A Dead White Mule: A Parable from Friar Jeauxseph

Subject: re: joel's noetaphobia
From: jeauxy@earthlink.net (Bobby Matherne)
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 20:04:50 -0800

Tom Mellett wrote:

> I'd call on Brother Bobby to help you out, too, since he is very
> keen on helping all of us recover from our own deep-seated cultural
> addiction to Latinized thinking. Hey, we might could start a real
> "self-help" movement here and maybe somehow Joel, you could turn your moral
> behaviorism back on itself so that it would cancel in a Zen Buddhist kind
> of way and then you could start thinking free thoughts for yourself instead
> of trying to infect us all with your virulent ideologies.

Dear Father Tom and Friends in Crisis:

I just came from meditating on my miraculous St. Paulina medal [after carefully washing the tears off it] and came up with the following:

Our prodigal son does not have noetaphobia [the pervasive fear of thinking for oneself] but he has a deep seated "noetall", a mild form of megalomania, for which there is no known cure, but that reminds me of a story.

My friend Mal and I were heading to a business meeting in Hattiesburg one summer day when the interstate was blocked and Mal said, "Let's get off of this parking lot --I know a back road." So off we went on this two-lane road with contrails of red dust like a rooster comb on a jet-ski flying behind us. Suddenly Mal slammed us to a rut-digging crunch of a stop. I awoke from my afternoon attempt at a nap, "What's wrong?"

"Look," Mal said, "there's a white mule lying across the road, and from the flies and the smell, I suspect it's been dead a few hours." We took off our suit coats and walked out into the steaming heat to inspect the surprise package that was blocking our pathway. "Phewee! It stinks," Mal said. We looked and we couldn't drive over it or around it. We were stuck. We could try to turn the car around and drive for an hour back to a blocked interstate or try to move the mule. We hefted and strained and couldn't get it to budge.

We took a break, and wondered what we'd do next when Mal spotted a strapping country bumpkin sitting on a porch who had been watching us intensely and said, "Let's go ask him to help us."

So we did and he consented to help us move the dead mule and with a lot of straining, sweating and tugging we moved it out of our way. We pulled out our wallets to pay him for his help, and the kid said, with a funny lisp, "Hey, I didn't ask for any money. I helped you and I'd like you to help me."

"Sure, anything," we chimed in, and were soon to be sorry that we did. "What is it you want?"

The kid began to talk and we suddenly realized he was a couple of Kilobytes short of a MEG. "You see, I'm been sitting on my porch, rocking away all day, looking at that dead mule, and I been hatching a plan. I want you to help me to drag that dead white mule up to the house, through the hallway, and set him up on the john in the back of the house."

"What!!??" We were incredulous -- but the kid was adamant, bigger than us, and we had after all gave our word to help him, so we dragged the dead beast as he requested and set it up on the john. We said goodbye and as we walked off, Mal said to me, "What a crazy kid!"

The bumpkin heard that remark and ran over and cut us off, saying, "Wait a minute! You don't know anything about me. I live here with my brother who works at the TG&Y in Picayune. He goes off to work in the big city everyday and thinks he's so smart that he won't even listen to me. Everytime I tell him something he says he already heard it in town. Mr. Charlie's barn burnt down last week and when my brother got home, I told him and he said he heard it at work. He thinks he knows everything.

"Why just the other day, I told him that the school bus didn't pick up the little kids for school, and he said, 'I know that.' and it WASN'T EVEN TRUE. I just made it up! He gets me so mad. So as I was sitting on the porch just a rocking away, I hatched me up a plan."

"What do you mean?" we asked.

"Well, you see, everyday when he comes home from work, he's been drinking a six-pack on the way home, so the first thing he does is go straight to the back of the house to take a leak. Well, today when he does it, he's gonna see that white mule staring at him and he's gonna come screaming through the house, slam open the screen door and yell at me, who will be rocking away on my chair, "DO YOU KNOW THERE'S A DEAD MULE ON THE TURLET?"

I'm gonna take another rock or two and look up at him with a smile, and say


Friar Jeauxseph


Bobby Matherne--jeauxy@earthlink.net -- New Orleans, Louisiana
Good Mtn Press Books: http://home.earthlink.net/~jeauxy/
-- Good Books for Good Reading --

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