A man was walking along by himself on a dusty road. Everything around was brown. The dirt, the rocks and the trees were brown. Even the sky had a brownish tint to it. The man was naked except for a neck tie, a very long neck tie. It went down to his knees. It was a very nice tie with bright colors and fancy patterns. The man was very proud of his tie. He wasn’t like everyone else. He had a tie.
Ahead of him on the road, he saw another man. This man was completely naked. The first man had an idea.
The man with the tie straightened his back, stuck out his chin and quickened his pace. When the tie-clad man reached the tie-less man, he passed right by, turning slightly to show off his tie.
“Wait!” the tie-less man called out.
“Wait?” repeated the tie-clad man. “Wait for what?”
“You’re wearing my tie,” said the tie-less man as he reached to grab the beautiful tie.
The man with the tie slapped the other’s hand. “Your tie? This is my tie.”
“I’m afraid you’re mistaken. We’re in the State of Nature. Everybody owns everything and since I’m somebody and that’s something, I own it.”
“Huh?” was all the first man could think to say.
He thought for a moment and then asked, “If you own it, then why am I wearing it?”
“Because you also own it.”
“So, we both own it?” asked the first man tentatively.
The second man nodded.
“Then it’s our tie.”
“Exactly. Now give it to me,” said the naked man.
“Let me get this straight,” said the man with the tie. “It’s your tie and it’s my tie. You want it and I have it. But we both have equal right to it. So what should we do?”
“We both wear it, I guess.”
So, the two men took the loose end of the tie and tied it around the second man’s neck. The first man asked, “What’s your name?”
“Hey! That’s my name!” yelled the first man.
“No,” said the second man. “It’s our name.”
The two Eds smiled and began walking in their respective directions. They walked about three feet, the tie became taught and they both stopped. They stood motionless for two full minutes pondering their problem. “It doesn’t matter which direction we go,” suggested the first Ed.
“How do you figure?” asked the second Ed.
“Well, we’re in the State of Nature, right?”
“So, we own all of this land. We have every right to walk on any part of it that we choose. Rather than staying on our road, how about we pick a direction we both like and walk that way?”
“That’s a great idea,” said the second Ed. “I’ve always wanted to see what was behind my mountain. Let’s go that way.”
“Good idea. I like it on top of my mountain.” The two Eds smiled, turned off their road and began walking West towards their mountain with the beautiful tie forming a short bridge between them.
On the way to their mountain, the two Eds came across a woman. The woman was naked except for a lovely flower print bra. The two Eds and their tie stopped. The first Ed greeted her, “Hello.”
“Hello,” replied the woman.
“What’s your name?” asked the first Ed.
“What a coincidence, that’s my name!” exclaimed the second Ed.
“I thought you said your name was Ed.”
“So how can it be Sally?” asked the first Ed. Sally just stared.
“State of Nature, remember?”
“Ahh.” The first Ed nodded.
Sally started to walk away. “Wait!” yelled the first Ed. “I almost forgot why we stopped in the first place.”
“And why’s that?” Sally asked.
The first Ed hesitated a moment and said, “Well, because you are wearing our bra.”
Sally slapped Ed, thought for a moment, then slapped the other Ed for good measure.
“That hurt,” both Eds said in unison.
“Good,” said Sally. “What do you mean your bra? What do you need it for anyway?”
“Oh yeah,” said the first Ed. “I hadn’t thought of that. Never mind.”
The two Eds and their gorgeous tie turned and walked off towards the mountain. Sally just stood there frowning. Then, she decided that she had imagined the whole thing and she and her bra walked off.
The two Eds had gone about fifteen yards when the second Ed said, “That was brilliant.”
“What was brilliant?”
“That stupid idea of yours to ask for our bra.”
“You mean that stupid idea of ours to ask for our bra, don’t you?” asked the first Ed.
“Well, maybe it wasn’t so stupid,” said the second Ed. “I mean it is our bra, right? But, it did look better on her than it would have on us. And it is her bra, too, isn’t it?”
The first Ed nodded. “Yeah. I guess you’re right about that.”
The two men and their tie walked the rest of the way to their mountain in silence.
When Ed and Ed and their fancy patterned tie reached the foot of the mountain, they looked up. It was a small mountain, an easy climb, but the two men didn’t proceed. The mountain was littered with objects. Every few feet there was something. There were razor blades, baseball bats, toothbrushes, flowers, shutters, wigs and seemingly every other object imaginable. The two men stared at the mountain and then at each other.
The first Ed shrugged. “Who threw all our stuff on the ground?”
“Well, it’s their stuff too, so it’s OK, but why?”
“How should I know?”
They stood looking for a while longer when the second Ed said, “What should we do?”
“We could clean it up,” suggested the first Ed.
“We could, but that would take a while.” They both nodded. “However,” the second Ed smiled, “whoever tossed it away must not want it.”
“So?” asked the first Ed.
“So,” continued the second Ed, “if someone doesn’t want it and we do, then it’s ours and not theirs.”
“Hold on,” protested the first Ed. “I thought you said that everybody owns everything.”
“So why wouldn’t it be theirs?”
The second Ed rolled his eyes. “Isn’t it obvious? By throwing it away, they gave up their claim to it.”
“Wait.” The first Ed thought for a second. “By that logic, this tie would have been yours and not mine had I just given it to you.”
“But you didn’t tell me that before.”
“I changed the rules,” stated the first Ed.
“How did you do that?”
“Well, we own the rules, right?” The first Ed nodded slowly. The second Ed continued, “Since we own them, we can change them. Come on, let’s claim our stuff.”
The first Ed really didn’t like what he saw happening. It wasn’t right. He just stood there until he felt his beautiful tie tighten around his neck. Then, he grudgingly followed the other Ed.
When they got to the top of the mountain, the two Eds were carrying more than they thought possible. They looked like a miniature mountain of junk with four legs. Ed and Ed and the miniature mountain stumbled around until they found a fairly flat place. Then, they dropped everything. The two Eds looked at the pile at their feet. “Now what?” asked the first Ed.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean what do we do with it?”
“I don’t know,” said the second Ed.
The first Ed was really disturbed now. “So, why did we take it?”
The second Ed was ignoring the first Ed. He was rummaging through the pile. Every once in a while he would stop, pick something up, say, “Wow!” throw it back into the pile and keep digging. The first Ed just watched until he couldn’t stand it any longer.
The first Ed grabbed the lovely tie and pulled, jerking the second Ed’s head towards him. “What are you doing!?”
“This has to be the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen!”
“What do you mean?” asked the second Ed innocently.
“You digging through your junk like that!”
“You mean our junk, don’t you?” the second Ed asked.
“No! I mean YOUR junk! I don’t want it! You have it! You can be pathetic! I don’t want any part of it! It’s all yours! Not mine! Yours!”
The second Ed looked at the pile at his feet. He gently kicked a flower pot while he thought. Then, he looked up with a smile and said, “Thanks, Ed!”
The first Ed couldn’t take it any longer. He turned and walked three paces, stopped, turned around and walked up to the second Ed. Ed looked Ed in the eye and said, “I’ll be taking MY tie back now.” He was babbling as he untied the tie. “It is my tie, you know. I had it first. I don’t know why I let you have any of it anyway. It is a lovely tie. Beautiful. Gorgeous even. Much nicer than that bra. And it’s all MINE!”
Once the tie was off the second Ed, the first Ed started down the mountain. “I almost forgot,” he said. “I’m changing my name to John and I’m entering the State of Reality!”
Ed just stood on top of the mountain and watched as John and John’s tie walked out of sight. After another moment, Ed wandered off to see if he could get his hands on that bra.