A good rabbi named Eisik of Cracow had a dream. Three times he had it. The dream said: “Go to Prague, to the great bridge, and if you dig there you will find a buried treasure.”
So Eisik walked all the way to Prague. He found the bridge, but it was heavily guarded. (Royal bridge.) No digging possible. After a few days of prowling and plotting, Eisik was noticed by a guard. “What’s up?” asked the guard.
Rabbi Eisik said, “I had a dream. The dream said come here, dig under bridge. Find a buried treasure.” The guard just laughed. Hahahahaha.
“What kind of bozo listens to a dream?” said the guard. “That dream isn’t even original. I had a dream just like it. My dream said,‘Go to Cracow to the house of a pious rabbi named Eisik.’ I was supposed to look behind this rabbi’s stove, where I would find MY buried treasure. Hahahaha.”
“Thank you,” said Eisik, and he hurried back to Cracow in his worn-out shoes. Sure enough, he reached behind his stove and found the treasure. Was never poor again, was Eisik.
–folk tale collected in Tales of the Hasidim by Martin Buber
Where I lost my treasure was in fourth grade when I wore my gymnastics leotard under my girl-scout dress. Someone barged into my bathroom stall and caught me painfully naked.
Where I lost my treasure was in college when the guy I spent the night with walked right by me in the dining hall. He saw me. He didn’t see me. He later dated my roommate.
Where I lost my treasure was when I blew my audition at CBGB’s because a girl in the front row was heckling me. I was trying so hard not to cry that I fudged the guitar parts. And then I cried anyway.
Where I lost my treasure was when my first boss asked me out on a date then fired me when I said no. When my second boss snuck up and rubbed my shoulders while I answered the phones. When my third boss got addicted to diet pills, lost thirty pounds, and stopped showing up at the office. She was nice.
Where I still lose my treasure is trying to keep credible clothes on my body that match the way I appear to the outside world. I lose my treasure when I buy into Mondays as a sacred shrine to productivity with higher stakes than Tuesdays or Fridays. Or compare myself to the perfect parents in picture books who give each other thoughtful, hand-made presents. When I look down on people who tongue-kiss their cats.
His shoes were trashed, but he made it home.