2992. This new found notoriety had a salutary effect on the Cantaloupe Man. These events which launched his new occupation, that of the resident seer of the monastery, happened when he was seventy years old, and at the time, as was mentioned above, he was in an obvious decline, and seemed to be both loosing his strength, and more alarming, developing new and unwanted capacities indicative of weak mindedness.
But as he became aware of the respect his sayings received he began to
develop a new self-confidence, and one might almost say there appeared a
trace of pride, if not actual arrogance in his behavior. Up until the
death of the archbishop of Milan, everyone’s behavior toward the
cantaloupe man seemed to murmur, “Be gone, die now old man, no use to
anyone anymore, and an embarrassment to all of us.”
Now however, everyone’s actions toward the Cantaloupe Man seemed to say
the opposite, meeting a fellow monk in the pathway of the rose gardens
someone he knew for many a year might say, “Good morning brother,” and
in the tone of the greeting was the undercurrent of the idea, long life
and prosperity to you, you are a great asset to our tribe.
2995. It is my humble opinion that this type of respect and appreciation is the single explanation for people living to ninety years old and more. The opposite treatment, which had been grinding the old murmurer down for many a year, was the cause of just the opposite effect. It is as if disrespect and aversion is an invitation to suicide, and the body, over time, seems to obey the invitation in its own way.