He browsed a lot. Which is why they called him the Browser.
The Browser liked to look at properties online. Big, expensive places – mansions with swimming pools. He even browsed Tiger Williams’ mansion, and lamented the fact that Tiger would probably lose it in the divorce.
He loved browsing for cars too, and found one that he really liked. He knew that, living in the big city, with the great public transit system, he didn’t need a car. Not really. But still, there was that convertible two-seater Mazda that just blew his mind. It was only around $25K and it had low mileage. Granted, it was a four year old car, and the warranty was probably done but still, it was a very attractive piece of machinery.
The Browser thought about a lot of things. His mind was in constant turmoil, turning over this idea and that one. He had a lot of dreams but, because he thought about so much, all the time, he rarely actually took the time to start and finish one. He blamed all of this on being in debt.
The Browser had a long history. He grew up in relative poverty, always hungry. And he later got a good paying job, and got married. And then the marriage turned to an absolute disaster. A hell on earth, from which (at the time) he felt there was no reprise. His religion didn’t allow him to divorce, and so it took a number of years of emotional torture until he finally realized that divorce happens in the heart long before it happens in a court room. It was at that point he felt morally justified in dotting the final legal “i”.
It was this that finally forced him to look at the entire structural dogma to which he had dedicated his life. And it was this that allowed him the freedom to exit from it, no longer to be shackled to the expectations of religion or religious people. He kept his love for God, and jettisoned the baggage that religion wanted to add to it.
And then, he lived again in relative poverty, since so much of his paycheque now went to his non-working ex-wife. By financial necessity, he lived in a small apartment on the second floor of an old downtown building, and lived in quiet desperation as he noticed the apartments around him eventually becoming occupied by druggies and drug dealers.
His ex-wife eventually remarried, and agreed to let him off the hook for alimony. This was an exhibition of wonderful generosity on her part since legal precedence in Canada dictated that remarriage did not generally absolve the ex-husband of alimony. This action on her part was what allowed him to move out of the now drug-infested building he lived in.
So he moved to the Big City, into a wonderfully large and sun-bright apartment. He revelled in it, utterly amazed by the change in his circumstances.
The Browser had a lot to be thankful for: his paycheque was his own (except for what he owed); he had a good paying job with decent retirement benefits; he had access to everything he needed, and in fact, he needed for nothing. Materially anyway.
Yet, he was unsettled. Unhappy at times.
The Browser’s dreams were big: he wanted to travel, and to write books, and to get back into various arts. And to visit loved ones on the far coast of the country. He truly believed that spending eight hours a day doing anything other than what he dreamt, was eight wasted hours. He grew to resent the loss of that time. His dissatisfaction was gut-wrenchingly deep at times. So much so that he could hardly stand it. If only he had enough money, he could completely change his circumstances. He could pay off his debts, move to where his loved ones were, start travelling full time and do everything else that he really wanted to do.
He tried not to think about his increasing disappointment. He knew it would drive him mad. Still, every so often, a dark thought about his situation would force its way into his awareness, and, because he agreed so much with it, he would spiral into a miasma of unsettled angst.
Early one evening, he went to the store to pick up some salad and milk. He decided to pop by the lottery booth and check his numbers from the previous day’s lottery.
The proprietor took his ticket and nodded to him. The Browser stood there waiting, and totally lost in thought, as usual.
The Browser’s thought broke off and he looked up into the startled face of the Asian gentleman.
“Sir, you’ll have to take this ticket down the lottery headquarters”
The Browser still didn’t get it. “Uh, why?”
“Sir, you’ve won it. The big prize.”
“Yes sir! Congratulations!”
“Thanks!” The Browser was suddenly grinning.
His mind was all over the place.
Later that same week, after speaking with a lawyer and an accountant, he took the ticket to lottery headquarters. There, they took his smiling picture, and he took his prize and left.
And, after sharing some of his wealth with his family, and with a few charities, he did the following:
He quit his job.
He changed his name.
He bought the Mazda.
He bought a house.
He bought a ticket to Ireland.
He jumped on a plane and, after clearing customs, he made his way to a hotel in Dublin.
After dumping his suitcase and putting everything away, he sat in a chair in a dark corner of his room.
Eyes glittering, he sat there, looking at the bed, the dresser, the TV set.
Something was still not right. The room seemed dark.
Or maybe it wasn’t the room.
He was stuck.