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September 5, 2012

The Shark and the Warthog, a Fable

By Kevin Tully

Thinking about this political season. Sometimes a certain situation or aspect of life is better handled with allegory.

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Republican Convention by npr

There lived a shark in the tepid waters off the coast of a rather large continent.   He swam and ate and attended meetings where he was taught that he could rise above his present surroundings.   He was taught that he was better than most other marine life.   He was superior to an eel or scallop.  

He believed.   One day as he was, rather messily, devouring an eel he looked up and saw a splendid palm tree decorated with beautiful tiki lights. The shark knew then what he must do.   He knew it was his destiny to lie at the base of the splendid palm tree and bask in the wonderful glow of the beautiful tiki lights.   For he had been told many, many times in the meetings that he was sleek and chosen for greatness.   He knew that he could rise out of the waters and light the beach with the brilliance of his sleekness, illuminated by the beautiful tiki lights.   He believed.

So, the very next day the shark attended the meeting, kissed his mother, hugged the speaker and swam off to find the splendid palm tree.   He became lost and swam in circles for hours until an eel, well concealed in a coral forest, spoke to him.

"Hey there Mr. Shark you appear to be lost -- can I be of assistance?"   

"No", replied the shark, "I need no help from someone like you."  

"Ok, but if you would simply tell me what you are looking for, possibly I could steer you in the right direction" said the eel, slowly poking his head out of the coral forest.

"Absolutely not, I know your type -- you would lead me astray.   Anyway, you eels know nothing of the splendid palm tree decorated with the beautiful tiki lights", replied the shark with a frown.

"Sure we do, look up, the palm tree -- it's right over your head!"

And sure enough, right above the shark and the coral forest was a splendid palm tree decorated with beautiful tiki lights.  The shark was startled and then so very excited to have found the splendid palm tree. 

He swam in circles preparing himself for the great leap out of the ocean.   Then he abruptly stopped and swam angrily at the eel.  

"That can't be the splendid palm tree, you eels know nothing of the splendid palm tree", shouted the shark.

"Sure we do", said the eel, "We love to tell stories to our children by its beautiful light almost each and every night."

"Well then, that palm tree above cannot be the splendid palm tree", hissed the shark, swimming haughtily away to search for the splendid palm tree decorated with the beautiful tiki lights.  

The shark swam and swam for many days in search of the splendid palm tree.   Sad, tired and confused the shark was just about to give up his search when he happened upon a relative he had not seen for quite a long time. 

"Oh, cousin Hammerhead, I am so glad to see you -- I have been lost for many days", gasped the shark, "I have failed to find the splendid palm tree decorated with the beautiful tiki lights."

"Cousin Shark it is such a delight to see you again.   The splendid palm tree...of course, I too went in search of it.   And lo, I found it!   It is just a short swim up the coast.   I will take you there cousin.   However, it has been a very hard year for me and mine.   Could you possibly hunt for me today?   I'm so very tired after all my tribulations.   If you would just gift me with a small eel or a few scallops -- I will gladly lead you to the splendid palm tree," answered the hammerhead, piously.

"Certainly cousin, I will gladly bring you a big fat eel and a dozen scallops!" replied the shark, swimming giddily away in search of a big fat eel and a nice bed of lazy scallops.  

After the hammerhead had finished his wonderful meal of eel and scallops he asked the shark if he would indulge him and let him take a short nap before setting off in search of the splendid palm tree.   The shark happily agreed and he too fell fast asleep in the warm currents.

The shark dreamed a large, perfect dream of basking in the wonderful glow of the beautiful tiki lights with hermit crabs, gulls and rays marveling at his sleekness.   However, when he awoke his cousin Hammerhead was nowhere in sight.   He was quickly overtaken by anxiety and fear, "Oh cousin how could you desert me, now I will never find the splendid palm tree", he wailed into the crystal clear waters. 

Forlorn and depleted in spirit, the shark decided to return home and to the comfort of the meeting.   He hadn't swum for more than a piece of a mile when he came upon his cousin, Hammerhead, deep in conversation with a chattering porpoise.   The shark was confused, yet excited that now he would be shown the way to the splendid palm tree.

"Hello cousin, I thought you had abandoned me, I thought I would never find my destiny", exclaimed the shark, looking down his snout at the cheerful porpoise.

"Why are you conversing with this chattering mammal?   They have no seriousness or steadfastness in their nature -- a bunch of clowns is what they are!" said the shark, showing his many teeth.

"Oh cousin, so glad to see that you have finally awakened.   I was just heading back to wake you", replied Hammerhead, winking a dark eye at the knowing porpoise.  "However, now there is no need, you are here, look up cousin -- there is the special palm tree!" said Hammerhead.  

The shark startled and confused again, looked up.   "No, no that is not the splendid palm tree decorated with beautiful tiki lights,   No, no this cannot be it -- where are the beautiful tiki lights?   Cousin, surely this cannot be it?" said the shark, looking up dejectedly at the very ordinary, yet beautiful palm tree.

"Oh my nervous and doubting little cousin, don't you see, it is early and the bountiful tiki lights have yet to show."   Explained Hammerhead, winking his other dark, outlying eye at the snickering porpoise.

"Are you certain cousin?" asked the shark.

"Oh most definitely," replied Hammerhead. 

"But cousin how can you be so sure?" said the shark, sadly.

"Cousin, do you doubt me?" asked hammerhead.   "Remember years ago when I was visiting the family and your wonderful mother explained to me and my girl how we, although sharks, were different and would not be welcome at the meeting and remember how your dad teased me about my "hammer" head -- pretending to be driving a nail.   How did I respond cousin?"

"Yes I remember, you laughed it off, then you gave Mom a big hug," said the shark.

"Yes sir, I laughed, but I didn't doubt your dear mother's words.   I was glad to know that I was different.   I never doubted.   Are you doubting me now?" asked Hammerhead, his right dorsal fin resting on the shark's back.

"Doubting you...I guess I am, but the palm tree...I can't see any tiki lights", replied the shark.

"Not to worry my little cousin, have faith -- leap!" shouted Hammerhead, nodding at the grinning porpoise.

The shark hesitated for only a moment, then swam in ever tightening circles finally breaking the surface of the sea with tremendous force, landing ecstatic and exhausted at the base of the beautiful palm tree.   However it was quite different than he had expected, the ground was gravelly and strewn with sharp rocks, there was no soft and welcoming sand. There were no tiki lights to light the beach with the brilliance of his sleekness.   There were no gulls.   There were no hermit crabs.   There were no rays.   The shark was now bewildered and alone.   Then he heard a great rustling in the underbrush, just beyond the beach's edge.

"Well, boys, what have we here?" loudly bellowed a large bristly warthog peeking from the tall abrasive coastal grass, trailed by a garrulous single file line of five adolescent warthogs.

"Who's there?" inquired the shark, nervously trashing side to side, trying to catch a glimpse of who or what was behind him.

"Quiet now boys -- this could be dinner", whispered the warthog to his fidgety line of curious sons.

"Hello, hello there sir you appear to be stranded.   Need some help?", answered the warthog from the tall grass.

"Yes, it appears that I have found my way to the wrong beach and the wrong palm tree", answered the very uncomfortable shark.

"Just what were you looking for sir?   What is the right palm tree?", asked the warthog.

"I've come in search of the splendid palm tree with the beautiful tiki lights, do you know of its whereabouts?   I am sure that it must be close by", said the shark, trying to hide his great disappointment and fear.  

"Certainly I do, I know just where the splendid palm tree with the beautiful tiki lights is", hollered the warthog, desperately trying to refrain from laughing.

"Well then, please show yourself.   I have a destiny to fulfill and soon it will be dark!", shouted the shark, regaining some of his youthful hubris. 

The warthog turned and passed up and down the roiling line of little fellows, admonishing them to stay put and be quiet.   He then slowly and deliberately left the safety of the tall grass, approaching the large, toothsome stranger -- testing the many aromas, plowing his snout through the gravel and snorting at the horizon.   Keeping a safe distance, he determined where the eye of this large fish was and squatted in, what he thought, was the beast's line of sight.   He was right.

"Oh my goodness, sir, is that...are you the who that I have been speaking to?" inquired the shark, greatly disturbed by the appearance of his possible savior.  

"Yes, it's me.   The splendid palm tree is just up the beach -- I can see the beautiful tiki lights just beginning to twinkle", replied the mischevious warthog.   "I will lead you there first thing in the morning when the surf is higher and you can be moved more easily in that direction."   This was not true of course; the warthog was very simply going to wait until the shark had no more oxygen in his gills.

"You don't understand, you pimply, misshapen, hideous little man, I am destined to light the beach with the brilliance of my sleekness, illuminated by the beautiful tiki lights",   cried out the shark, tears of anger and despair running down his drying sharkskin.

When the happy, sated family had had their fill, the two youngest warthogs waddled down to the waters edge, sat ploppily down on their warty haunches and watched, giggily, as down the beach a small child in a bright orange flowered shirt and shorts fed the remnants of a wonderful hot dog to a couple of gulls, a hermit crab and a school of rays playing at the oceans edge under the bright green fronds of a splendid palm tree with beautiful tiki lights.   The older of the two warthogs burped, his little brother laughed loudly and they trotted back towards the tall grass, across the gravelly ground.



Submitters Website: http://www.facebook.com/FrindsOfLyndonJohnsonCityArt?ref=hl

Submitters Bio:

Kevin is (writing about yourself in the third person (illeism) is a trip) an artist/writer/carpenter and frustrated songwriter living in Johnson City, Texas. His latest frustrating songwriting attempt is titled, "I Touched the Hand That Touched the Hand That Willie Touched", it, according to Kevin, is about falling in love for all the wrong reasons. Kevin is also a closet subversive. He claims he'll come out of the closet as soon as handguns are no longer popular. Kevin is a loud, obnoxious Texan and hopes that this will be held against him -- "It makes life so much harder and interesting when traveling outside of the Lone Star State." Kevin used to be a Golf columnist. He says life as a Golf columnist is not a whole lot different than life not as a Golf columnist. Kevin is sure that Jesus was indeed a Socialist. Kevin founded a short-lived organization, "FOXNO", with a mandate to get Fox News off the air. It got very little traction and as a result, over the ensuing years, Fox has propagandized a very significant portion of American television viewers, which, if unchecked, could destroy this country and the world. Kevin's Father thought Kevin was prone to hyperbole. Kevin wishes everyone would read "A Pilgrim At Tinker Creek", "In Watermelon Sugar" and all the poetry of Carl Sandberg. Kevin once, when drunk, argued, "America is not a city on a hill" for two hours, because "America is not a city, it's a rather large landmass that used to belong to Indians and porcupines!" Kevin once yelled out at a "Chicago' concert, "Steinbeck is God!" Kevin does not suffer fools or assh**es, usually. In 1969 he had a neighbor that was an assh**le who, although an assh**le, was enchanted with the Space Program and the prospect of man walking on the moon. Kevin and his best friend, Tommy, tied thread around a pinecone and at the designated hour, threw the pinecone over the neighbor's television antennae and shook it like hell -- the assh**le neighbor missed Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon. Kevin says that every time he watched Michael Jackson moonwalk he would be reminded of his assh**le neighbor and he would laugh like hell. Most folks that know Kevin would say that he hasn't changed. Kevin Lives in President Lyndon Johnson's hometown. Kevin, along with a few others, is trying to expose Lyndon Johnson for his equivocated humanity and possible good intentions. Kevin is pondering a short story about power and its surprises titled, "Kings Can Dance." When asked about current politics Kevin simply answers, "Trump is a turd." Kevin would like for me to express his gratitude to you for taking the time to read the above stuff and to say, "good be on you."

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