Two Asses (Pack and Wild)

9 Jan
One day (and this was no particular day) a Wild Ass, who was wandering idly about, came upon a Pack-Ass lying out in a sunny spot and enjoying himself thoroughly. Venturing up to him, the Wild Ass remarked, “What a lucky beast you are! Your sleek coat shows how well you live; how I envy you!” Not long after this the Wild Ass saw his acquaintance again, but this time he was carrying a heavy load, and his driver was following behind and beating him with a thick stick. “Ah, my friend,” said the Wild Ass, “I don’t envy you any more: for I see you pay dear for your comforts.”
The lesson? Advantages that are dearly bought are doubtful blessings.

This fable reminds me of Anastasia, the animated movie. Where Rasputin sells his soul for powers that would enable him to cripple the Czar and his family. I don’t think selling your soul is ever a good idea, no matter how dire, or deep your passion is. Don’t do it, I tell you, don’t do it.
I’m not really speaking from experience or anything, but just from the sound of it. I can tell. Its a bad idea. Think about it, then say it out loud.
“Sell my soul.”
The alliteration of the words “sell” and “soul” are enough to make you cringe, the depth to the sentence makes you believe that if you do (And remember you’re not going to…) in fact “sell your soul”; there is no going back. You’d be in over your head, and beyond redemption. Although I do not know of anyone these days who would require another person’s soul to complete a deal. Maybe in this time, it would be something like paying too much money, or working long long hours for something that seems worth it at the time, but years later is simply a burden on your life. Know of anything that does this for you?
Shoot eh?

Let me tell a less dramatic and impacting story of how I fell for an advantage that turned out to be a doubtful blessing.

Once upon a time…I was a little girl. About the age of a sixth grader. At the time popularity was something that mattered quite a bit. Now there was one girl in my grade, whose name was Sarah, who seemingly had the whole popularity thing covered. She had whatever she wanted, tons of friends (most of whom were cute boys too) and cool clothing (most of which is considered a faux pas now). I desperately wanted to be her friend.
But I was the geek at school, you know, the one who did their homework as soon as it was assigned, studied super hard and did well…at school, but not with friends. So when my birthday rolled around, I made a vain attempt to gain popularity and invited her to my birthday party.
She said yes and everyone knew that Sarah (the girl with all the friends and clothes) was coming to my party. YES! This is exactly what I wanted right? Of course right!

Simply picture one of these…broken.

They day rolled around and everyone came and we were having a wonderful time, eating potato chips and drinking pop, watching movies and playing games.
Now my father had constructed a swing set with an ash wood pole straddled between two trees and two swings hanging from it. We have had this make-shift set for years and years. My sisters and I loved it still even though it was old and uncool to say that you loved to swing. My friends and I went out to swing for a few minutes to help our little brains conjure up our next activity.
Sarah as it turns out was a little heavier for a sixth grader, and being the most popular was the first to be allowed to sit on the old swing set. I went inside for some more pop and while I was listening to my mom telling me to be confident we heard a loud CRACK and then seven little sixth graders cry in surprise. But one cry seemed to last longer than the others.
It belonged to Sarah, who was now sitting on splinters of wood (which had moments before been the seat of a swing) and two chains (which had only moments before held the seat on which Sarah had been sitting) were dangling on either side of her.
All of the other girls were holding in their laughter.
And all I could think about was the simple fact that if I hadn’t invited her to my party, my sisters and I would still have a complete swing set. But alas it was the price I had to pay for popularity.
My father walked up to Sarah who was still sitting on the splinters of wood and simply said “hmmmmm…shoot.” under his breath and then out loud, “That’ll leave a mark huh?”

Sarah sat on ice packs the remainder of the party repeating countlessly that “We all need to swear ourselves to secrecy. Nobody needs to know.”

My popularity? I did gain it to some respect, as the girl whose swing set broke because Sarah sat on it. So much for sworn secrecy.
Sigh.
I paid dearly for it though, that popularity; a whole swing set. Was it worth it?

For me…not in a million years.

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