Teacup Story – a story short enough to fit into a teacup
Unique – (Rating: PG, Genre: General) – Mortality was something that Tez had become used to as he aged. People forgot you, people ignored you, you were invisible to the world because they simply didn’t care.
Tez’s thin, stiff fingers hovered over the painting. The skin was warped, tightening around the bones as it lost the elasticity that came with youth. His fingers creaked, bones scraping against one another as they drifted down the canvus, never touching the intricate brushstrokes of the work but close enough to follow the contours of the paint.
He wasn’t supposed to be this close to the paintings, but then who would think someone would break into a gallery at night to never steal a painting? Who would even think that the supposed ‘Paint Thief’ was a wheezing old man, whose body was slowly failing him even though his mind was as sharp as it had ever been?
Mortality was something that Tez had become used to as he aged. People forgot you, people ignored you, you were invisible to the world because they simply didn’t care. No, they were wrapped up in their own world, their technology and their telephones which beamed information straight into their minds. Tez could still remember when the first Iphone had been released, when he had been a mere boy.
He had been no more than six years old, determined to discover the whole world. Every day was an adventure for him, back then when his legs could still propel him across the room with the kind of speed only a young child can manage to produce. He had been running around the lounge for the afternoon, chasing an invisible baddie, when his mother had returned home with a gleaming new iphone she had bought. It had seemed wondrous, back then, and 6 year old Tez had been fascinated for days playing with it.
Now, there was an Apple exhibit down the hallway called ‘Old technology and its developments to the I-mplant.
That was the problem with the current age, Tez considered, was that humanity had lost some of its human. It was a world ruled by screens, robots and buttons, not as some kind of technological achievement but as an integral part of everyday existence. You had to have an I-mplant if you wanted to work, a small chip that downloaded your phone and email information straight to your brain.
It was as if the world had turned into a machine which made everyone the same.
Tez moved to the next painting, a landscape of the world in 2014. It had been a different place, back then, when cars were still glued to the ground and space was still considered as something mysterious and wondrous, not a place you could commute to work.
This one was his favourite painting. Not because of the painter, now famed throughout the world, but because of what it captured. It was a sentiment of a lost world, a humanity forgotten.
Tez squinted at the text next the picture. He knew it by heart, after all he read it every night before leaving the museum, slipping away into the night.
When a painting is considered unique, it is considered to be one of a kind. Maybe it is the only painting by a famous artist, lauded for the way the brushstrokes have built up a picture like no other before it. It will be examined, debated , discussed over dinner and on the news. People will ask others at the bus stop if they have heard of The Painting, forgers will be trying to sell replicas for double the price, postcards will be made in The Painting’s image.
It will be celebrated. Celebrated for being different.
Why is it the case, therefore, that such logic does not apply to humanity? After all, humans are far more capable than paintings. Whilst paintings are static, conveying one set of ideas, a human can convey hundreds of thousands of ideas in a lifetime. Humans can create, mould, and nurture. They can conquer the Earth which gave them life and then look to the stars to stretch out their touch into the galaxies that lie beyond Earth. They can create cultures, rich and diverse, they sing and dance in different songs, in different tongues, and at different times.
The most important thing is that humanity sings and dances. Humanity celebrates, and even though those celebrations take on different forms from each other, each one is as valid as the last. The differences between humans, whether they be by culture or size or tongue, are far richer than the difference in the brushstrokes of a painting. They should be celebrated, not scorned, as only with celebration can the idea of uniqueness be fully understood as something beautiful and precious.
A commentary, by the painter, to explain her picture. It had surprised Tez, on his first visit to the museum during the day that such blatant Original Thought was allowed on show. But then the curators considered it a comment on the past, on how the world had been before humanity had developed to the technological heights it had achieved today.
Tez knew different. It was a lost world, something he wanted to recapture before he went back outside to the world of robots and screens, a world that had forgotten him, and had forgotten its past.
It gave him hope that humanity might find itself once again, that there was something unique about everyone which no technology or robots could erode away.