To Those Who Dig

A young man frightened his friend when he started to dig. He was convinced he had been blessed with a vision by God, directing him to the location of a ancient treasure chest. He set out to the hills in the early morning and did not return until the late evening. At the end of the first day, he did not find his treasure. His friend scoffed When the young man returned, but was relieved to see him back.

On the second day, the young man dug an additional 8 feet down. His friend was disappointed that he was still stuck on the vision, and asked when they would be able to hang out again. The young man informed his friend that he would not cease until he found his treasure. At the end of the second day, the young man did not find his treasure.

As the young man dug deeper he ran into a problem – the depth of the hole was too great to efficiently transfer dirt and rubble to the surface. The young man set into town to borrow a machine. At the end of the first month, the young man still had not located his treasure.

It was not enough to simply borrow the machine, the young man would discover. Operational challenges impeded his progress. The young man requested operational manuals which he studied in the library. At the end of the first year, he had not found his treasure.

The dig site had become something of intrigue to the rest of the town. While his friend went off and got married, the young man had somehow managed to dig a site with enough acreage that the town’s own mayor came out just to believe it with his own eyes. The mayor informed the young man that the location was perfect for the town’s new amusement park, and the young man’s knowledge of machinery would serve him well as the lead technician. The young man agreed, as long as he was permitted to dig further onward for his treasure. At the end of 5 years, the man still had not found his treasure.

He continued to dig relentlessly, even inventing new machines to assist him in unique challenges. He began filing patents and selling his own inventions to government contracted paleontology organizations. He had grown distant from his friend as the years rolled on, but knew he had children of his own, along a mortgage and lawn that put the other Johnsons to shame. Ten years passed and the man had not found his treasure.

In the twelth year, four months, and three days, the man found something – it was not gold, but it was black as death and runny as syrup. The man had struck oil in a location that he had purchased for pennies. He had never drilled for oil before, but was grateful to discover he was more than prepared to lead a team and purchase the right equipment. His oil business boomed – and soon he had sites throughout North American and even Venezuela. After 15 years, however, the man still had not discovered his treasure.

20 years went by when the man’s friend spontaneously decided to pay him a visit. He himself had fallen on some difficult times. Infidelity had led to the dissolution of his marriage, and that event had its own destructive role in his work performance. He never understood why he had cheated on the woman he had promised his heart, but also knew he his desire to cheat had been suppressed for far too long to write it off as a spontaneous act.

The friend was astonished to learn the man he grew up with now owned the largest skyscraper in all of New York, and the journey to his office would include 3 flights of stairs, 80 stories of elevators, and 3 separate ID checks. But when he entered his office, he saw something that made him forget all the other extravagant sites.

Smack on the desk, in between the friend and the man, was an unmistakable treasure chest – just like in the stories. It had already been pried open and featured gemstones, gold, and rubies. The friend dropped into the seat and placed his hat onto his knee.

“You found it,” he said, shaking his head.

The man nodded and grinned.

“Was it at the same site? You know, right where your vision told you it would be?”

“Oh, no,” said the man. “It was discovered in South America. We were excavating a new drilling site then rammed right into it.”

His friend was silent momentarily, then scoffed. “Jesus. You really had my heart racing there for a second.”

“Why?” said the man.

“Well, I suppose if it was at the site from your dream, that would have meant your vision was real. I suppose I would have to rethink some of my own beliefs. No offense, but I mean, I read the news – you’ve drilled all over the world. It only makes sense you finally found something, it was really just a matter of time. “

The man smiled.

“What are you going to buy with it?” Asked the friend.

“Hmm,” The man said. “I don’t know. I never really thought about that.”

His friend stood sharply and his hat fell to the floor. He grazed his fingers over the gold and jewels and gazed into the sunlight bouncing off the gems.

“Never thought about it! What the hell were you thinking about all that time?” He shouted.

The man plucked one the gold coins from the pile and flipped it into the neurotic grasp of his friend.

“I don’t really know,” said the man, “I guess I was just thinking about how to find it.”

The man turned his gaze to the window and down to the congested streets 80 stories below him. He sighed.

After 20 painstaking, backbreaking years, the legendary man still, had not found, his treasure.

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