It was Manuel’s first ride-out day at Spirit Hall Ten. The previous few months had been spent in the college classroom; but now he was going to have the opportunity to experience the practical side of saving lives. A banner just inside the entrance to Spirit Hall Ten read: “Humbly Deflating Egos Since 1882.” His preceptor, Michael, greeted him at the door and introduced him to his partner “Buster” (as he was affectionately called) and his colleagues who would be using the second rig at the hall. “My boots haven’t looked that shiny since–never,” quipped Michael with a smile as he pointed to Manuel’s footwear. Manuel blushed; he had wanted to make a good first impression.
After all of the gear had been checked on the rigs, the crews of Spirit Hall Ten retired to the crew room. A few poured cups of coffee; others began to make a light breakfast. Within minutes, the emergency tones blared, and a dispatcher’s voice said: “Respond for a 99 slash 1. Repeat, 99 slash 1. More details on the air.” The other crew, who was first up, stopped what they were doing and smartly headed out to their rig.
“Your turn will come,” said Buster, noticing the glimmer in Manuel’s eyes.
“What’s a 99 slash 1?” asked Manuel.
“Your teachers haven’t taught you that yet?” asked Buster
“Nope,” said Manuel. “Dispatch codes aren’t until next semester.”
“A 99/1 is one of the most dangerous calls in the book. It’s when the body-mind, aka person, is extremely out of balance–99% human, with only 1% recall of Spirit.”
“That sounds bad,” said Manuel.
“It is,” said Buster. “Balance is key. Most persons forget to nurture the Spirit.”
“Have you ever gone to a 100/0?”
Oh, here we go, thought Michael, with a soft wince. He sat down on the couch; for he knew the direction that the conversation was headed.
“You might want to pull up a chair, ” said Buster. “I remember it like it was…yesterday.”
(Insert flashback scene lighting and music here):
“What do we have?” asked Buster as he approached the police officer on scene.
“It doesn’t sound good,” said the officer. He tipped back his hat. “I’ve already talked to the family members. It seems the patient’s been using ‘I, Me, My, and Mine’ excessively for the last few weeks. There was nothing they could do to stop him.”
“You had a look at him yet?”
“Only through the living room window,” said the officer. “I know this is your field of expertise.”
Buster hustled back to the rig to get his equipment. Michael and he knew they had to follow the book on this call. Only one of them would be allowed to attend. It was too dangerous to place both of them at risk. When he returned a few minutes later, he was carrying a kit of Deflato SyringesTM and a ten-foot extension pole with a pin attached at the end. He had donned his protective chest shield, helmet, boots, and gloves. He was about to turn toward the residence, when the officer called, “Just so you know, he’s bloated…real bad.”
It took a belly crawl, a dash this way, and a scoot that way for Buster to make his way close to the patient. He tip-toed the last few steps into the dim-lighted living room. The air was filled with the unmistakable putrid stench of ego. The patient appeared unconsciousness; his respirations irregular and shallow. He was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “It’s All About Me” His entire body was bloated like an overinflated balloon.
Years of experience told Buster that the situation was beyond the use of syringes. The patient was so full of himself that only the pole and pin would do. If he could just deflate that ego a…little…at…a…time. Inching closer, chin tucked toward his chest, he was about to apply the pin, when the patient suddenly exploded: BAA-BOOMMM! Windows shattered, floor boards up heaved, and Buster was catapulted across the room. When he gathered his senses, all that Buster could see were signs of ego splattered everywhere. Pride was stuck to the ceiling; ignorance and arrogance covered the walls; the glop of lust, fear, envy, jealousy, greed, anger, and hatred were dripping from the furniture. There was nothing he could do.
“You okay?” called Michael. “You okay?”
“Uh, huh,” said Buster, obviously shaken by the traumatic memory of the call. He took a deep breath and blinked. Everything was fine; they were safe and sound at Spirit Hall Ten.
Manuel looked pale, indeed. “You know,” he said to Buster, “my mom always wanted me to be an accountant. I’ve always been good with numbers. I think I’ll serve humanity that way.” And with that, he got up, grabbed his books, and exited Spirit Hall Ten without looking back.
We’ll conclude this article with a quote from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, borrowed from I Am That: “The real doesn’t die; the unreal never lived.” You’re Spirit, folks–now and forever.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2021 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏