The Mediocre Man and the Box Dwellers: A Short Story

The Model of Mediocrity and the Box Dwellers

A Parable

There once was a man who wanted to be a leader. He attained a leadership job but found it very hard. People wouldn’t follow. You see, the man was mediocre in every way. In fact, he was the “Model of Mediocrity.” So he had to find a way to get followers.

The man decided that he would stay in his teeny, tiny little box at work and at home forever. He loved his box!! It was warm, safe, and protected from the outside world. Person by person, he invited people into his box with promises of grandeur, protection and warmth. Little by little, the sycophants, the outsiders, the weak, the scared and the “yes” men joined his teeny tiny little box. The teeny safe little box was getting fuller and fuller.

The Model of Mediocrity was so happy!! Yes, there were those who wouldn’t join the rest in his teeny tiny little box, but the man trained his Box Dwellers to ignore them, marginalize them and mock them. It was working so well, well enough that the Man and the Box Dwellers were able to ignore the outside world: the falling numbers and failing bottom line. It was worse every year. The Model of Mediocrity knew these things, but promised the Box Dwellers that he would keep them all safe from harm as long as he was in charge of the teeny, tiny little box.

But then a person from the big scary Outside World came knocking on the box. This person wanted to help the Box Dwellers get smarter, stronger, more like their colleagues in the outside world. The Model of Mediocrity went out to chase the Outside World person away, but immediately failed. So he then told his Box Dwellers that this scary Outside World person wanted to destroy the box. Wanted to smash that box into tiny smithereens and harm every single Box Dweller. They were scared. And then they were mad so they came up with a plan.

The Model of Mediocrity armed them. He armed them with muskets, swords, cannons and lies. He sent them charging out against the Outside World person and all those people who wouldn’t get in the box over the years. They charged and they charged: some were harmed, some might die. All while the Model of Mediocrity planned and plotted, safe from harm, hiding in his teeny, tiny box.

Time passed and the Box Dwellers fell off one by one. Some passed away. Some were injured. Others left due to age and weariness. Some actually found that the scary Outside World person was nice and kind and only wanted to help the Box Dwellers escape the box that the Model of Mediocrity had coaxed them into. Finally, the Model of Mediocrity found himself with a mostly empty box. He was scared. He felt alone. He knew that his Mediocrity was no longer valued, and he thought of ways to move on. He finally did, dragging his teeny, tiny little box with him to the next adventure.


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