Copyright ©1996 Sophisticated:The Magazine. All rights reserved.
Inspired by an entry in 101 Words I Don't Use.
was once a remote island, inhabited by gentle natives who all owned dogs.
An incurable canine disease infected every pet on the island. One
by one each expired, and their owners suffered unbounded sadness.
They cried out to the missionary preacher, whose intercessions rose above
the coconut palms with unctuous grandeur.
Along came a trading ship. It was loaded to the Plimsoll mark with a large quantity of asses, which the crew had discovered attractively priced at a previous port-o'-call. The grieving islanders paddled out to meet the ship and, upon seeing the asses, were attracted to them at once. The captain of the vessel, having endured many days at sea with restless asses, ordered his crew to barter their asses off, in exchange for coconuts and trinkets.
The islanders much valued their asses. Each brought his or her ass home. They talked to their asses and kept their asses warm at night. Wherever a villager went, his or her ass was never far behind. They showed off their asses to friends. It was not uncommon to see villagers standing around admiring each other's asses. And patting them. As a sign of respect, one might even kiss another's ass.
t the trinket factory, each worker was expected to get his ass to work on time and was forbidden to sit on his ass while on the job. Soon enough, all the metaphors of modern management came into use:
All at once, as the story goes, fire broke out. Each worshipper was overcome with panic. All feared for their asses -- including the missionary preacher, whose ass was always seen outside the window behind the pulpit. As the flames grew hotter, he leaped over the sill hoping to land on his ass. But he missed -- and fell down the well instead, thus affording to all of us a moral, as edifying as it is obvious:
Whatever your ass-pirations and accomplishments, no matter how lofty your station in life, stay humble. For when things get hot enough, though you talk with God, you may not always be able to distinguish your ass from a hole in the ground.