By: Daniel Klein
From: Travels with Epicurus
Islanders like to tell a joke about a prosperous Greek American who views one of the islands on vacation. Out on a walk, the affluent Greek American comes upon an old Greek man sitting on a rock, sipping a glass our ouzo, and lazily staring at the sun setting into the sea. The American notices there are olive trees growing on the hills behind the old Greek but that they are untended, with olives just dropping here and there onto the ground. He asks the old man who the trees belong to.
"They're mine," the Greek replies.
"Don't you gather the olives?" the American asks.
"I just pick one when I want one," the old man says.
"But don't you realize that if you pruned the tress and picked the olives at their peak, you could sell them? In American everybody is crazy about virgin olive oil, and they pay a damned good price for it."
"What would I do with the money?" the old Greek asks.
"Why, you could build yourself a big house and hire servants to do everything for you."
"And then what would I do?"
"You could do anything you want!"
"You mean, like sit outside and sip ouzo at sunset?"