MORE THAN ONCE UPON A time, in a land surprisingly near, lived two distinct peoples. Both were composed of friendly, industrious individuals with a long tradition of respectful coexistence in all matters save one: One group took every Monday off; the other, every Thursday.

Ordinarily, this would not have been problematic. But part of their mutual respect was based on a sincere celebration of the other. Weddings, births and funerals always drew a large and mingled crowd, but their different days-off caused the more well-meaning of their members great stress and worry.

“How can we truly share everything if we have to separate ourselves on the weekend?” some lamented. “We are in grave danger of appearing hypocritical.”

In time, as this issue became bigger than everything else the peoples built, either together or separately, each more tightly gripped the other. Neither now exists.

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