Perhaps the question troubling mankind the most is:
"Why am I here?"
See that young fella sitting on the grassy knoll overlooking the ferry dock? Ruddy-haired and glasses. Yep, that's him. Looks perplexed, troubled sort'a, don't he? Now it's probably none of my affair, an' he can tell me so, but I gotta help if I'm able. Special when he's a friend of mine like Wilber is.
I reckon I'll mosey on up and see if he's open to a chat. You can come along if you've a mind to.
"Howdey-do, Wilber? Figerin' on doing a bit a fishin' in the river, are ya?"
"Oh. hi Clem. No, no fishing today. Just sitting here watching all the people down there, and thinking."
"Thinkin' on anything special? If you don't mind me askin'."
"Probably not important to most people, especially around here where everybody's doing what they want to do, but to me it's important."
"Sounds tolerable puzzelin'. Likely I got the same troubles."
"You, Clem? I'll bet the only trouble you've got is deciding whether to eat breakfast or milk the cows first"
"No troubles there, Willy. First I fetches water an' collects eggs an' cuts firewood for Ma. Then I milks the cows an' slops the hogs while Ma fixes breakfast. No other way for it, I reckon."
"See? That's my point. You don't have to make any decisions for your life. You're doing just what you want to do, what you're told to do. You don't worry about what life is all about, what you're going to do for the rest of your miserable life. To you, you're born, you milk your cows, and you die, just like everyone else on this God-forsaken island."
"That ain't quite rightly so. I dreampt a' bein' a writer once, but my grammar is a tad off, an' my spelling ain't none too good, so I thought better of it. An' you got to remember, Wilber, you're a young'un yet. When you get old like me, you'll think different on things."
"I get so sick of people telling me how young I am. I'm almost eighteen. I've got a whole life ahead of me, twenty, thirty years maybe. And look at you...you're twenty-six and over the hill already."
"No I ain't. I'm right here, sittin' next to you on this mossy-spot. And if you'd stop makin' knuckle prints in your forehead, you could look up an' see that I ain't over there like you said I was."
"No, Clem, I mean you're set in your ways. You're happy with who you are and the dreary life you lead. You don't worry about the future. You just do what whatever it is you have to do, and that's it."
"I reckon you tagged me rightly. Only thing of it is, I can't judge as how there's any other way of it. Ain't no good wishin' the sky was green, when it ain't."
"In your own weird way, I suppose you're right. At least for you. But for me, I want to do something with my life, make something of myself."
"I can't see as how a feller can make more of his self than a man, an' that comes with waiting."
"There's more, I know there is. There's got to be more reason for my being here, alive I mean, than just feeding stupid sheep."
"I don't reckon' the sheep would be agreeable."
"I'll find it, you just wait and see."
"Well, I can I see you're risin'. Are you headin' off for town?"
"Yeah, I guess so. I thought I'd check the library, but I'm sure there's nothing there but a bunch of old farming books."
"I'll mosey along with you, if you care to bend an ear."
"No way, Clem. I want to be alone with my thoughts."
"Thoughts is poor company. You might wander over to the mercantile and talk to Mr. Andy. He's usual at the checkerboard, him and Mr. Mike. Mr. Andy's got a powerful lot of book-larnin' and maybe could get a handle on your troubles."
"He came back here, didn't he? You go on back to your cows and pigs. They're probably lonesome for you."
"I'll do just that, thank ya. And a good day to ya, Willy."