The Famous Jackass Story
by Damon Fordham
On a cool Fall afternoon after school had ended for the day, Lucas Moore went home to find out that his mother had not returned from work yet. So as he usually did when this happened, he went next door to the home of Mr. Ernest Potts, who served as Lucas' "grandfather figure" since Lucas' father had died.
Lucas entered the Potts' home as the old man began to light his pipe and Mrs. Lucinda Potts was boiling a pot of coffee on the stove, filling the house with a distinct aroma. "How ya doing, Luke?" said the old man as Mrs. Potts embraced the boy and proceeded to fix him a ham sandwich.
"Pretty good, sir," replied Lucas as he took off his jacket and sat in front of the television. As the old man entered the room, he noticed Lucas admiring a commercial for the new $300 "Bobby Bildiger" designer warm-up suits. "Man," said Lucas as Mrs. Potts brought him his sandwich, "that Bobby Bildiger stuff is the bomb!"
"The bomb?" asked Mr. Potts.
"That's modern talk for 'with it,'" replied Mrs. Potts, "You need to learn what time it is." she said to the old man while giving Lucas a knowing wink. Mr. Potts shook his fist in mock anger at his wife as she went back to the kitchen.
"Well anyway," continued the old man," Ain't no way your mama can afford nothing like that! Besides, it don't make sense to spend that kind of money on something you gonna outgrow next week. I bet that Bobby Bildiger don't pay near that much to put his name on them clothes!"
"But Mr. Potts," protested Lucas, "all the other kids have Bobby Bildiger clothes, and.."
"And all their mamas and daddies going broke behind them too!" injected the old man. "So you wanna wear stuff like that just to impress people who ain't putting food in your belly or a roof over your head, huh? Well, let me tell you what happens to people like that. You ever heard of Aesop?"
"No, sir." replied Lucas as Mrs. Potts began to listen, "Who's he?"
"I swear, they don't teach y'all nothing in school no more!" said Mr. Potts as he relit his pipe. "Anyway, Aesop was a slave that lived way back in Greece around 2,000 years ago. He used to tell these stories called "Aesop's Fables" that explained why people do such stupid stuff. He used to tell so much truth with these stories that some people got mad at him and threw him off a cliff and he died."
"What does this have to do with Bobby Bildiger?" wondered Lucas to himself.
"So anyway," continued Mr. Potts as he straightened his glasses, "one of Aesop's Fables was "The Famous Jackass Story." Lucas laughed as the old man continued, "Boy, don't you laugh at that, a jackass is an animal! You know I got better sense than to curse around little children! So you see, there was this fella that was gonna take a long trip, and since they didn't have no cars in those days, he put all his food and stuff on his jackass before he left."
Lucas laughed again and Mr. Potts said, "What I tell you about that laughing, boy?" Lucas immdediately wiped the smile from his face.
"That's better," continued the old man." So this fella started walking down the road with the jackass carrying all his stuff on his back when somebody says , 'HEY! That jackass is too little to carry that stuff all by himself. You need to carry it yourself instead!' Then the dumb fool says 'Yeah, that's a good idea!' and took the packages off the jackass' back and carried them himself."
"While this fool was straining himself trying to carry all these packages, another fella came down the road and said, 'HEY- why you killing yourself trying to cally that stuff, Put it on that jackass, that's what he's there for!' Then our ignorant friend says,'Uh, yeah, I guess he's right!' and puts the stuff back on the jackass."
"The ignorant fool walks a few more miles with the jackass when still another fella comes by and says, 'Man, you sure are lazy! A big, strong man like you need to take all them things off of that poor little jackass and carry the packages AND the jackass yourself!' So wouldn't you know, our fool friend bent down and hoists the jackass AND his stuff up on his back?"
"This dumb bunny straddled down the road straining and sweating, carrying the poor little jackass while he's kicking and heehawing on his back along with the packages. The people who saw this fool started to point and laugh at his stupid behind. Our friend finally made it to a small wooden bridge and the people started to shout,"Go across! Go across! Go across!'. Don't you know our friend was so dumb that he started to cross that little bridge with both the jackass and the packages, and all of a sudden, that little bridge went CRACK! So both the fool, the jackass, and the packages went down in the water while the people laughed and said, 'look at those two jackasses!'"
Lucas laughed while the old man smiled and said, "Yeah, Luke. That's a pretty funny story, but it has a serious point. You see, just like this man was so dumb that he did everything that people in the street told him to do without thinking for himself, it would be just as fool for your mama and some of these parents to throw their money away on clothes with Bobby Bildiger's name on it that you might outgrow or might go out of style next week. Meanwhile, Bobby's living in a mansion while y'all can't pay the rent! So the moral of the story is-when you try to please EVERYBODY, you end up pleasing NOBODY!"
Just then, Lucas' mother stopped by to take her son home and thanked the Potts' for minding him. After this, the old man went to the kitchen to drink some coffee when his wife said, "Nice story, Ernie. But you could have used another example."
"What are you talking about?" asked Mr. Potts as he blew the steam from his coffee.
"Mrs. Potts replied, "Ernest Alexander Potts, you mean to tell me that you forgot that time you bought that Cadillac 'cause all the other fellas had one, and we was nearly put out in the street for not paying the mortgage?"
"Aw, hush up and let me drink my coffee in peace!" shouted Mr. Potts as he proceeded to do just that.