“You don’t have enough points, sir.”
The words struck Tom like a hot poker through butter. It was the first time since high school, fifty-years ago, that someone questioned his qualifications.
“In fact, you have none.”
“None???? How could I have. . .None?” He swallowed and reached for his tie, feeling the agitation grow within him. Loss of his temper was imminent.
“I have your account right here, and there is nothing.” The man sitting over the logbook seemed calm, “Is that your name? Thomas Jacobs, twenty-six Neidemeir Lane, Enfield, Massachusetts.”
“Well, yes that is me. I lived there for thirty years and no one else had that name.
“No son with your name?” He looked up from his book and into Tom’s eyes directly.
“No we chose to be childless. It was a mutual decision. I can call my wife to prove it.”
“Actually, you can’t.” He looked back down at the book, turned the page and thumbed down the columns. No, I can see you are not being mistaken for another Thomas Jacobs of Enfield, Massachusetts.” The man returned to the page with Tom’s name and turned the book to show him.
“You see here? Your name. . .” Putting his finger just left of the T in Thomas, he dragged his hand to the entry on the other side of the page. “You see there is nothing written there.”
“But, But,” Tom felt panic grow.
“Now look at the name above it:” the man remained calm, “Thomas Jacobs, twenty-six Neidle Street, Endicott, Ohio over five million points.”
“W-W-Who writes this log?” Tom, so angry and frustrated, he stammered.
“Well, you do. You choose the direction you are going and if you are going the right direction, you rack up points, if not, then you rack up none.”
“How could I, Thomas Jacobs, esquire, choose the wrong direction, consistently?” He started to turn red. “No one does that.”
“Actually, many do.”
“That’s absurd.” Tom slammed his fist onto the desk, his anger out of control. “I did a lot of things that should be accounted for in that book.”
“You did a lot of things, but not the right ones.” he said, not startled.
“You mean, when I tutored high school students in French, that counts for nothing?”
“You taught them how to speak French, but did you teach them anything else?”
“They wanted to learn French and I taught them.”
“They learned to use French the way you do as a way that will help get ahead.”
“And what is wrong with that? Some got into Harvard with that skill.”
“Nothing, but people gain points when they sacrifice for others and teach others to do the same. You made no sacrifices in those tutoring classes and no one learned to sacrifice in them.”
“That’s ridiculous. There is more to life than sacrifice.” Tom stood back and screamed to the sky above him.
The man at the desk just simply looked up with a smirk.
Tom, realizing what he said, calmed down a bit.
“It would be a sacrifice for you and your wife to have children, right?”
“You chose not to so that you both could have the life you wanted, right?”
“Ok, ok you made your point.”
“No, I did not” the man stood like a stern school principal about to give a lecture that he had given a thousand times. “There are many people who have enough points that have not done the right things, but they sacrificed time for prayer; they sacrificed money for their children. They sacrificed career for family; they sacrificed reputation for their faith. While you did all the right things in your own little world that exists in your own little mind.
Tom paused, humbled and stunned. “So, I have to pay?”
“Sorry, without the right amount of points I cannot let you in at all, unless you secure a pardon. I need you to wait in that room while I check with the boss.”
Tom, head down, turned left and walked into the crowded room. There he sat with others who similarly had no points. They all waited in silence, enduring, heavy silence.