Gente que Cuenta

Golem, by Alfredo Behrens

Karel Appel Atril press
Karel Appel,
Gente, pájaros y sol, 1954

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   Bullying feeds on an asymmetry of power. At my school there were several of us students who suffered the scorn of some of the teachers. The only one who didn’t seem to suffer with any teacher was Jacob. Why doesn’t anyone pick on you? I asked him, and in a low voice, looking around, he told me that he was protected by a golem. I laughed, but he explained that a golem could be called upon to defend you and could even take revenge on people who made you uncomfortable. I found the idea interesting and I asked him to lend me his golem, and Jacob told me that he couldn’t because I was a goy, but that he could rent it to me, and all I would have to do was bring a little coin wrapped in a piece of paper where I would write what I wanted the golem to do to the guy who was playing the teacher. Well, I remember that I asked the golem to break the skull of my tormentor. And I tell you that the next class the teacher showed up with a black eye. I couldn’t believe it. Jacob assured me it was the golem. I loved it. The word spread and the other students asked him for similar retributions and that’s how Jacob started to arrive at school with a ceramic piggy bank in which his colleagues would put their coins wrapped in a small piece of paper and the next day the teacher would appear, battered in one way or another. Maybe it wasn’t the golem, but the teachers would turn up fucked up. One showed up with a band-aid on his face saying he had cut himself with a razor blade, but we exchanged smiling glances because we knew it had been the golem.

Time went by. We left school, everyone grew up and went their own way, and Jacob, with the returns from that piggy bank, bought a bank that was originally called Montepío, but was renamed Montegolem, and we put our savings there because the golem was our friend too.

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Alfredo Behrens has a PhD from Cambridge University, teaches strategy and intercultural issues at FIA Business School in São Paulo and at Harvard Business Education.
Some of his books can be purchased on Amazon.

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