That’s Bad

Can I go now? — Homer, “Treehouse Of Horror III”

The classic potassium benzoate debate in “Treehouse III” draws from an equally classic bit of vaudeville schtick. And who else better represents the vaudeville tradition than the cast of Hee Haw? Well?!

“Turn for the nurse?” That’s good.

Of course, the back-and-forth also recalls a certain zen koan, at least to my way of thinking:

A farmer’s horse ran away. His neighbors gathered upon hearing the news and said sympathetically, “That’s such bad luck.”

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The horse returned on his own the next morning, and brought seven wild horses with it. “Look how many more horses you have now,” the neighbors exclaimed. “How lucky!”

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next day, the farmer’s son attempted to ride one of the wild horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. “How awful,” the neighbors said. “It looks like your luck has turned for the worse again.”

The farmer simply replied, “Maybe.”

The following day, military officers came to town to conscript young men into the service. Seeing the son’s broken leg, they rejected him. The neighbors gathered round the farmer to tell him how fortunate he was.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

The moral of the story: buy war bonds.

This entry was posted in articles and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to That’s Bad

  1. Madeleine says:

    Love your site, McGarnagle, thank you! You might like this – I think your koan is also a “chengyu” ( I wonder how chengyu and koans are related. Here is a really neat link to the old man and his lost horse, see the cartoon at the bottom, it is mind-blowing –

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s