There comes a time in everyone's life when one looks around, turns to one's faithful companion, and says, "Toto, something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore." In the case of Dorothy, she had gone from a world of black and white to one in vivid Technicolor. I'd call that a pretty big clue. Strange as it sounds, real life is a lot like a journey to the Land of Oz.
Most of us start out life in a standard environment, cradled in the protective arms of our parents. But, suddenly, after years of excited anticipation, we find ourselves independent. We break out of our childhood cocoon and spread our freshly grown wings.
However, somewhere in mid-flight of our maiden voyage, we begin to take stock of the situation. It is at this point that we realize that we are, indeed, not in Kansas anymore. In fact, Kansas is nowhere in sight. We have entered the realm of Oz.
As anyone might do when confronted with the unfamiliar, we look to our companions for explanation and guidance. The first people we meet, the Munchkins, are obviously clueless. Hey, you're the new one here, and you've already killed their evil witch, so you're way ahead of them. "Follow the yellow brick road," they say, "and go find the wizard. He's got all the answers." So, what do you do? You go to their supervisor, Glinda.
Glinda is a nice person, but not a big help. "Figure it out for yourself," she says, "and follow the yellow brick road." Gee, thanks. Kansas is looking better and better all the time.
So, you start following the yellow brick road (mostly to get away from the munchkins) and you eventually arrive at a fork in said road. Which way to go? Ask the guy who lives there, right? He, of course, turns out to be a brainless kluttz. Brainless kluttz now in tow, you pick a direction and continue. Along the way, you acquire a heartless fellow who requires mechanical maintenance and a big-talking gutless wonder. It's beginning to sound a lot more like real life, isn't it?
This is the classic case of the blind leading the blind. You are suddenly the leader, and you still don't have the slightest idea what is going on. With greatness thrust upon you, you carry on, doing the only thing you know to do. You follow the yellow brick road.
This would be simple enough to accomplish, except that, just like in real life, someone is trying to get what you've got. You don't have much. You've got a scroungy dog and a picnic basket with nothing in it but a few apples and an oilcan. Your only valuable possession is a pair of very cool shoes that won't come off anyway. You're not sure what they're worth, but Glinda told you to hang onto them. Since it was the only concrete piece of advice she was able to offer, you decide to go with it.
However, the shoes, like other valuable possessions, turn out to be the source of a major problem. Now you've got a wicked witch on your trail. You killed her sister and she wants those shoes. Worse, she's willing to kill to get them. You'd love to give them to her, but it might prevent you from getting back to Kansas, and besides, you have all these people you're responsible for. So, you follow the yellow brick road, only a lot faster.
At last you find the Emerald City. Ah, you sigh, now I can relax and let the wizard figure it all out. You have reached the Promised Land.
Wrong. The wizard first refuses to see you, then he sends you back out to kill the witch. You're irritated. You begin to wonder, if he's so great, how come he hasn't killed the witch already?
Sure enough, you kill the witch and come back to claim your prize. At this point, the wizard kind of shuffles his feet and says, "Gee, I didn't really think you'd manage it. I was just bluffing about the reward." Back to square one.
Just when you think you're going to have to look at purple horses for the rest of your life, Glinda shows back up. You ask, "Hey, what's the deal here? I followed the road. I took care of all these morons. I killed the witch. What's in it for me? I want to go back to Kansas."
Glinda, who isn't really all that nice once you think about it, says, "Oh, by the way, you could have gone back to Kansas all the time." Your friends grab your arms so you can't strangle Glinda and end up in Oz prison. "You wouldn't have believed me!" she continues, "You had to find out for yourself!"
Yeah, right. But you killed the witch for them, which made you a big hero, and, at last, you get back to Kansas. You take to your bed, curl yourself into a fetal ball, and vow never to get up again except for bodily necessities.
Meanwhile, around your bed, people begin to gather. And they look an awful lot like the morons you ditched when you left Oz...
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