Tuesday, August 12, 2008

People Pleasin'

There was once an old man who was going to sell his donkey at an auction in town. It was a long walk from out in the country where he lived, so the man's young son volunteered to go along and keep his father company.

Since it would be a long walk, the man put his son on the donkey and walked along beside him. A little ways down the road, they passed an old woman who took one look and said, "What a disrespectful child, making his aging father walk while he rides." Not wanting people to think ill of his son, the old man told his son to walk while the old man rode the donkey.

It wasn't long before they passed a couple on the road. The old man overheard the woman say to her husband, "Would you look at that! That man is making his young son walk on the hot dusty road while he rides comfortably on his donkey!" Afraid that people would think he was a bad father, the man hopped down and walked with his son, leading the donkey.

Some time later they passed a young guy on the road who said to the old man, "Are you crazy? Why are the two of you walking when you have a good donkey you could be riding?" The old man certainly didn't want people to think he was crazy, so he and his son both hopped up on the donkey and continued their journey to town.

Just outside of town, they came upon a small group of people. Someone made the comment, "Good grief! Look at that poor donkey! He looks like he might give out under the weight of that man and boy. I can't believe they would be so terrible as to make that donkey carry them both into town!" Not wanting to be seen as cruel, the old man jumped down, ordered his son off the donkey, threw the animal over his shoulders to carry the donkey, and proceeded onto the bridge which led into town.

About halfway across the bridge the man lost his balance, fell, and the donkey went tumbling over the edge of the bridge and died in the rushing river below.

Moral of the Story: If you try to please everybody, you'll just end up losing your ass.

(That was one of my favorite stories as a young kid, although I can't remember now where I first heard it. And truthfully, probably part of the attraction was that I could get away with saying "ass" without having my mouth washed out with soap. You know, since it was technically in reference to the animal and not the anatomy, and since that's the biblical term for the animal and all. My mom probably still didn't really like her well-mannered-lady-in-training telling this story, but I had a pretty strong argument.)

My fellow people-pleasers, repeat the moral of the story over and over until it sticks. It would please me greatly. (And not that I've been able to give up my people-pleasing ways or anything, but I have faith in the rest of you.)


Justin said...

I remember exactly where you heard that story. That was from a taped sermon that we both listened to many times during our childhood. By the way, the donkey's name in that sermon was "Heiney", thus the preacher was able to circumvent any consternation that may have arisen among the congregation from using the word "ass" as a double-entendre.

*Irony alert*
Was the preacher using the word "Heiney" to avoid displeasing people?

Emily said...

Oh man. That means I added "ass" all on my own. Wow, I was a brazen little thing!

Thanks for helping out my memory Jus!

Amanda said...

Justin, you are a hoot! Do y'all remember who the preacher was?

justin said...

Sorry Amanda, my memory isn't quite that good. I bet the tape is still laying in a dusty corner somewhere.