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THE STEM CELL

    Once a stem cell was asked to make a choice.
    It was handed the standard questionnaire and told to weigh all of the options thoroughly. The stem cell read each question with care before answering because it knew how important its responses might turn out to be. Although the questionnaire was long, the stem cell worked through it diligently, and with a strong degree of confidence in its decisions. Until, that is, it came to the question about what it wanted to become.
    It wasn’t the question itself that caused some hesitation about answering. Rather, it was the three choices given:   
        a) Head of an oil company
        b) Head of a sports franchise
        c) Head of a country
    “Seems like the same thing three times,” the stem cell thought. It had assumed the possibilities would be broader. It had given this matter a lot of reflection in the past and had imagined the difficulty would come in selecting which among myriad different futures held the most promise. 
    In truth, the stem cell had been so enthusiastic about the variety of opportunities presumably before it that the thought of being restricted to one and only one had been its principal concern. Discoverer of a cure for every disease, bringer of peace to all nations, feeder of the world’s starving, tireless campaigner for equality, champion of the poor and  those who suffer in hardship, protector of the future of the planet itself—who could pick one over any of the others?
    What it now understood to be a far more restricted choice would take further pondering, the stem cell realized. The distinctions between being head of oil company, a sports franchise, and a country ought to be obvious, but then again, perhaps there were more subtle differences the stem cell couldn’t see.
    It clearly needed more time to determine whether any real differences did exist or whether the head of an oil company, a sports franchise, and a country might end up being impossible to tell apart. Worse, suppose the stem cell selected one and then failed to make anything of the opportunity. Would that mean it was likely to make a hash of the other two as well?	 
    Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to give these concerns the attention they deserved. Here was this questionnaire demanding to be completed, with only this final, vexing choice to be made. The stem cell agonized and agonized, still deeply troubled by the narrowness of its three options and sighing,
    “ What ever happened to ‘None of the above’?”