by M. V.
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
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!
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
parable of the DVD
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
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
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
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.