The Ant and the Merchant

At a large metropolitan airport one summer’s day a Merchant was conducting business on his cell phone. An Ant passed by, bearing a great ear of corn, which he was taking to the nest.

“I am collecting food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you do the same.”

The Merchant, who was on his phone, ignored the Ant, saying: “If it was my work email, I didn’t see it this morning, but I can probably check again here in a few minutes. No, I think it’ll be fine. I do sort of wish we’d circled back to them on this, but we should be good for now. Hold on a minute, I’m going through security.”

The Ant waited patiently.

“Okay, you there?” said the Merchant. “So, the last thing is, we’ll just have to check in with Corporate to make sure they’re set on the server upgrade, and we should be good to go.”

The Ant grew tired of this and went on his way.

When the winter came, the Ant had plenty of corn from the stores he had collected in the summer.

As a result of his successful business practices, the Merchant also had plenty of food, as well as a large house, two cars, and five vintage Stratocasters. He spent his winter evenings eating takeout and watching Law and Order, taking occasional breaks to dick around on his guitars and google girls he knew in high school.

Moral: Always make sure Corporate knows about the server upgrade.

- - -

The Tortoise, the Hare, and the Ninth-Grade Goth Chick

The Hare was boasting of his speed before the other animals. “I have never been beaten,” said he, “and I challenge anyone here to race me.”

The Tortoise said quietly, “I accept your challenge.”

“My mom sucks,” said the Ninth-Grade Goth Chick to no one in particular, as she sat on the nearby bleachers and lit a cigarette. “She tries to be all, ‘I totally get your music,’ but all she knows is that one Siouxsie song from that movie.”

“I shall dance ‘round you all the way,” said the Hare to the Tortoise.

“Hold your boasting till you’ve won,” answered the Tortoise.

“Great, we get it, you’re both total jocks,” said the Ninth-Grade Goth Chick.

“Put that out and get changed, Lindsey,” said the Gym Teacher.

“This school sucks,” said the Ninth-Grade Goth Chick, as she angrily stamped out her cigarette.

The race began, and soon the Hare was so far ahead that he lay down to take a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and on, and when the Hare awoke, he saw the Tortoise at the finish line and could not run up in time to save the race.

Moral: Try something a lot darker, like Skinny Puppy, Christian Death, Throbbing Gristle, or maybe In the Flat Field -era Bauhaus.

- - -

The Fox, the Goat, and the Hiker

A Fox one day fell into a well and could find no means of escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and the Fox indulged in a lavish praise of the water.

“It is excellent beyond measure,” said the Fox, “you should descend and see for yourself.”

The Goat, who had been fooled before by the Fox, replied, “How can I be sure this is not another one of your tricks?”

“Holy fucking shit,” said the Hiker, who had stumbled upon this scene after ingesting a large number of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Moral: When ‘shrooms first start kicking in, you may really feel like going outside, but it might be better to stay home and listen to music for the first few hours.

- - -

The Fox and the Stork

At one time the Fox and the Stork were on visiting terms and seemed very good friends. So the Fox invited the Stork to dinner, and for a joke put nothing before her but some soup in a shallow dish. This the Fox could easily drink, but the Stork could only wet the end of her long bill, and left hungry.

Soon, a day was appointed when the Fox should visit the Stork. When they were seated, the Fox found his dinner was contained in a long-necked jar with a narrow mouth, in which he could not insert his snout.

“Very funny,” said the Fox. “Now can you get me a straw or something?”

“Oh, sure, but it’s funny when you do it?” said the Stork.

“I told you, it was a joke,” said the Fox. “I called the next day and offered to buy you lunch.”

“You know what?” said the Stork. “I don’t need this. Things are crazy at work, and I don’t have time to babysit you and your fragile psyche.”

The Fox left angrily, and the Stork immediately went to her computer and blocked him on Facebook.

Moral: Remaining friends with your exes can be tricky.

- - -

The Dog and the Goat

A Dog was walking through a field when he came upon a Goat. “Good day,” said the Dog to the Goat. “What brings you to my field on such a fine morning?”

As they were actual animals, rather than anthropomorphized personality traits intended to teach moral lessons, the Dog’s words were just a bunch of barking. The Goat bolted across the road, ending up on the ridge behind the Baker place. The Goat’s owner then called Animal Control, even though the Dog’s owner knew about the pot plants in the former’s greenhouse, which he had always been cool about, though that may change real soon.

Moral: Per County Code 37.4.1, owners must make sure their dogs are properly tagged and either leashed or under voice control at all times.

- - -

The Deer, the Wolf, the Bear, and the Performers

One afternoon, in the forest, a Deer was stopped on his travels by a Wolf. “Tarry a while,” said the Wolf, “so that we may dine together.” The Deer was suspicious, saying, “Not long ago I found myself being pursued by you. Why do you now invite me to dinner?”

Just at that moment, a Bear stepped into the clearing. “I overheard your conversation,” said the Bear, “and I propose that we all dine together.”

An Actor then stepped into the clearing. “My name is Woody Harrelson,” said the Actor, “and as a vegan, I’d suggest you all consider a more plant-based diet.”

A Musician then stepped into the clearing. “My name is Ted Nugent,” said the Musician, “and you can all go fuck yourselves.” And with that, he shot all four of them with a high-powered rifle and immediately took a picture with his phone and posted it on Twitter.

Moral: 4:31pm COME GET SOME! great day #hunting, proud to be an #american

4:34pm @DaveMustaine right on thanks brother!

5:38pm @GoCialis discrete my ASS your name was all over the package

9:42pm @GuyFieri marinade was OK, venison and bear were fine, wolf and hippie too gamey

- - -

The Cat, the Dog, the Scholar, the Goats, and the Athlete

One day, a Cat saw a Dog approaching. Being devious, he hid behind a doorway, intending to leap out and do the Dog harm. As the Dog drew close, the Cat pounced, not noticing the screen door that stood between him and his quarry. He became entangled in the now broken screen, and the Dog escaped.

“The GIF format is a peculiar product of our digital era,” said the scholar from his spot near the projector, as the Cat and Dog replayed their scene. “It is precisely the small file size and limited fidelity of the format that makes it so easy to share; in a sense, its disposability is the source of its permanence.”

“This class blows Goats,” said the Athlete to his girlfriend sitting next to him.

“Ultimately,” continued the Scholar, “we have a tree-in-the-forest scenario: if a GIF exists on a server as a string of code, does its time-based element—its animation—exist even when no one is viewing it? Does data have a life of its own?”

With that, the class ended, and the students filed out of the lecture hall. The Scholar stood for a long time alone at the podium, watching the scene between the Cat and Dog play out again and again. The silence in the hall was so profound that he could hear his watch, ticking away the seconds and hours of his life. Troubled, he closed his laptop, plunging the screen above him into a brilliant blue.

Meanwhile, the Athlete was getting a pretty sweet handy from his girlfriend behind the Econ building.

Moral: Forget History of Digital Media and take Bronstein’s ethics class instead. He’s kind of a tool but it’s an easy A.