Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Fable

"We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?" ~ Jean Cocteau

Benny was a dreamer. He had always dreamed of the wonderful things he could do if he only had unlimited wealth, but alas, he had rarely made the right choices throughout his life, and consequently, was usually broke, and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

So, when he came across the rather odd looking ancient bottle half-buried in the sand on the beach, he didn't think there was anything special about it, and especially nothing that would change his life, but that's exactly what it did. At first, he wasn't even going to bother picking it up, but some strange unknown force seemed to compel him. He picked it up and eyed it curiously.

There seemed to be some ancient sanscript embossed on the bottle, thinly veiled under a coating of wet sand. Benny brushed the sand off, and immediately he and the bottle were engulfed in a thick cloud of violet smoke. The smoke gradually formed itself into the shape of a man, and solidified, until at last, standing before Benny, was what could only be described as a great and fearsome genie.

"I am the Genie of the Bottle" the creature thundered, "I have been entombed in that place for centuries. Because you have released me from my prison, I am obligated to grant you one wish, in gratitude for your kindness."

Benny didn't have to think twice. Visions of that elusive great wealth he had long dreamed of began to crystallize into reality.

Benny, skeptical of what would appear to be the answer to all of his prayers, replied, "My wish is to be the richest man on Earth, with no possibility of ever losing my fortune."

The genie considered Benny's request for a moment, and at last said, "That is a very tall order. I can do that for you, but that is such a big wish, I will only grant it on one condition. Will that be acceptable to you, or do you want to wish for something smaller?"

"That depends upon the condition, sir", Benny responded, apprehensively.

"I will grant your wish on the condition that you never again cut or trim any hair on your body. The hair on your head, and the hair of your beard. If you ever cut or trim even one hair on your body, you will lose all your wealth instantly and be turned into a Greek urn."

"What's a Greek urn?", Benny queried.

"About six and a half an hour", the genie said, smiling. "No, I'm sorry, that was just a little joke. It's like a vase, you know, for dead people's ashes and stuff."

"Oh", said Benny, "Hmmm, Never shave or cut my hair, in return for all the wealth in the world?...Done!"

The genie waved his hand over Benny's head. "Your wish is granted," He intoned, solemnly. And immediately, he was gone, in a puff of smoke.

As soon as the smoke cleared, Benny felt an instant sensation of a swelling in his posterior. He reached back to locate the source of the sensation and produced, out of his hip pocket, his wallet, which was once nearly empty, clearly bulging at the seams with thousand dollar bills. He removed the enormous wad of bills and it was immediately replaced with an equally large wad of more thousand dollar bills.

"Oh, this is great!" Benny thought, and hurried off to begin his new life of opulence.

Six months later, Benny was indeed, the richest man on the planet. He was beginning to look a bit slovenly and unkempt from not cutting his hair or shaving, but he was nonetheless satisfied with his life.

His satisfaction, however, did not last long. Eventually the length of his hair and beard began to be something of a nuisance. He had all the money, power and girls he could ever want in spite of his appearance, which, after another 2 years, could only be described as grotesque. He was starting to have difficulty seeing because of the hair that was constantly obscuring his vision. Whenever he walked through doors, he had to be careful he didn't get his flowing mane caught when the door closed behind him. He was hard of hearing from the thick hair covering his ears.

Two more years went by, and he was living a life of luxury, and one could say he had it made except for the fact that he was miserable. He was forever tripping over his beard and constantly having to brush hair out of his eyes to see, and away from his mouth just to eat.

Finally, even his closest friends and the most devoted gold-digging women abandoned him to his follicular handicap, and he was left rich, but alone. And miserable.

In desperation and loneliness, Benny at last had had enough, and resolved to put an end to his misery. On the off chance that the genie might have been bluffing, however, he decided not to commit suicide. If the Genie had been yanking his chain, he reasoned, about turning him into an urn, he might just get to enjoy life once again, and still have the riches, as well.

So, it was not without some apprehension that Benny stood before his bathroom mirror that night, and began to cut his hair.

After several hours, Benny finally finished, and stood before his mirror admiring his freshly clean cut and shaven image.

It was a short lived moment of glory.

The room began to sway, a must began to rise, and suddenly before him, stood once again, the genie of the bottle.

"I warned you!" He pronounced, waving his mighty hand, and, POOF! Benny was instantly transformed into a Greek urn.

The moral of this story is:

(Are you ready?)

A Benny shaved is a Benny urned!


jgf said...

That's really bad!

Timothy said...

Hhm... sounds like pulpit humor to me.

Etchen said...

Ahahahahahaha! I dind't see that one coming. Thanks for the laugh. ;-)

Francis Lynn said...

Nice try.
That's 2/3rds of a pun = p u

Erudite Redneck said...

I agree with Francis Lynn! :-)

And, :-( I share your sadness, Mark, at the passing of Don "Barney" Knotts!

rich bachelor said...

I first saw that one done on "The Muppet Show" when I was a little kid. Just curious; where did you hear it from?

Mark said...

I got it from my sister, who got it from a friend of hers in high school. She graduated in 1964, long before anyone ever heard of muppets.

I'll bet you never heard anyone tell it better.

rich bachelor said...

Well, I saw it done by Fozzy Bear and some Englishman whose name I no longer remember.
The reason I ask is because I never heard the entire joke, on that evening in 1977 or whatever, and always wondered what the lead-up to the punchline was.
Now I know.