Monday, August 13, 2007

the airplane and the ironing board: a fable

Gloria's asked me to frame a fable for you, something along the lines of David and Goliath, or the movie It's a Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart trumps the evil rich banker Mr. Potter, or perhaps even the story of the grasshopper and the ant, or the tortoise and the hare. It's about the airplane, and the ironing board.

The airplane buzzed regally above the town. It gazed upon the teeming masses below, at the ballpark and the fairgrounds, and knew they could not resist its sleek beauty, its shiny expensive wings, its irresistible message flouted by a trendy tail banner that told the people all it thought they ought to know, about the medicalmart. They didn't need to lift a finger; the airplane and the golden beings who hired it would take care of everything for them. Everything. From the cradle to the grave. And all they had to do was trust them, and forego the vote.

Down below, the little ironing board with the four petitions spread across it's single wing just pressed on; it let the people walk up to it, and touch it, and in a way it looked people in the eye and told them all they needed to know to make an intelligent decision for themselves. It spoke to the homely values of self-sufficiency and independence. It let people read the fine print, about the general fund, before they signed. It told them how difficult it was to get 46,000 good signatures in order to force a vote, and how easy it was not to vote, how easy it was to surrender and to sacrifice their birthright, for the promise of the shiny plane way up in the sky.

The moral of this story is most people look straight ahead when pressed, and have more sense than to be walking around gawking up at the clouds, especially when there might be pigeons present.

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