Squarely pegged

Once upon a time, many years and miles ago, a square peg went forth into the round hole world to see what all the fuss was about.

Life in the round hole world went well enough, as round pegs tend to be interested, at least at first, by the oddballs among them. For his own peace of mind, though, he drew toward his own kind, the other square pegs in this not-so-brave round world. They spent time together being square as hell and quite brilliant, too, at least in the legends of their own skewed-thinking minds.

The square peg soon found a job. The rounders there thought he was a bit of a joke, being so unseemly square, but from his point of view, he saw that the work was easy, unbelievably so, with great potential to mix it up a bit, make it more interesting, maybe improve things in the process. It was all so uncomplicated, just child’s play, really, and he could do it blindfolded with one hand tied behind his back, the other twisted off, and mind distracted by lofty thoughts.

He quickly learned that whereas the work itself was a breeze, working among round pegs could be challenging.

Square peggers have little use for the status quo, ergo the status quo is generally not all that keen on square peggers. To make matters worse, our square pegger was not only a square, he was a surprisingly thorny one. He was thorny to the point of putting roses to shame, and he came to realize that he had a choice to either settle down and turn himself round, or be done with it, stay the course, and let come what may.

He was not alone in this stubborn unwillingness to sink into the prosaic way of rounders, but some square pegs do adapt, and it ends badly for them. The edge wears off, and they begin to see life in a more ordinary way; the sun is just the sun, the stars are only stars, and in no time at all they’re fitting in but wondering why.

Refusing to do it, refusing to change, our thorny peg remained at odds in his round hole world. Being at odds was his default position, so much so that the city in which he lived would not allow him to water on even days, only odd days.

He went on to become a legend of the unsung kind, forcing a recognition from enlightened rounders who celebrated his free spirit and decided to honour all square pegs by building squares to show square pride. Times Square in New York, Red Square in Moscow, Trafalgar Square in London, and sundry greater and lesser squares in cities around the world were thrown up in haste to say, “Hey. It’s okay to be square.”

Our peg, unimpressed with such empty symbolic gestures, grew squarer by the year and enjoyed wildly odd adventures along the way - many windmills were fought, few succumbed - until his death from complications of square-cube. 

And it should be said that despite a lifetime of being different in the way he lived, he died in the rather pedestrian way of simply ceasing to breathe. But in the last breath he took he said, “I was naked.”

This story is for you, square pegger. Embrace the truth of you, and ride o’er the ramparts to the windmills, for the good fight. Be naked.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
Steve Jobs

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About the Author

This bio was written by Jo Slade. As you can see she has written about herself in the third person. What normal person would do that? They just wouldn't. Who knows how many other persons might be involved in this thing, a second person? Another third? I worry about it. I - she - we - can't even keep it straight, this paragraph is a damn mess, there are persons all over the place. Round 'em up and shoot 'em. That's what I'd do, and by golly I think that's what Jo Slade would do as well.

Biographic nutshell: Jo has been messing around with words for a long time. Sometimes she'll just say words instead of writing them, it saves on paper.

The columns that appear here are of a highly serious and scholarly nature, therefore it is advised that you keep a dictionary and ponderous thoughts nearby.

If, after reading so many thought-provoking words, you find yourself tossing and turning at night, burning with the need to email me, just do it. I answer to [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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