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THE DRAGONFLY

    Once an ophthalmologist had some good news and some bad news for a dragonfly.
    “Which do you want first?” the doctor asked, noting a look of apprehension cross the dragonfly’s face.
    “Give me the bad news first, I guess,” the dragonfly answered after an awkward pause spent trying to decide whether it would be better to accept the worst as inevitable or to hold out hope for an end finally to the splitting headaches that had plagued it for so long.
    “Well, the bad news is the headaches you complain of are indeed brought on by your eyes.”
    So it was true, the dragonfly sighed to itself. These countless facets, keen to every turn of light and every motion, from a dawdling mayfly to a diving sparrow, these windows thrown open to life and all the longing glances life casts on itself, was there no escape from the strain of taking it all in, of marking every fascination the planet held?
    “The good news is we can do something about that.”
    Then there was hope! A way to take in the wonders of each moment, not reduced to one or two or three dimensions but revolving through turn after turn of perception while still not exhausting reality and yet, and yet, be spared the pain of discovering again and again a single dragonfly cannot see everything there is to see under the sun, no matter how it strives to.
    “You can?”
    “Yes, but the surgical procedure entails risks and potential costs.”
    “Risks and costs?”
    “The risks are you may go blind, though that happens very rarely.”
    The dragonfly again took a long time considering this statement, particularly what the “very” in “very rarely” might mean, before asking, “And the costs?”
    “If the procedure is successful, you’ll leave with your head in bandages, but after a while those will come off and the pain will be gone.”
    “Completely?”
    “In most cases, that’s been the final result. With two new eyes, much smaller and relocated down to the front of your head, the visual overload you’ve experienced will be nearly eliminated. Instead of having to deal with the full sweep of the world, you’ll only need to concern yourself with that narrow slice of it directly in front of you, ignoring the rest. Plus, with a pair of eyelids now, you’ll always be able to close out entirely whatever you don’t wish to see, even if it does happen to be directly in front of you.”
    The dragonfly considered the thousands of little doctors floating before it in the examination room and tried to imagine what seeing only one would be like. With its multifold angles of vision suddenly cut down to a single focus, how much could it really take in of the spellbinding bounty that surrounded it on all sides?
    Observing the dragonfly’s renewed hesitation, the ophthalmologist said by way of encouragement, “Seems like a reasonable price to pay for an end to these headaches of yours.”
    The dragonfly eyed all the little doctors and couldn’t decide which one it would be willing to settle for as the sole view left of its world. 
    “No offense intended,” it replied as it put its wings in motion and headed for each of the myriad doors out of the room, “but I think I’ll just put up with the pain a little longer.”