28.

The parable of the man
with a stinky fish on his ass
is lesser known
but apropos.

A man with a stinky fish on his ass
wandered into a border town and swore
that only he could solve the rampant
problem with armadillos.

The armadillos, to be fair, were not
top of mind for the townsfolk.
There were some around, sure.
But, said the man with a stinky fish,

the armadillos were in fact a dire
and terrible threat to the safety of the town.
You had no idea, said the man
with a stinky fish on his ass, just how awful

the situation of the town actually was.
Armadillos were responsible for, like,
almost all the murders and 90% of the rest
of the town’s violent crime.

People were like, whoa. But some folks
pointed out that it was challenging to trust
a man with a stinky fish on his ass.
Some funny math happened, and the man became mayor.

Once in the mayor’s office, it didn’t take long
for the man to stink up the entire place
because of the stinky fish on his ass.
No one wanted to work there. People who did work there

ended up stinking of stinky fish.
The man with the stinky fish on his ass
grew increasingly incensed and desperate
for allies in his battle against the armadillos.

Anyway, it turned out that the stinky fish
was not merely on the man’s ass but inside
his spinal column, and the man himself was
a dying sack of hubris.

That’s the allegory – we are all of us
dying sacks of hubris.
But we can at least choose not to be ruled
by a stinky fish, or lizard people, or

good old-fashioned Russians.

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