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There once was a hardworking plumber. A workaholic, devoted to his family. He was not only eager to make ends meet, but madly driven to keep his princess happy.

Until his routine was disrupted...

See on more than one occasion this poor plumber bumped his head. For he was always working in tight spaces, in and around pipes of all sizes and his only form of "protection," was a blue and red baseball cap.

Some will blame the mushrooms he constantly ate and others will point to the endless concussions he acquired. But his true unhinging began when he lost his princess.

For in his mind, this plumber began to travel. He traversed through pipes to new worlds and battled prehistoric monsters. He was still working for his princess, it was all in the name of the princess.

But everywhere he went, she was nowhere to be found. In place of her there was always a note. And the message was always the same, the same as the one he had discovered the first time she had left.

"Our princess is in another castle."

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School taught me to hate group projects. Most of the time, one or two of us did all the work, while the rest sat back and profited. On the rare occasion we were able to choose our own groups, contribution and productivity increased. Although, "Dead-weights" still occurred, as the teacher tossed the "uninvited" into a group.

At least in the situations where we chose our own groups, we were happier with the distribution of work. Those who didn't contribute were in the minority, the burden of "pulling their weight" was reduced. Besides, it was easier to ignore the "slackers" and do all the work, than to try and teach or force them to contribute. With more equal contribution, we learned the value of delegation and communication and we learned how to utilize our strengths and weaknesses to come together as a group.

Although I lack any recollection of the lesson themselves, I'll never forget the lesson of working in a group. Some work harder, some work smarter, some are more cunning and some are simply adept. There are places for all skills, but not all skills are considered equal. Groups worked best when we could build our own and even then, that in itself is a skill not all are capable of doing. There is also corruption involved, when those who are in charge of building the group are willing to ignore talent, in favor of familiarity. There are those who build groups to succeed, and those who build them to be surrounded by their friends and family.

But it's not always "corruption" to choose familiarity over talent. If we were traveling in dangerous situations, ones which called for survival, we would want the most talented. But as such things are rare and most traveling is for vacation, we often choose the most comfortable and entertaining people. Again, the important part is that the power is left in our own hands and we are able to choose our own groups.

So please, tell me how any system is going to work, when it calls for mandated groups and equal distribution of rewards, while ignoring contributions and talent?

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"Bottles, like the coffins they deliver, come in all shapes and sizes. It's the promise of death, that alcoholics are after. The marketing ploys of sex and wealth, fun and adventure, those are for the tourist. Alcoholics don't need to be sold, they aren't buying into those "sweeteners." An alcoholics idea of romance can be found in the final scene of Romeo and Juliet. When Romeo is all too eager to drink the poison and join his "deceased" lover. Follow by the honest scene where Juliet awakes, finding her departed and an empty bottle. That is what alcoholics leave behind, empty bottles.

A bottle emptied of poison, in exchange for a coffin, to be filled with the poisoned." Happy Sober October. Fleshing out some thoughts, trying to work Bottles and Coffins. I don't know what I'm going to do with this yet. There's a always a story to be told. In the process of working one story, another one swept up my attention. The art of telling the story is understanding that stortellers start and feed the fire, while the elements keep it going. There's something magical that happens when a story comes alive and takes on a life of it's own. It's my favorite place to be, when reading or telling a story. Hopefully I can do my duty and allow others to experience it.

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