Murray was a nice enough fellow. He was president of a company that sold printing supplies, and I was in the printing business. We were at a printers' convention in Los Angeles.
Printers are a strange lot: half their blood is ink and the other half alcohol. They've seen the world, know all about it — if you don't think so just ask one — and they don't like any of it. They are hard-bitten, but generally friendly and most have a sense of humor. It's from them I learned the phrase: "For the man who thinks, the world is comic; for the man who feels, it is tragic." Since most of them thought they were thinkers, but many were secretly concerned, it was an interesting tragicomic time.
Murray asked, "What is, it you guys print?" I had a copy of one of our booklets with me, so I handed it to him as a sample. The title was Why Were You Born? He glanced at the paper stock, size, printing quality, was pleasantly surprised that this was only one among dozens of booklets we print hundreds of thousands of — and then the title caught his eye. "May I have this?" he asked. "Of course," I said. "We give all our literature away free — it's a public service."
"Thanks!" he said with a grin. "I've' just got to have this. I've always wondered why I was born. I'm sure most people have the same question, but I never heard anybody ask anybody else. I'm' going to ask everybody here!" And with that he disappeared to confront the world of printer's devils.
Murray did ask nearly everyone there, "Why were you born?" Some gave a short laugh, turned to another customer, and dismissed good old Murray as having had one too many. Others paused to really consider: "I was born to make money!" Practical, cosmopolitan. "I was born to make a living, get married, have children and die." Pedestrian. "I was born to eat, drink and make merry, for tomorrow...." Evading the question. "Nobody knows why he was born, stupid. We're just here!" Belligerent, superior. "I was born to learn some lessons before I die, and maybe develop a little character." Getting warm, but too serious for a printer. "I was born to help make the world a better place to live in — and failed so far": bitter, somewhat cynical, sarcastic. "Ask a priest!": passing the buck. "Why, you unprintable, no good son of an expletive, if you don't know why the blank you were born why ask me?" Better move on, fight coming up!
Well, Murray had a ball that day, and like to have broken up the convention. Three months later I asked him if he ever had read that booklet. "No, not yet," he admitted, "but I still ask everyone the question when I get a chance — their answers kill me!"
I don't know if Murray has ever read the booklet yet, but why don't you? There is a very good answer — one you probably never heard before: fantastic, interesting and real.
And it's free — read it today.