4. The icon maker’s frugal repast

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His friends then became coworkers. They still shared a work place, but little else. They began to seek friendship—esteem and love, too—elsewhere, an elsewhere he as a mere coworker is not welcome. But he didn’t make imaginary friends to replace those lost; that would be childish. Instead he created images; icons, talismans even [commodity?] fetishes, perhaps. But he’s also become less of a believer in such things and he’s learned what he makes is not all he wants.

He wants to be understood and his creations, while venerable, can’t understand. Real people can understand, but are rarely venerable; they will ignore his entreaties, or worse, will hold his pleadings up for ridicule. This, he knows, is not unjustifiable, as they seem ridiculous even to him. But he fears being understood, too, as real people are capable of learning his needs and desires, though they are likely to use that knowledge against him. So now the icon maker prefers to dine alone…

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