Saturday, September 5, 2009

An old story about a (then) new donkey

I suppose that before I tell even an old story about the donkey, I should tell you more about the donkey. His name is Bert. It is short for someone else's last name. That last name is shared by a favorite late-night-show host. Together they are the triple crown of Assdom: the natural-born ass, the entertainment ass & the beloved former co-worker.

People told me that horses were smarter than donkeys. This is a crock. I have met the occasional clever horse but never even heard of one that could out-shine the average donkey. People think donkeys are stoopid because donkeys do not care what people think.

I was also told that donkeys are stubborn. This is absolutely correct. If you have never had to negotiate with a donkey you do not know what stubborn is. On the other hand, more than once when faced with a particularly belligerent/spoiled/obtuse individual I have had the realization that I have dealt with a much bigger ass already that morning. It is more empowering then EST. I should probably start a self-help program. Our slogan could be "your biggest ass is behind you". Maybe not.

Back to the donkey. What I was not prepared for was not just cleverness, not just stubbornness but actual intellect-driven behavior. & to show you what I mean, I will tell you an old story:

Long ago in the mists of time....our donkey yanked so hard on the chain that winds around the fence post & the gate that he broke the clip that fastened the two ends together (believe it or not dear reader, there is actually ANOTHER story about the same donkey that begins this exact same way, but I will save it for another time). It was a fluke almost that I even caught him before he had run out the opened gate; I heard way-too-much rattling & went to investigate. I pulled the two ends of the chain back together, looped them through each other & fastened them with an inferior clasp. Bert went to work on this 'new' closure immediately & I sat down to think. It was late at night & even if I had time to get to the hardware store (I did not) it would not be open. A was out of town & there was really no one I could call who could be there in time to help, even if I knew what form that help could take; I had maybe ten minutes tops & then the donkey would be out.

One interesting thing about this gate: although the gate itself was hung to open either inward or outward, the slope of the land is such that outward from the pasture is the ideal way. You can pull it inward, up the slope, but it takes some heaving-while-lifting & really only works if the grass is closely cropped.

While the donkey worked on the chain, the horses had moved in closer to see what he was up to. They did not yet know Bert's stunts often resulted in extra food, some adventure, but for them it was still something new to watch.

As the donkey unlooped the almost-last loop, I pulled my car up so the bumper pressed against just the what-would-swing-open end of the gate. My thinking was that once the donkey got it unlooped & tried to push it open, he would meet resistance he could do nothing about & go find some other mischief. I was wrong.

Bert did not need to try to push the gate open to know the car would keep it from opening; he stopped unwinding the chain immediately. & then I saw his first full-blown temper tantrum. He he-hawed, he kicked the air, he yanked on the gate itself making a fruitless rattle. In short, he stopped working & started complaining. He paced back & forth in front of the gate (still barely held closed by the chain) snorting & stomping & shaking his head. The horses were fascinated. Then Bert just stopped & stalked off.

The next morning, A came home from his trip or I called someone to go to the hardware store or whatever & I got a new chain with a new clasp. What I do remember is that when I backed the car up so I could remove the bent & broken chain, open the gate, & refasten with the new one all the horses came to watch. Bert grazed at the back of the pasture & I never even saw him turn to look.

//for the record I have never had EST training, nor do I have a complete understanding of what it entails. What I did have (circa 1984) was a very hazy idea that the guy I had been assigned to work with on a project was trying to manipulate me into doing the yucky bits by claiming he was better qualified to do the fun stuff. My response: "All the EST training in the world will not bend my brain into thinking you are even 1/2 the genius you already know you are not. Knock it off." It turns out I had 1) made the correct assessment & 2) hit upon the exact magic words designed to deflate a seminar-puffed bully.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Rotten donkey, but great post! After all that, though you gotta think about him differently.