The next day there was yet another self-absorbed dissertation by Boynton about his brilliance on how he out-smarted investigators and other savvy investment experts. To Emerson it seemed clear he had little remorse, but viewed his professorship as a way to earn an early release from prison.
“Recall yesterday,” Boynton said. “You were to remove one item from a burning house. Mr. Emerson refused to participate, although he might challenge my conclusion. Today, now that you have had time to consider other possibilities, what item did you not take that you wished you would have taken? Write it down immediately, sign it, and pass it forward.”
Boynton collected all the papers and as he did the previous day read them to the class. And as in the previous day he sat Emerson’s paper aside and finished the list some of which were quite humorous and elicited some laughter from Boynton and the class.
After completing he held Emerson’s signed paper again to the class. “Blank!” Boynton said. “The man has nothing worth retrieving. What say you, Emerson?”
“Sir, I know you think it impertinent of me,” Emerson said. “But I truly could not come up with anything and as I speak right now nothing comes to mind.”
“Think, Emerson!” Boynton said. “There must be something that you might even remotely wished you would have saved.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” Emerson said. “I know this is frustrating to you, but there is nothing I would risk my life for to retrieve from a burning house.”
“Don’t you place value on anything?” Boynton said.
“I supposes I do, sir,” Emerson said. “But I can’t imagine running from a house with anything, but my life and never regretting that I didn’t stop to take something else with me.”
“Yesterday you said I had sold my soul to return to that burning house,” Boynton said. “Is that so?”
“I’m sorry for saying that, sir,” Emerson said. “I was rash.”
“Than we do make rash judgments in the heat of the moment, right, Mr. Emerson?” Boynton said.
“Yes, sir,” Emerson said. “We all have possessions and a house on fire that we are willing to run headlong into whether physical or just a trait. I suppose mine is speaking thoughtlessly.”
“Ethics and character are pure,” Boynton said. “They know no bounds. Ethics and character can be challenged by things or thoughts. Thoughts become things. Do not allow your thoughts to become things nor your things to become thoughts. Because of things your thoughts can become perverse and twisted. Mr. Emerson is on the right track. Everyone has displayed a weakness; what would you risk your life for and what do you regret not risking your life for. Many think I‘m not worthy to teach this class, but I do know the harm I‘ve caused and I will never run into a burning house for anything, nor will I speak without purpose.”
Boynton went on to relate what was at the root of his scandalous life. “Greed, greed for things, power, prestige, and wealth. You think those things will make you better and purer than others. They corrupt.”
After the lecture Emerson approached Boynton.
“What have you learned, Mr. Emerson?” Boynton said.
“Everyone has a burning house and things they are willing to run back inside to save,” Emerson said.
“Ethics and character are no more than the Golden Rule,” Boynton said. “Treat others the way you want to be treated and think in the same way. Protect your thoughts, young Emerson. Now there’s something worth running into a burning house for.”
“I think I have misjudged you,” Emerson said. “Along with many others.”
“Sometimes we run into our ideas and beliefs with all the conviction of saving something precious only to find we become singed or in my case severely charred,” Boynton chuckled.
“Thank you, sir,” Emerson said.
“Be decent, kind, honest and thoughtful in all things, Mr. Emerson.”
Other Daily Prompts
- It’s wonderful world | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
- Ethical Professor Boynton; Part 2 (Nothing to do with today’s Daily Prompt.) | The Jittery Goat
- Water | thoughtsofrkh
- Daily Prompt: SOS | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
- Drown | 365 days of defiance
- Water – Daily Prompt | Linda Long Writes!
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Thoughts of an INFP
- A Summer Invitation | Pairings :: Art + What Goes With It
- S. Thomas Summers: Writing with some Ink and a Hammer | Bit by Bit by Bit: Fiction Writers, Please Lend an Opinion
- Water | The Land Slide Photography
- DP Daily Prompt: SOS | Sabethville
- Bound to the Shore | Exploratorius
- Daily Prompt: SOS | The Daily Post | L5GN
- (Daily Prompt: SOS) Message in A Bottle | Step It Up
- Perchance to Dream | The Zombies Ate My Brains
- Emergency Measures | The Dragon Weyr
- TAKE A MOMENT TO ENVY ME | Standing Ovation, Seated
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Tommia’s Tablet
- “A hundred billion bottles” | Hope* the happy hugger
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
- it will flow | peacefulblessedstar
- daily prompt: SOS | aimanss…
- Water… | Ana Linden
- Call Me, Vogue! | Haiku By Ku
- SOS: A Watery Pic | Khana’s Web
- Daily Prompt: SOS | | Photography, Pain & Life
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Finding Life
- Bean-O | Charron’s Chatter
- Ashes To Earth: May you Rest Peacefully in the Water « psychologistmimi
- Three Layers Of Water | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Basically Beyond Basic
- S.O.S. | Home’s Cool!
- Fate | Buzzy Beez
- Daily Prompt: SOS/Water | Wordz on a Page
- Daily prompt: SOS | laura-in-china
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Iwannabealady
- Nisqually – A Short Story | Kilbo – Chris Kilbourn
- SOS | Passionately Bored
- Message in a Bottle: Eulogy for Joshua and Star – Daily Prompt | Write now?
- Get Me Some Water | Just Visiting This Planet
- DP: Water | As I See It
- Ice Cream | amarllyis
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Life is great
- A message from the universe. | Tales of a slightly stressed Mother!
- Mesajul din sticlă | Mort La Datorie
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Incidents of a Dysfunctional Spraffer
- Like Water | Wanderlein
- Sending Out an SOS | A Sober Head Full Of Confusion
- SOS « One Crazy Mom
- Beacon of Hope | LenzExperiments
- Marina Bay Sands water show | Mishe en Place
- Daily Prompt: Being Mythical! | All Things Cute and Beautiful
- Schrodinger’s Bottle | djgarcia94
- SOS Water | The Nameless One
- The Giant Wakes Up – Daily Prompt – SOS | Views Splash!
- Bottled Up | Rob’s Surf Report
- The Ole Rum Bottle | The Shotgun Girls
- Daily prompt: SOS | The Wandering Poet
- Relaxing on the Beach | theauthorwhoknows
- Message in a Bottle | The Diary of a Lippy Chic
- SOS – Did You Get The Message? | Deliberating Dave
- Weary Dreams of Poe and a Bottle in the Sand | meanderedwanderings
- Daily Prompt: Water | Karen Gadient
- Message in a bottle | Mindful Digressions
- Message in a bottle. | The Word Trance
- Listen to the Sea | The Silver Leaf Journal
- JUST BREATH | hastywords
- If You’re Reading This… | My Author-itis
- Wahine Wednesdays
- Footprints In a The Sand… | Steve Says….
- Daily Prompt: Water & Senior Portraits | Daily Prompt & Blogging Progress
- Daily Prompt: SOS | Occasional Stuff
- One Starving Activist
- Ocean – Illustration | Dina’s Illustrations
- S.O.S | Writing and Works
- WATER WATER EVERYWHERE | Serendipity
- Within my Reach | Daily Observations
- Captain Nemo’s “Message In A Bottle.” | The Political and Social Chaos Blog