Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Patient Angel

“Tomorrow we give a free shave.” This sentence rang out
countless times, throughout our household, when our children were
growing up. It is based on the following story: A barber puts
in his window the following notice: “Tomorrow we give a free
shave.” Of course, this sharp barber is not, nor will he ever,
give a free shave. On any given day when you read his sign,
you’re advised that the free shave is for tomorrow. The tomorrow
that never comes! It was a cute way to remind our children how
much humans procrastinate. And the point was made that
procrastination had its limits and that inevitably the day of
reckoning will come. In other words, procrastination was simply
postponement and not avoidance.

The first time I heard the story of The Patient Angel was
from a teacher who used it to remind his class that sooner or
later examination time will come, and that waiting for the last
minute to study can only bring grief.

Actually, it was, at the time, in Egypt, a classic story
with many versions; some of them being extra-long. My own
adaptation is fairly long but will not tax (I hope) the patience
of the reader. I have also taken the liberty of modifying it to
adapt it to the North American thinking.

Here therefore, without further ado, is the story of The
Patient Angel.

The hero of our story, a man of 72, was sitting on his
balcony enjoying the warm rays of the sun. Suddenly, a visitor
appeared out of nowhere.

“Who are you?” asked the startled man.

“I am the angel of death, your time has come my friend,”
said the angel of death (hereafter referred to as simply the

“You caught me by surprise.”

“I am sorry, but that’s the way I operate.”

“You can’t take me now.”

“Why not?”

“Next June my daughter is getting married. She is the light
of my eyes. She was born after four boys; she came when I had
already despaired of ever having a daughter. I want to dance at
her wedding.” The man at this point had tears rolling down his

The angel considered his options. He would get in trouble
with his superiors, but it was for a good cause.

“Fine. But I will be back in a year.”

But angels are very busy beings and he forgot about this
man. Five years went by before the angel came back. But once
again the man was not ready.

“My daughter is expected to give birth next week. She has
been trying to conceive for three years, but without success.
Then when we least expected it, it happened. You cannot possibly
take me now.”

This particular angel had no interest whatsoever in births.
This was a totally different department! But he was weary of
fighting with this difficult client, so he relented once more.

At his next visit, three years later, he had difficulty
finding the man. He had moved. He was now the owner of a
beautiful home, in an upscale area of the city.

“Let me tell you what happened,” said the man, “then you
will understand why you cannot take me now.”

“What happened?” asked the angel with an amused smile.

“My aunt died last year …”

“Yes, I know,” said the angel. “She was one of my clients
and she was 99. I like those cases. At that age, they are glad
to see me!”

“Yes, but what you don’t know is that she left me all her
money. I used part of that money to buy this beautiful home.
All my life, I lived in a small apartment, and besides …”

The angel interrupted him and told him in a stern voice, “I
have no interest in money, inheritances, or beautiful homes. It
is now May. I’ll be back next January. This will give you a
chance to enjoy your home and your family for one last

And true to his word, the angel came in January. This time
he vowed that nothing would sway him. He was too busy for this

When the man saw the angel, he simply urged him to follow

Taking him to his backyard, he pointed to a mound of snow.
“Do you know what this is?”

“Yes, snow.”

“No, this is a rose garden like no other, by next spring…”

Now this angel had heard the excuse of the rose garden, and
the absolute necessity to live long enough to see it bloom, so
often that he burst out laughing. He laughed so hard that he
could not perform his solemn task with dignity. So once more his
quarry escaped him.

Seven long years went by. This time the angel stayed away
not because he forgot, but because he wanted to see if this man
would finally understand that he could postpone, but that
ultimately death was inevitable. Besides, he was curious to hear
what excuse the man would come up with after he had been given
such a long reprieve.

The man had moved again. This time the angel had the worst
time finding him. An angel from the department of mammon
(material wealth) was finally able to direct him. The man lived
in a mansion on top of a hill. The angel did not see fit, under
the circumstances, to make a sudden appearance. A butler opened
the door.

“Whom should I announce sir?” asked the butler.

“Just tell him the angel is here. He will understand.”

The butler gave him a funny look and went to fetch his

“Oh, my good friend,” said the man when he entered the
living room, “you will never believe what happened to me since I
last saw you.”

“Tell me,” said the angel. “I am willing to believe almost

“Well, I discovered that I have a talent for writing. I am
now a well-known writer, and as you can see I have made a lot of
money, I support many charitable foundations and …”

“I suppose you want another extension?”

“Well, I hate to impose, but …”

The next time these two met there were no pretenses.
Without any preambles or small talk, the man embarked on his
latest story.

“What I never told you last time was that my books are built
around a moral theme. I am now consulted by so many people, even
heads of states and captains of industry consult me on moral
issues, why even the White House and the Vatican …”

“Do you want me to come back in a few years?”

Our hero was now 100 years old. He was blind and almost
deaf. He was often in pain. “Where is he? Where is he?” he
muttered to himself all day. Finally, a few days before his
103rd birthday, his deliverer came. But it was not the same

“Where is my friend?” asked the man.

“Well, he was not very good at his job. We are very patient
in our department; but eventually your friend received one poor
performance review too many and …”

“You mean he was fired?”

At this, the angel burst out laughing. “No, no. Angels
cannot be fired! It’s a job for eternity! He has been
transferred to another department.”

“Well, I don’t care who does the job. Take me. Please take
me. I am so tired.”

* * *

We come into this world against our will; we leave against
our will; and in between, most of what we do, we do against our

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