Once, a man built a machine that could answer any question. A glass booth housed an animatronic figure. People came from miles around to ask if they should get married or what career path to follow.
Of course, such a machine became quite popular, and the line to use it grew profoundly long. People came with chairs, with blankets, with food.
Peter came one June, burdened with everything he needed. The woman in front of him asked what about his question, but he would not tell her. It was too personal. That night it rained, and she shared her umbrella with him. And she showed him pictures of her children. She told him her question, which was also very personal. On the third day he said, “My mother is old and suffering. She wants me to give her something so she slips away in her sleep, but I don’t know…”
The woman said, “We went through that with my father,” and they talked about it for hours.
When Peter’s turn came he dropped his quarter and the machine lit up. “What do you wish to ask?”
“You know, I had a question, but I don’t really need to ask any more.”
“I see,” droned the machine. “Much shadow surrounds this.”
“Might as well ask where to get a good reuben.”
“The spirits are speaking to me now…”
“Does anyone ever need to ask you what they intended?”
“The spirits say the beginning of wisdom is to desire it.”