I think the oil spill is getting us to think more about about what humankind has done to the other living creatures that make up the Gulf’s biosphere. As I was searching for something completely different (the source of the joke “Death or Moobli” which I laughed heartily over as a read a book on conversation that I picked up at the Shepherdstown Library… I’ll repeat it further down the post), I discovered this small video entitled “Tortoise helps tortoise”:
We see that in its slow-motion way, a tortoise actually rescues one of its kind… evaluates the situation, gets into position and pulls off a turnover.
I’m not sure what the human response would be in the same situation. I mean, after all, we can talk and evaluate things…
“Are you drunk?”
“What’s it worth to you?”
“Look… if I have time…I’ll send someone.”
Is this an opportunity to take someone’s territory? Steal their wallet? Laugh at their situation?
And so the joke (thanks to Daniel Menaker in “A Good Talk”):
Two missionaries are captured by a tribe of natives deep in the heart of the jungle. They are tied up to poles and surrounded by dancing tribe members and it doesn’t look too good for them. Finally, the Chief stops the dancing, faces the two missionaries and says:
“You have a choice. Death or Moobli?” (Why the Chief speaks English, I don’t know.)
One missionary, thinking that death has got to be the worst choice, asks for Moobli. The Chief raises his hand and the tribal members untie the missionary from the post and proceed to beat him, strip him of his clothes, yell insults at him, urinate and defecate on him, make him run through a double line of the tribe’s children who pelt him with stones and finally they leave him sobbing in a pile of garbage. He is shattered, a broken man, and goes insane.
The second missionary, seeing what has happened to the first, decides that it would be better to be dead than go through the horrible and unbearable punishment that his associate had, looks at the Chief and says;
“I choose Death!”
The Chief raises his arms and says: “Death!…. But first, Moobli!”
Hopefully, I haven’t ruined it in the retelling. This tells me a lot about what life is like among people.