The Donkey and I


From: zapdingo
Date: Thu Mar 18, 2004 10:53 am
Subject: The Donkey and I

Having now gone through weeks of Mr. Staudenmaier's posts, I can't stop thinking of a slightly different version of Prospero's words that goes like this: "Now his charms are all overthrown, and what strength he has is his own, which is most faint". Indeed. Maybe there are others out there feeling like having a break from his magic performance, since now we know his tricks too well to get enchanted or fooled by them. So I decided to share this short personal story with you. Consider it a friendly invitation to take a break from more serious matters.

For years I've been bugged by this very nice lady, a friend of mine, who is not very happy about my present career choice. She takes every opportunity to express her disapproval, frequently coming up with unrequested suggestions as to what I should be doing, a subject that bores me to death since I have no intention of using any of her so called "advice" [advice (noun): a thing that, if it were any good, you wouldn't get for free.]* I've been, therefore, trying for a long time to find a way to gently tell her the polite and sophisticated equivalent of "it's none of your business". And when I remembered this tale I was very pleased, for it seemed to be just what the doctor ordered:

The Donkey

A farmer decides he wants to sell his donkey in the market, which is in a far away town. Not wanting to leave his wife and young son alone, he sets on the journey with them. They soon meet a man by the road, who asks where they are going. Hearing the answer, he says: "The market is very far. You have a healthy donkey with you, it's silly to be walking when you could all be riding on it". The farmer sees that this makes sense and follows the man's advice. Not a hour goes by and they pass by another man, who laughs when he learns the goal of their journey. "Yeah right!" - he says, (or the equivalent of this expression at the time). "The donkey is going to be exhausted when you get there, carrying you all like this! Who's going to want to buy it, then? Only the little boy, who is very light, should be riding on it!" Seeing that the man had a point, the farmer puts the boy on the donkey and procceeds walking with his wife. Just around the next curve they meet some other fellow, who snides in a Peterly manner: "Now if this is not a sign of the times. The strong young one goes comfortably while his poor elderly parents have to walk. How disgraceful. He should be walking and you and your wife should be riding the donkey!" Seeing his point, the farmer follows the man's advice. But it didn't take long for another busybody to make his appearance: "You should be ashamed of yourselves, you horrible parents, you! Riding on the donkey while this poor child has to walk!" By then the man had enough and realised that he would never be able to please everybody. Not only that, but if he were to try, he would never get to the market. So he would be better off doing just what he thought was right, independently of what anybody else thought. The End.

Well, in remembering this story I thought I had found the perfect vehicle to subtly tell my nosy friend off. I daydreamed of a fancy dinner occasion with many guests present, when at her first remark about my career - which would certainly come - I would charmingly tell this lovely tale and hopefully shut her up, forever keeping her from addressing the subject again.

Then today it hit me. I realised that I shouldn't be telling this story to anybody else who bugged me, lest of all my dear friend - the only one who needed to pay heed to it was myself. It took me two years to see that.

Bottomline 1:
If you want to sell your donkey, don't pay attention to the asses.
Bottomline 2:
Don't be an ass yourself.


*From my own personal dictionary. If Mr. Staudenmaier can have one, why can't I?


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