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the parable of the two sheriff badges

A former co-worker was also a former working musician, and several years ago his band ended up on a call list of bands that would play almost anywhere for a fixed fee. They’d get the call, show up and play passably danceable music, get paid, and go home, no questions asked.

One day they showed up for a gig at a place that turned out to be a massive home for people with developmental difficulties. As they were setting up and going through sound check one of the patients approached our humble narrator, pointed to a paper star that had been pinned to his shirt, and said “I’m a sheriff.” Our narrator said something encouraging but noncommittal and the patient wandered off, only to be replaced a few minutes later by another patient, this time wearing a plastic star pinned to his shirt. He said “don’t pay any attention to him; he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’m the real sheriff.”

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Categories: Parables