“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”

Carl Jung

In a peculiar village, where the extraordinary was just part of the weekly gossip, lived Charlie, a man who could’ve been the mayor of Quirkville.

His claim to fame?

A collection of magical umbrellas, each with a power more whimsical than the last.

There was one that could play jazz tunes on rainy days, another that whispered sassy comments about passersby, and a particularly snazzy one that could turn any puddle into a miniature disco floor.

Charlie, in his cozy cottage, lived surrounded by these marvelous umbrellas, treating them more like revered museum pieces than the gateways to adventure they were. He’d often be seen showing them off, saying things like, “This one can summon a thunderstorm—but not the kind that ruins your hair,” or, “This one here can create a rainbow, but only in shades of beige. It’s very avant-garde.”

One day, as he was dusting his umbrella that could knit scarves when it rained, a realization dawned on him. This wasn’t a lightning bolt of insight, but more like a neon sign that suddenly flickered on in his brain: He was a curator of magical wonders, yet he lived a life as unmagical as a birthday cake without candles.

Charlie didn’t wallow in sadness at this revelation. Instead, he chuckled at the irony. It was like owning the world’s best wine collection and only drinking water. With a newfound zest, Charlie decided to take his umbrellas out for a whirl.

He began with the jazz-playing umbrella.

As he opened it, smooth saxophone tunes filled the air. Even Mrs. Abernathy, who hadn’t tapped her foot since the ’80s, found herself grooving along the street.

Next, he tried the sassy-remark umbrella.

It was a hit, especially when it commented on Mr. Jenkins’ outlandish tie, causing a ripple of laughter down the street.

Charlie’s life transformed from a quiet, umbrella-admiring existence into a daily comedy show. The village never knew what Charlie would bring next—maybe a rain of confetti, or a gust of wind that sang opera. Each day was an unpredictable blend of magic and mild chaos.

Through his escapades, Charlie learned that life isn’t just about collecting wonders—it’s about embracing them, quirks and all. The umbrellas, once silent spectators, became actors in a vibrant play of life, turning ordinary days into spontaneous celebrations.

Charlie’s story became the stuff of legends. It taught that the greatest joy comes not from merely possessing marvels, but from inviting others to enjoy them—preferably with a soundtrack and a side of laughter. And in this charming village of peculiar happenings, Charlie’s magical umbrellas reminded everyone that life, like a good umbrella, is best opened wide and shared.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.