November 18, 2005

How it's really done

A travelling salesman, finding himself driving through sparsely populated farmland after dark, decided that since there seemed to be no hope of finding a hotel, he would appeal to one of the local farmers for lodging. So he pulled off the country road and drove up the long driveway to the nearest farmhouse, got out of his car, climbed the steps to the front door, and knocked.

The farmer was more than happy to put the salesman up for the night, having a very nice guest room on the ground floor. After a good home-cooked meal and a belt of whiskey over conversation in the den, it was time to turn in. The farmer told the salesman, "Just before you go to bed, there's something I have to show you."

He led the salesman up a flight of stairs, through a wooden door, up a flight of stairs, through a steel door, up a flight of stairs, through a wooden door, up a flight of stairs, through a steel door, up a flight of stairs, through a wooden door, up a flight of stairs, through a steel door, and up a flight of stairs and through a big, heavy reinforced steel door into a very large room on the top floor of his farmhouse. This room was completely empty except for a steel cage in its exact centre. Sitting in the cage was a big, sullen pink gorilla.

"This is the most important thing I have to tell you," said the farmer, sternly. "You are more than welcome to stay the night. My house is your house. But, I must warn you: whatever you do, no matter how tempted you are, do not touch the gorilla."

So the farmer and the salesmen left the big room, went through the big, heavy reinforced steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs and down the hall to the guest room, where the farmer said goodnight to the salemen and then turned in himself.

Despite the comfortable warmth of the room and the softness of the farmer's excellent guest bed, the salesman found it impossible to sleep. Try as he might, he just couldn't take his mind off the pink gorilla or what possible reason the farmer might have to forbid him to touch it. He tossed and turned for an hour. Finally, he could stand it no longer. Pulling on his robe, he left the guest room and went down the hall, up the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, up the flight of stairs, through the steel door, up the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, up the flight of stairs, through the steel door, up the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, up the flight of stairs, through the steel door, up the flight of stairs, through the big, heavy reinforced steel door and into the big room with the gorilla in the cage in the exact centre.

He reached out his hand to touch the gorilla. But at the last minute he came to his senses. "What am I doing?" he said. "This farmer gave me a bed for the night and only told me not to do this one thing. How can I go against his wishes like this?" So he left the big room, went through the big, heavy reinforced steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs and down the hall and back to the guest room, where he doffed his robe and got back into bed.

But again, the salesman could not sleep, because no matter what he tried, he could not stop thinking about the pink gorilla. After tossing and turning for another two hours, again he got out of bed, put on his robe, left the guest room and went down the hall, up the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, up the flight of stairs, through the steel door, up the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, up the flight of stairs, through the steel door, up the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, up the flight of stairs, through the steel door, up the flight of stairs, through the big, heavy reinforced steel door and into the big room where the morose pink gorilla glared at him from the cage in the exact centre.

This time, the salesman gave in to temptation, reached through the bars of the cage, and touched the pink gorilla. It was very nice and very soft. But suddenly the pink gorilla was somehow energized. It got to its feet, grasped the cage bars, and to the salesman's great shock, the cage door was unlocked and began to swing open. As quickly as he could, he dashed out of the room, through the big, heavy reinforced steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs, through the steel door, down the flight of stairs, through the wooden door, down the flight of stairs and down the hall.

He looked behind him and saw the pink gorilla in hot pursuit. Not stopping to grab his overnight bag, he ran through the kitchen, out the front door, down the stairs, and into his car. He started the car, turned around and sped down the long driveway to the country road, and drove away from the farm as fast as he could.

A few minutes later, the car engine sputtered and died, and the car rolled to a stop. Out of gas! Glancing in the rearview mirror, the salesman was shocked to see the gorilla still chasing him down the road. With no time to lose, he opened the trunk of the car and pulled out a motorcycle. Starting the engine and kicking it into gear, the salesman continued his escape.

It wasn't long until the motorcycle engine quit and the bike rolled to a stop. Again, he was out of gas! The salesman looked in the rearview mirror and again saw that the pink gorilla wasn't giving up. With no time to lose, he pulled a bicycle out of the saddlebag of the motorcycle, mounted it, and started pedalling away like a madman.

Soon the back tire of the bicycle blew out, and the salesman was thrown into the grass by the side of the road. Looking up, he saw that the pink gorilla was still headed his way. With no time to lose, out of the pannier on the bicycle, he pulled out a skateboard, stepped on it, and rode it to freedom.

A half hour later, the skateboard split down the middle, nearly dumping the salesman into the middle of the road. Looking over his shoulder, he couldn't help noticing the big pink gorilla bearing down on him. With no time to lose, quickly he pulled the wheels off the remains of his skateboard and strapped them onto his own shoes. Soon he was rollerskating away from danger.

But the rollerskate wheels were inferior and they wore away in a matter of minutes. The pink gorilla was nearly upon him! With no time to lose, he ripped the wheels off his shoes and began running like hell down the country road.

In fact, the salesman ran so hard that he quickly wore the soles off his shoes. (Being a shoe salesman, he made a decision to quit his job and find work with another shoe company.) He could hear the gorilla growling as it came ever closer. With no time to lose, the salesman tore off his shoes, threw them into the ditch, and continued running in his socks.

Of course, socks are no better footwear for running in than shoes, and so they wore out considerably faster. Now he could feel hot gorilla breath on his neck. With no time to lose, he ripped off his shredded socks and tore off down the road in his bare feet.

But he was unused to running, and the hard road caused the soles of his feet to blister. In intense pain, the salesman could run no farther, and he fell to the ground. He closed his eyes and braced himself for the end.

The sullen pink gorilla stopped inches from the salesman, poked him hard in the chest . . . and said, "Tag, you're it."

(H/T: Reflections of the Times. Sorry Carla.)