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THE GLUTTON FOR LIFE

    Once a glutton for life dreamed of swallowing the whole world.
    So great was its appetite for everything the world had on offer, the glutton was loath for any of it to remain as leftovers after the feast. If you weren’t prepared to swallow all of life at a single go, it murmured to itself in the dream, what was the point of being alive? In the few years you’re given on this earth, how much of it could you take in? And yet how much you must try to! 
    Gulp down the world without losing the taste for any of it. The sweet with the sour, the succulent with the dry as dust, every allure to the senses or the imagination, nothing that proved the glutton was alive should escape its ravenous appetite. To allow such a thing to happen would amount to denying a part of itself. And if the slightest part of it was denied, if any of it failed to be accepted in full, welcomed even, then life with a capital “L” was incomplete in some small measure. And who would be such a fool as to claim Life fell short of its own fullness ever?
    From the microscopic to the immense, nothing lay outside the glutton’s dream. The only worry was that it might awaken before it had finished savoring the whole world. If that happened, where would it be? What would it be? A pitiful excuse for a glutton, that’s what. To have the chance of stuffing oneself as full of life as possible, to gorge oneself on all it offered, and then to have missed out on the slightest morsel, what a failing towards oneself and towards life!
    From the depths of this uneasiness gradually arose a new one. At first it was no more than a suggestion of a doubt, the type of shapeless apprehension that calls attention to itself only by its nebulous swirl of shadow within shadow. But eventually the shadows gave way and in their place came a challenge that seized hold of the glutton’s dream and in no time reduced it to idle fantasy. 
    How naïve the glutton had been and how shallow its dream. How could ambition be so shortsighted? For in order to swallow the whole world, would swallowing all of life be enough? The dark mystery that had puzzled the glutton revealed itself to be no mystery at all: to swallow the life of the world required swallowing death as well. Death in life, life in death, neither one unmixed with the other. After its initial discomfort at this recognition of the double hunger demanded for absolute satiety, the glutton had to admit the challenge couldn’t have been otherwise.  
    All or nothing? All or nothing? Trust in the summoning depths of the dream or suffer the consequences of its fading away as you awoke to gnawing regret at the failure to measure up to your own appetites? Caught between desire and that regret, the time to act was now or never. To stretch your jaws wide as wide could be and gobble all until the sweat stood out on your brow—
    “Well then,” the glutton thought with a mouth opened to the full, “here goes!”