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Three Stories With Morals
by M. V. Montgomery

parable of the t-shirt

A man once had a favorite t-shirt. When he was not at work, he wore it everywhere, running errands, mowing his grass, going into town, etc.

One day, he decided to visit the community pool, and, since he had sensitive skin, left the shirt on the whole time. The next morning, as he did his laundry, he received a most unpleasant shock: his beloved shirt had turned green!

Flash-forward several months. The man has not been the same since. After seeking to remove the stain many times, he has given up. The once-lovely shirt is now deployed as a cleaning rag.

The man uses the rag many times to clean his kitchen floor with cleansers redolent of pine. He uses it many times to clean his bathroom floor with powerful bleaches. Yet, throughout this period, he feels as though part of his life is missing.

One day, as he lifts the rag out of the cleaning bucket to wring it dry, he feels a strange exhilaration. Excitedly, he spreads the rag out and holds it up to the light. Yes: all of the green is gone.  The beloved t-shirt has been restored!

Moral: Love will find a way.

parable of the DVD player

An absent-minded professor comes to the end of his fall term, and, after much self-scrutiny, decides that he needs to unwind. So he goes to the video store, and bypassing the Classic movie section for the nonce, voyages out into the New Releases.

As it happens, it is just the season for the release of the summer blockbusters. Somewhat guiltily, the professor chooses a DVD title featuring superheroes from 1950s comic books and takes it to the counter.

Then he brings it home and places it into his DVD player. After a mistrial or two, and after having navigated many unfamiliar buttons and screens, he somehow gets the movie to play.

The plot starts out typically enough, with a jump right into a chase scene and a spectacular explosion. The professor settles back into his chair to ride this audience-grabber out.

But what happens next causes him to freeze. The director begins talking over the scene, giving information about the logistics of filming the explosion, the need to protect the actors, to coordinate with stunt doubles, etc. The professor can hardly believe his ears!

And then, in an even more Brechtian development, one of the principal actors begins to lend his own perspective, and a meta-dialogue develops between director and actor. The excited professor believes he has stumbled upon a poststructuralist bonanza!

Moral: You used to be able to watch this sort of thing for a nickel.

parable of the princess cruise

A man on a Princess Cruise stumbles a bit while coming on deck. A lovely woman in a sunhat asks him if he has gotten his “sea legs” yet.

Mystified, the man says nothing but begins to circulate strategically among the other passengers, asking them if they know where he can find a pair of sea legs. They just smile, rather unhelpfully, and tell him to keep on walking.

Moral: What an idiot.