Feeling thirsty, I popped in to the local shop for a soft drink.
It’s an old fashioned establishment, where you still ask for the product you want rather than just pick it up and take it to the counter. So I asked old Costas for a Coca Cola.
Costas ran outside after excusing himself.
Through the back door of the shop I could see he was doing the usual: filling an exquisite porcelain jug with water from a clear spring which trickled out of the rocks, plucking and mincing numerous herbs, both sweet and bitter, then mixing them into the spring water along with wild honey from a nearby hive. After adding juice and minced rind from a freshly picked lime, a cinnamon stick and ice made from the same spring water he came back to the shop and placed my drink on the counter.
It was, needless to say, delicious and refreshing beyond description.
I offered to pay, as usual, and, as usual, Costas said that there would be no charge since I had not requested premium ingredients, such as thyme honey or freshly plucked saffron from the crocuses about the yard.
As I stepped out of the shop it occurred to me that I did not know much of what was going on in the world at that time. So I returned to the counter and asked Costas if he could sell me something for that particular need.
Costas produced something called a newspaper. He told me that, not only did it contain all I needed to know of what was going on about the world, but it even graded the importance of everything both by the ordering of the reports and the size of the titles above them.
He sold me the newspaper for what I can only describe as a pittance, even indicating that one could read the same at a local library or cafe for free.
What a wonder! In my hand were all the important events and people and ideas of the day. There were even prominent guides on what opinions might be held and what conclusions might be drawn from the reportage.
I held not just a bundle of folded paper. It was the world I was holding. And all for a pittance.
I know there are many people inclined to doubt that such a boon can be had for such a tiny price and without conditions.
But those would be the same people who doubt that Costas sold me that marvelous and healthful jug of Coca Cola. They might claim that all I would be likely to get in those circumstances would be a can of pernicious muck not worth a fraction of the price paid.
In fact, one unpleasant fellow I sat next to on the bus tried to tell me that everything in my newspaper is either a deception, a manipulation, a conditioning, a provocation, a distraction or an advertisement. Everything!
This unfortunate soul was living without belief. Sure enough, when I told him about Costas and the Coca Cola he did not believe that either.