Oh, the lies we tell ourselves! And others, come to that

Whilst recently discussing reading material with a book-loving work colleague, who, like myself frequently finds herself mysteriously inundated with well-thumbed tomes, I ventured that she – like myself – might benefit from the purchase of a Kindle. Initially replying in the affirmative, she swiftly backtracked, qualifying with ‘…I do most of my reading in the bath so it’s probably not a good idea, and,’ – blush! ‘… ‘I’m sorry, that’s not an image you want in your head, is it?’

Umm… talk about a redundant apology! Me being a young(ish) red-blooded hetero and the lady in question somewhat of what is referred to in ‘adult entertainment/dating’ circles as a MILF (and if you don’t recognise that particular acronym them I guess you don’t move in adult entertainment/dating circles; but you’ve heard of Google, right?)…

But I’m digressing before I’ve even got properly started: it’s not adult entertainment that’s the subject of this short missive – quite the opposite, in fact. I hadn’t thought of Æsop’s Fables in years, until a complementary download of the same (plus Treasure Island and Pride and Predjudice) arrived in a bundle with my Kindle for PC app. How, I wondered, could I have forgotten these? If you were a kid of my generation, you couldn’t have been oblivious to these classics: children’s entertainment of the first order – albeit enetertainment with a serious – moral – purpose. Think Michael Crichton for kids. Geese and Golden Eggs; Hares and Tortoises; A Boy Crying Wolf – how could one forget these concise, erudite, pithy distractions, each concluding with those famous last words ‘…and the MORAL of this story is…’

And thus, beside scholarly and parental contrivances of right and wrong; before, sex, secrecy and shame came into the conscious equation; I learned the most important lesson about morals I was ever going to get – and lesson is the operative word here…

Æsop‘s characters get on with the business of their daily lives to varying degrees of success – but mostly by fucking up spectacularly. Furthermore – and crucially – they show that mistakes are not only NOT the end of the world but that they may actually have something worthwhile to teach us. Æsop‘s menagerie of furred and feathered protagonists don’t ingest their code of ethics ‘by the book’ (Good, bad or indifferent) or by rote: they live and learn; which is exactly how it should be – hence the ‘irony’ tag on this post. Æsop’s Fables were never meant to prescribe our morality – or proscribe immorality, for that matter – so much as to teach us that morality is something we must learn for ourselves. (In an age when ‘lessons learned’ has become trite workplace jargon – oft-recited, rarely observed; it’s comforting to be taken back to a time when our less-formed minds were more receptive). What they can do – and did do in my case – is plant a seed in our minds that continues to grow, quietly and unobserved whilst our minds were occupied with other, more immediate things. My primary school headmaster – an Æsop devotee by the name of Ralph Davies – was especially fond of the Golden Rule of ‘Do unto others…’ and I’d like to tell you I understood what that meant on first hearing, but if I did you wouldn’t believe me and rightly so. Hell, I’m still learning that one, although I’d venture that I’m getting a lot better at it. Well, a bit…

Whether the lady featuring in my (pervy little) opening anecdote was fishing for a compliment; being blandly self-deprecating or genuinely failed to perceive her own attractiveness I can’t be sure; nor from what manner of fable she acquired the habit. I would however, quite happily have done unto her as I’d have her do unto me right there and then, which some folk might consider decidedly immoral 😉

Æbsolutely Fabulist!

One response »

  1. I’m thrilled to have found your blog and I would like to present you with a Sunshine Award! If you need more information I will be posting about this with a link to your site on 29th Nov. xx

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