Do you think my ears are too big? said Blurtso. Too big for what? said Alex. You know, said Blurtso, too big, too big for the ideal shape of a donkey. I’m not sure, said Alex, what’s the ideal shape of a donkey? You know, said Blurtso, the shape you always see in the magazines, on the billboards, and in the beer commercials. Beer commercials? said Alex. Are those donkeys ideal donkeys? They must be, said Blurtso, or the advertisers wouldn’t use them. How do you know the advertisers aren’t using grotesque donkeys to get our attention? Grotesque donkeys? said Blurtso. I never thought of that… but if those shapes aren’t ideal, then what is? I don’t know, said Alex, maybe your shape is ideal. My shape? said Blurtso. Sure, said Alex, why not? Well, said Blurtso, it is a fine shape, and it has served me well… I guess it must be very sad… to be a grotesque, small-eared donkey, paraded around so the world can see.
Do you ever get the feeling, said Blurtso, you’re being constantly manipulated? By the advertisers? said Harlan. Yes, said Blurtso, by the newspapers, and billboards, and radio, and television, and Internet, and loudspeakers at ball games. And signs, said Harlan, painted on city buses? Yes, said Blurtso, everywhere I turn someone is telling me what to want and what to think. And people are inviting the advertisers, said Harlan, to live in their pocket. In their pocket? said Blurtso. Yes, said Harlan, the iPhone6 will be available soon.
Look at all that hay! I wonder if I can fit through the fence?
Oh, oh, my ears won’t go back… and I’m too fat to go forward.
I guess I’ll just have to stay here. Hmm… I can’t even reach the hay. That’s all right. I wasn’t hungry in the first place. I just wanted to stuff myself. I wonder how long I’ll be here? Someone is bound to come along. Someone with a super-modern high-tech donkey-saving tool. I don’t know why I wanted that hay, I wasn’t even hungry. But I’ll be hungry tomorrow. Then I’ll want that hay. But all I’ll have is the grass in front of me. I’d better be careful. I don’t want to eat it all. I’ve got to save enough grass for the next day, and the day after that. And I’ve got to leave enough on top so the roots don’t burn. Fortunately I’ve got a puddle of water, so I won’t die of thirst. Unless I have gas. I’ve heard that methane contributes to global warming, and if the temperature rises, the water will evaporate and the grass will burn. All because I wanted to stuff myself. And I wasn’t even hungry.
And so the days passed—night after day and day after night—and Blurtso tended his garden, eating only what was necessary to maintain his strength, and drinking only enough to slake his thirst. And from time to time it rained, and his puddle filled and his grass grew. And every day he looked at the hay, drying, splitting, and losing its fragrance, until one day when he was enjoying his morning snack… he slipped through the fence.
Hey! I’m skinny enough to get through! And to get out!