A story of a banker and a lawyer, a story of punishment, a story of something controversial, a story of an argument. I remember this small book that I loved, in the heavy backpack I carried every day, which weighed my shoulders down and made me bend down to the ground like an old lady with a hump on her back, it was painful, awful, and simply cruel.
But this book named ‘The Magic Book’, seemed to do me a favor, taking pity on me it decided to be small. Somewhere in between the book was this ‘Bet’, where a banker and a lawyer debate over the ultimate punishment: life imprisonment or death row, which one is better? They decided to give this judgment a twist of reality and turned it into a bet, where the lawyer spent 15 years of his life to prove that living anyhow is better than not living at all. He spent 15 years of his life in solitary confinement in a cabin in the banker’s garden to prove this, to prove this, and get 2 million.
‘The Bet’ by Anton Chekhov is in my regard, the first piece of literature I ever read, and we were doing Merchant of Venice the year before, just saying.
Before this, in life, everything was black and white, it was easy to differentiate wrong from right. But this bet created an area of gray and for some reason, as I grew older, every conflict, every argument, any issue for that matter, has been falling into this gray area.
Who was right? The banker? Saying that death row is a much more humane punishment than killing a prisoner slowly? Or the lawyer? Who was right? When I woke up in the middle of the night to pee, came back, and just stared at my fan slowly moving on the ceiling, someone would scream these words into my ears, “WHO WAS RIGHT?”
No piece of literature ever made me think so much. I would stay up and research sometimes and go to school with heavy dark circles, my friends would tease me, “Who’s keeping you up at night? And I would say in a dreaded voice, “A banker and a Lawyer”, as they judged me for two-timing adults.
I still haven’t found the answer and I find myself reaching that conclusion more so than often, Is Ukraine right or Russia? Was Russia right or US? Is it okay for friend Y to be upset with friend H for something friend K did?
Do you ever find yourself being indecisive this way?
At the end of ‘The Bet’, the lawyer completes his 15 years of solitary confinement in the banker’s garden. The banker goes out to kill the lawyer, the night before, scared of having to pay 2 million amidst bankruptcy, but he finds a note on the table from the lawyer, saying that he despised everything and that he had found life beyond his bet, and he runs away a night before he could complete his 15 years.
After trying to find this answer too much, I’ve realized there is no right or wrong, there is no black and white, only gray.