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The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Working

Dear Ann Landers: Americans have placed too much importance on material wealth and “getting somewhere,” and it is taking its toll on relationships. Something has to give. I wrote a little fairy tale about this subject, based on my own life. Maybe your readers will enjoy it.

Once upon a time, there was a bright young man who decided to become rich and successful. So he studied very hard in college, got an M.B.A., and went to work in a prestigious firm.

Since most successful businessmen in the land had beautiful wives, he went out and got himself one. He bought his “Christina” a lovely home in the suburbs. In return for beautiful clothes and elegant jewels, she was a dutiful wife who devoted herself to their children. She never saw much of her rich, successful husband who worked long hours and stayed out late at night, sharing wine and expensive meals with potential clients in order to cultivate good connections. There were rumors that he was seen dining with attractive women in the business world.

Meanwhile, Christina was growing more lonely and disconnected. One day, after looking at the emptiness of her life, she decided to go back to college and have a career. After watching her husband, she knew she didn’t want to be rich and successful. She was hungry for something much deeper and more meaningful.

Something in Christina awakened as she gained new knowledge. And lo and behold, one day in class, her eyes locked with those of a handsome man who was also looking for something that would give more meaning to his life. He was tired of the demands of the business world, and like our heroine, he wanted something deeper.

After a year of contemplation, Christina divorced her husband (who to this day remains baffled but busy) and married the nice man in her class. He became a good stepfather to her children, who were delighted to have a man to spend time with, and he always came home from work in time for a family dinner. They weren’t rich, but they lived happily every after. The End. —A Faithful Reader in Michigan

Dear Michigan: That’s no fairy tale, honey, it’s art imitating life.

Spokesman Review, July 3, 1993, p. E2