The Stories Left Behind

If you're trying to launder money, running a laundromat is a great way to do so. They're typically cash-only businesses, and cash, of course, is easy to move around without a trail.

But the government has the authority to reconstrunct records of your income if yours are insufficient. And by measuring your water consumption and analyzing it against the efficiency of your machines, auditors can capture a financial snapshot of your laundromat.

An archaeologist examining the ancient remains of a man might be able to piece together a narrative of his life using clues like how he was buried, his age, and the bite marks on his rib cage.

And the woman buying marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate at the supermarket? She has a different story than the person who only came for tissues and cough drops.

When you start to see that the world is comprised of stories – and that we are constantly leaving ours behind – our role in the larger order comes further into focus.

Walt Whitman understood this when he wrote the poem "O Me! O Life!":

That you are hereβ€”that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

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