A man went into a furniture store to buy a new couch.
“Which one would you like?”, asked the saleswoman.
His eyes fell upon a shiny leather couch in the corner of the store. He pointed toward it: “That one,please.”
“Well, that is our most luxurious and expensive piece! A good choice.” As the saleswoman was handing him the receipt, he realized that the cost of the couch was close to what he earned in six months.
Still, the man decided to buy it and in a few days the sofa was delivered to his home.
He invited all his colleagues, friends and family over to see it and try it out for themselves. Quickly he got the reputation of having the most comfortable couch in town. Slowly, but surely, his life started to revolve around the couch. He ate there in the evenings in front of his new flatscreen. Then in the mornings, too. And soon the couch was so inviting to him that he, more and more often, called in sick for work.
One day the doorbell rang. As the man got up off his couch he cursed and swore at the stranger at the door for forcing him to get up and answer. Had he known who was outside, he might not have been so thoughtless.
Outside the door Death was waiting.
At first the man was shocked into immobility, mental as well as physical.
“I see that you are in shock”, said Death in a soft voice. “So I will be swift with my words: it is time to go, but before we do I have to show you something.” For a short moment the man thought of arguing with Death. Within a split second he remembered that he’d had a purpose here, dreams to follow. Dreams which were worth a plea for a second chance, but instead of fighting he just wanted to lie down on his couch and sail on into oblivion. “And that is exactly what we have to look at”, said Death having read his mind.
Death walked past him, making a gesture to follow into the living room, which he did.
“This”, said Death and pointed to the leather couch, “has been your alter of sacrifice, your soul’s death bed.” The man was confused; it was just a couch.
“It’s just a couch”, said the man out loud.
“That you say and yet all your dreams have died here, all thoughts of fighting for a better world have stranded on these shores. It is a couch of convenience. And that, my dear friend, is a very dangerous thing.”
For a moment the man thought it over; something he’d never done before. Every time he went to lay down on the couch (or in fact just passed it) it was like a spell fell over him. A slumber of sorts; a kind of sweet amnesia that made him forget the world around him. Forget himself.
“And just now,” said Death, “you didn’t even fight for a second chance at life. That is the extent to which comfort and convenience can numb the soul. It lulls it to sleep if one is not careful. And then one day… I am here. In which case it might be too late.”