“Four bricks hide behind my tool shed. The shed sits on the edge of the woods so leaves hide the bricks. If you weren’t looking, you wouldn’t notice them: just a few bricks settling into moist, black soil under brown oak leaves.
If I picked up one of those bricks, brushed the leaves off it, and asked it what it is doing, I wonder what it would say. I know that bricks can’t talk. Bear with me for the sake of the thing. A brick disconnected from any building, lying behind my tool shed, how would it explain itself?
It might be a little defensive. Can’t you just hear the brick bristling when asked why it is not in a building?
“Look, I am a brick! I assure you that I am a brick. Are you implying that I am not a brick?”
I would probe gently. “No, I’m just wondering why you aren’t part of one sort of building or another? Just curious.”
The defense would continue. “Look, I don’t have to be in a building in order to be a brick. I can be a brick all on my own.”
Then again, maybe it wouldn’t be a defensive brick. It might be a “friendly, procrastinating” brick: agreeable and well-intentioned.
It would say, “I know what you are thinking and you are right. I do need to find a good building. I just haven’t gotten around to it. I mean there was a time when I was in a building, a school actually, but I drifted away and now I’m back here behind the tool shed. But, I am going to find a good building. I still listen to the radio – – -you know, to stay in touch with what is going on in the building industry.”
Or, it might be critical: a brick that lists and describes the imperfections in other bricks. This brick would point its finger while it answered. It would go on offense.
“Hey, I got tired of being next to so many irregular bricks. Bricks, and I am talking especially about the ones in buildings – – they have rough edges. I don’t want to judge, you understand, but they’re lopsided. They’re uneven. I decided if that’s what the other bricks are like, then I am not interested in being in a building.”
Or maybe the brick would be too busy. It has nothing against buildings per se. At some point it would even like to be part of one; it just can’t find time.
At the end of the day, there would be as many different excuses as there are loose bricks in the world. Each brick would offer some logic about why it is stacked out behind a tool shed and not mortared into a building.
Of course, none of the explanations would work. There is no good reason for a brick to be lying in a sloppy pile, dirt crusted on the side of it, underneath brittle leaves.
Don’t get me wrong. The explanations make sense. I can relate. I understand that a brick is still a brick regardless of whether or not it is in a building. We’ve all seen enough brick-laying going on to know that it is an involved process; there are legitimate reasons why a brick might take some time jumping into the wheel barrow. And, there are a lot of uneven bricks in the world – – certainly, it is a challenge to fit next to them day after day.
What brick isn’t busy?
But, none of those reasons adequately explain why a brick would be tossed aside next to a tool shed under decaying leaves and hollow excuses.
Bricks are made with a building in mind.”