A MODERN FABLE REVISITED

 Since today’s entry somewhat mirrors a previous cautionary tale, I’ve reprinted the first version followed by the new fable.

 THE HUSBAND AND THE CLAY COURT – A MODERN FABLE

Once upon a time there was a husband who was named John. John was tall and athletic. He liked to compete. By chance, two people asked John if he and his wife would like to play mixed doubles at the tennis courts at the YMCA.

“Oh no,” his wife said. “I have a terrible serve and do not play well.”

“Nonsense,” he said.

So they went to play. Back and forth they hit the ball, John taking most of the shots because of his superior ability. They lost the first set even though he tried hard. They switched partners. This time John won because he was not playing with his wife. But there was unhappiness. Finally they played together again.

“We will do better this time, now that we are warmed up,” John declared.

All over the court he sprinted taking as many shots as possible. Finally a ball came flying over and he went to retrieve it with his very showy running forehand. But his feet slipped.

“Uh oh”, he said to himself, “I am falling. I must execute my famous tuck and roll which I learned as a young lad.”

But alas, the tuck did not quite happen. What did happen was much blood and a broken bone.

THE MORALS OF THIS STORY

1) Hard things are no match for soft human tissues and bone.
2) It is better not to try too hard to do something than suffer the consequences.
3) Even though your brain still thinks you are young, sometimes your body just doesn’t believe it.

THE WIFE AND THE HARD COURT- A MODERN FABLE REVISITED

Once upon a time there was a wife who was named Mary. Mary was short and round. She liked to compete. By chance she was playing tennis with her husband one day.

“I must try very hard so that I can show John my great improvement,” she said.  “I want to show that the lessons I have been taking have made a difference.”

All over the court she lumbered taking as many shots as possible. Finally a ball came flying over and she went to retrieve it with her patented emergency slice backhand. But she leaned over too far while running.

“Uh oh”, she said to herself, “I am falling. I must execute my famous “girl fall” which I learned as a young lass.”

Alas, this is where our two tales part company because a “girl fall” is much different from a “tuck and roll.”

Now everyone knows when you are falling down that you have immeasureable time in which to consider all the parameters and consequences of the fall.

“First,” Mary thought, “I shall fall before I hit the stone wall because hitting the wall will do way more damage.  Next I shall do what my mother taught me, put your hands out so you don’t fall on your face.”

Unfortunately only one hand was available, the left, because the right one was holding the tennis racket. 

“Ah,” Mary thought, “if I fall on my left hand, even if I break it and my wrist, it will be on my non-dominant side.  Plus I must be careful not to mess up my nails which I have just had done.”

So down she fell, taking almost all of her weight (considerable) on her left hand. 

“Wow! that hurts” she thought while she laid on the ground.

“Oh no! The security guard is coming over to see if we need help.  How embarrassing!”

“Do you need help?” the earnest young security guard said.

“Perhaps a crane to get me up,” thought Mary to herself.

“Oh, no, I’m fine,” Mary grimaced and sat up.

And what was the damage done?  By using her famous “girl fall”  Mary did not break her collarbone or any bone.  There was a little scraping of her knee but hardly any blood.  The major damage was a bruised left hand.

THE MORAL OF THIS STORY IS

1) It is better not to try too hard to do something than suffer the consequences.

2) It is important to protect your face and your manicure.

3) If you are over 10 years old, never fall down in front of an audience.

 

A FABLE: THE HIKE

TODAY’S FABLE

The Hike

Once upon a time there were two people named Mary and John.  They lived in the gorgeous red rock country of Southern Utah.

On a beautiful morning Mary said, “It is a lovely day.  Let us take a hike and have a picnic, John.”

John agreed and they went to look at maps to find a route.  Finding things on maps has always been dangerous for Mary and John.  It often leads to misadventures.

“This looks like a good hike,” John opined.  “It is in the Kolob Terrace portion of Zion National Park.  I remember that there is a service road that can get us to a fine hiking spot.”

“I shall make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” volunteered Mary.  “We need to have extra energy so I will make some gorp out of what I can find in the pantry.  (This turned out to be crumbled biscotti and raisins.) And also carrot sticks.  After all this is a healthy hike.”

So off they went for their hike and picnic except that they got too hungry along the way and stopped at McDonald’s for a hamburger.  “We need even more extra energy,” they thought.

Up and up they drove, starting in the full fledging of spring in Virgin, UT and ending at the very beginning of spring in the park at 8000 feet.  Some snow was still on the ground. They turned onto a dirt road that took them to Lava Point Overlook.

“Alas,” sighed Mary, “the service road down the cliff is gated and locked! We must find another way down.”

So they found Barney’s Trail, a dirt path that led almost straight down the cliff and to the service road.

“This is very steep,”  Mary exclaimed.  But on they went and finally reached the road that took them to the West Rim Trail.  Unfortunately, this was also downhill although more gradually than Barney’s Trail.

On and on they trod, hoping for a fantastic overlook into Zion canyon.  “Just a half an hour more,” said John intrepidly.  Unfortunately, the overlook never materialized and now they were a long way from their start.  They decided to head back.

“We can do it!” encouraged John.  Mary started making small goals for herself. 

“I know I can walk to that tree ahead,” she determined.  “I shall count my steps and when I get to two hundred, we will have walked one tenth of a mile.”  Using this method they slogged their way up the gradual uphill to the service road and back to Barney’s trail.

“Uh oh,” thought Mary, “I shall never be able to climb up this cliff.”

“You can do it!” once more John encouraged.

Stopping every ten feet or so to wipe off the sweat, catch their breath and try to slow down their racing hearts, they crept up the cliff.  Mary almost fell once.  Finally they were at the top!

“We have done a fine job,” John exclaimed.

“Where is there a bathroom?” responded Mary.

The moral of this story could be: 1) Don’t be tired when you decide to turn around and go back; 2) it may be easier to walk uphill than downhill but it’s still not easy; or 3) what goes down must come up.

Note: For more fables, click on Modern Fables in the sidebar.

 

 

 

A FABLE: THE COUPLE AND THE UNFORTUNATE CHOICE

A MODERN FABLE

This fable is inspired by Sarah’s choice for dinner at Left Bank last week.

THE COUPLE AND THE UNFORTUNATE CHOICE

Once upon a time, long, long ago (actually 1971), in a country far, far away (actually Canada) two people named Mary and John took a trip to Montreal.

“I will wine and dine you and we shall have a fine time,” said John gallantly. “I shall practice speaking French and you will be greatly impressed.”

“I will be greatly impressed with you regardless of your French speaking,” admitted Mary, because she was mightily smitten.

So off they went to a superior restaurant to eat French food and gaze into each other’s eyes.

“Let us try this dish,” John suggested. “From my vast knowledge of French I know that ris de veau means some sort of veal.”

“Ooh, I love veal and I love it when you speak French,” Mary exclaimed with great admiration.

When the dinner arrived, the veal was covered in white sauce. They each tasted a morsel.

“What type of veal do you think this is?” asked Mary. She was sure John would know due to his vast knowledge of French. “It doesn’t quite have the texture of meat.”

“Uh oh,” thought John. “Could it be something other than veal meat? I shall use my great memory to try to remember what ris means.”

So he thought and thought and thought some more while they nibbled at the dinner. Finally he dredged an old word out of his memory.

“Alas,” he ventured, “I think that perhaps ris means brains.”

Whereupon, using his vast knowledge of French, John asked for l’addition (the bill) and they left.

The moral of this story is 1) don’t trust your high school French, 2) things sound better in French than they taste, 3) love may be blind but its other senses are working.

Note: As it turns out the veal was sweetbreads and not brains.

For more modern fables click on the Modern Fables in the sidebar.

A FABLE IN TWO PARTS: THE ACCIDENTS

TODAY’S MODERN FABLE

For other modern fables see The Bird and the Fry and The Stump and Two Determined Men.

THE HUSBAND AND THE CLAY COURT

Once upon a time there was a husband who was named John. John was tall and athletic. He liked to compete. By chance, two people asked John if he and his wife would like to play mixed doubles at the tennis courts at the YMCA.

“Oh no,” his wife said. “I have a terrible serve and do not play well.”

“Nonsense,” he said.

So they went to play. Back and forth they hit the ball, John taking most of the shots because of his superior ability. They lost the first set even though he tried hard. They switched partners. This time John won because he was not playing with his wife. But there was unhappiness. Finally they played together again.

“We will do better this time, now that we are warmed up,” John declared.

All over the court he sprinted taking as many shots as possible. Finally a ball came flying over and he went to retrieve it with his very showy running forehand. But his feet slipped.

“Uh oh”, he said to himself, “I am falling. I must execute my famous tuck and roll which I learned as a young lad.”

But alas, the tuck did not quite happen. What did happen was much blood and a broken bone.

(Moral to follow Part Two)

THE SISTER AND THE PILASTER

Once upon a time there was a sister named Peggy. On a cold and windy day in Maryland, Peggy went out to fetch the mail.

“Br-r-r-r,” she said. “It is mightily cold out here. I should have worn my coat!”

But, alas , she had not worn her coat and wanted to get back into the house as quickly as possible.

Up the driveway at a jog, she ran. Onto the sidewalk and to the steps leading up to the front door.

“I shall just run up these steps and get into the warm house,” she said.

There were only two steps. She jogged up the first one with her right foot. When she lifted her left foot, she did not lift it quite high enough.

“Uh oh,” she thought, “I am tripping!”

Headlong into the pilaster by the front door she went. She hit the top of her head solidly into it.

THE MORALS OF THESE STORIES

1) Hard things are no match for soft human tissues and bone.
2) It is better not to try too hard to do something than suffer the consequences.
3) Even though your brain still thinks you are young, sometimes your body just doesn’t believe it.

A FABLE : THE STUMP AND TWO DETERMINED MEN

TODAY’S FABLE

Note: For another exciting modern fable, please click through to THE BIRD AND THE FRY.

The Stump and Two Determined Men

Once upon a time there was a palm tree. It was leading a happy palm tree life until one day it caught a disease. This was a terrible wasting disease and as time went on the palm tree became weaker and weaker. Then an even more devastating thing happened. A hurricane named after Fred Flintstone’s wife, Wilma, blew through the yard where the palm tree lived. It shuddered in the wind. Its fronds were torn to shreds. All around it bigger and healthier trees were falling down in the wind. Suddenly, the little palm could take it no more. With a horrible lurch it fell over.

Big men with bigger chainsaws cut up the little palm. All that was left was a stump. This was kind of coincidental because the name of the lady who used to live in the house behind the stump was named Stump. But I digress. Now a tree is a beautiful thing but a stump is not. One day a tall man from California came to stay in the house with the stump. “This is not a beautiful thing,” he thought to himself. “ I must remove this stump and replace it with a lovely new tree.” So the tall man dug around the stump. And dug some more and then some more. This attracted the attention of another man.

The second man said, “You cannot remove this stump. It is too hard.” But as the tall man made progress, the second man was swept up in the enthusiasm of stump removal. Because one true thing is that men like to do hard physical things together using tools. Especially using lots of tools. So the second man brought a pointy shovel, and then two hatchets. Then he sharpened his shovel so it would cut through the roots. Together these two men labored. For hours. “We cannot let the stump win!” they exhorted each other. Finally, with a mighty heave they tore what was left of the palm tree out of the hole. The men had their pictures taken with the stump. There was much jubilation.

The moral of this story is 1) Men are stubborn; 2) Two people working together can get a job done; or 3) It is fun to take pictures of grubby, sweaty men after they have triumphed over a small stump that took them all day to get out of the ground.

A FABLE: THE BIRD AND THE FRY

TODAY’S TALE

Once upon a time there was a sparrow named Sparrow. Sparrow lived in the city of Las Vegas. He (let’s pretend it is a boy sparrow) had become familiar with the ways of man. “Where’s a good place for breakfast?” the Sparrow wondered. Now by careful observation, he realized that humans, especially young humans, often drop bits of food. So he decided to look for his breakfast at the outdoor play area of McDonalds.

“What do I spy?” exclaimed Sparrow bobbing and looking carefully at the ground, first with one eye and then the other. “It looks like a french fry!” Over he hopped and picked up the fry carefully in his beak. But it was too big. By careful manipulation he managed to grab the end of the fry and shake it back and forth until a tiny bit broke off. “It’s a little cold but still good,” he chirped as he shook and ate his fry.

“Oh, no! Who is this but my mean friend, Other Sparrow, who has come to take my fry away. I must run and hop and flutter holding on to my fry and try to get away from Other Sparrow.”

So off around and around the playground they hopped, Other Sparrow in hot pursuit. Finally, since Other Sparrow was somewhat bigger, Sparrow gave up and dropped the fry.

The moral of this story could be 1) that I am easily amused; 2) that sometimes birds are more interesting than people first thing in the morning; or 3) that if this bird had lived in the Galapagos Islands and there were a McDonalds there, it would have evolved so that it had the kind of beak that could eat a french fry fast enough to keep it away from other birds and this type of bird would ultimately have been called the McDonalds sparrow.