumination. And, there was definitely something outside of the fridge.
It never occurred to the potato, that the light was taking, as well as giving.
The realization came out of the feeling of empathy, the only thing that remained after the attempts to establish a communication with the other potatoes.
One day after the blissful light came, the potato realized that most of its comrades were gone. Almost instantly, the potato felt sharp pain. It was the sharpest feeling of all up to this point, bringing it into a state of extremes. As if it was happening to the potato itself, it felt a knife skin it alive, it felt the horror of being torn into pieces, shed of its dignity, left powerless and broken, and then thrown into a hellish cauldron of boiling water.
The pain was immense.
The light the potato learned to adore was a ray of death, a curse and not salvation. Nothing mattered now, the light would come for the potato, and the agony of waiting was too much for the potato to bear. It must leave the fridge immediately.
Better to face its fear at once, to step into the unknown, to proudly sacrifice your life, then wait and be a slave of your destiny, a powerless lamb in the eyes of the God of Death.
The potato collected all of its willpower and rolled with all its might. It fell on the floor, accidentally rolling down under the fridge. There was movement, bursts of light.
A hand reached down to the potato, it could feel the warmth. The end was near.
It felt the hand grab tightly at the sides, and decided to fight one last time, squeezed and pushed, and in one swift heroic movement flew right into the open window, tearing through the cold night air and falling down and down because of the inevitable pull of gravity.
As it was flying down faster and faster, from the 24th floor of an apartment building, it felt the stars illuminating its tiny body in the vast dark blue universe and for the first time it felt beauty. And it was with beauty in its tiny soul that the potato smashed against the sidewalk, losing its form and present body.
The soul was lost without the body too, and it flew away into the hands of God where it was created.
At the same time the future dictator was making a sand castle in the playground, unaware that the soul that was rightfully his has evaded forever the surface of the Earth.