Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fables for the 21st Century and Beyond: The Lion and the Mouse

Fables are supposedly timeless.  However, this is simply not true.  The methods of teaching morals in the past don't always correlate to the fast-paced thinking of today.  That's why I've decided to update several classic fables for the current era.  Stay tuned for more "Fables for the 21st Century and Beyond" throughout the coming months!

            One day, a Lion was working on his computer when his mouse stopped working.
            “Darn it all to hell and back, with lots of traffic!” shouted the Lion.  “This always happens when I’m in the middle of something very important.”
            The Lion was indeed in the middle of essential matters.  He was the head of a large publishing group named Jungle Books.  For some reason, and to the irk of many of the employed animals, instead of using the title CEO as per usual, he required that he be referred to as “King.”  Thousands of lesser animals anxiously waited each and every day to see if they had struck a publishing deal.  And each and every day thousands of animals learned that their story would not be the best new thing on the reading list.  If any part of the Lion’s workflow faltered, he would not be able to ruin the dreams of hopeful writers.  And that needs to happen.
            The Lion was quite upset at the state of his mouse.  He was actually reading something quite good, so he had his attention fully devoted to the task at hand.  This small disruption interrupted his focus, which could have disastrous effects—both literary and otherwise—for the writer, an Antelope.
            “This is such a thorn in my side!” screamed the Lion.  He had a very short fuse.  And he could.  He was King, after all.
            The Lion called in his secretary, an Orangutan.
            “Orangutan, I need a new mouse.  Mine just broke, and I have important work that needs to get done,” said the Lion.
            “I’m sorry, but if we order a new mouse, it’ll take a week to come in,” replied the Orangutan matter-of-factly.
            “But I’m King!” roared the Lion.  “And I need my mouse!  Take a mouse from someone else if you have to, but get me one.”
            “Okay.  I’ll see if someone can spare theirs.”
            A few minutes later, the Orangutan returned to the Lion’s office, where he still sat moping.  He had not moved an inch.
            “I’m afraid you can’t have anyone else’s mouse,” the Orangutan stated.
            “Why not?” demanded the Lion.
            “Because all the mouses are broken.”
            “None of them are working.  Everyone is simply sitting at their computers, staring at screens filled with work they can’t do anything about.”
            “Who bought these mouses?  Fire him immediately.”
            “But you bought them.  All of them.”
            A long silence began, only to be ended several seconds later by the Lion with a simple, “Oh.”
            Because Jungle Books could not sort through the thousands of submissions they received that day, their company crumbled, thus obliterating quality literature in the animal kingdom for years.  The Lion was no longer King.
Moral of the story:  Don’t buy cheap electronics.

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