2012 Totem Head Story Contest Finalist:"Persevering Success: The Hare and the Tortoise Politically Correct " By Geneva, Chesterfield, MO.
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2012 Contest Finalist

Persevering Success: The Hare and the Tortoise Politically Correct
Written By:   Geneva, Chesterfield, MO.

So there I was. Again. I am an arbitrator, not by either trade or inclination, but because of the needs of society, paramount in our lower-animal culture. Once upon a time there lived a speed-challenged tortoise and a speed-enhanced hare. Myself, being neither enhanced nor challenged (as far, at least, as speed is concerned), was caught in the middle of it, acting the part of arbitrator. So, as I was saying, there I was, trapped in the midst of two culturally and socially-challenged animals who were hurling epithets at one another at such a rate as to induce the onlookers to think that they must be differently abled. Myself, knowing that such cultural challenges must be resolved with equality, attempted to reason in a linear vain, thus: "My dear hare, you must realize that the tortoise is…"

"I am faster than you! and there can be no doubt about that!" shouted hare (ignoring me in the most uncivilized fashion).

"What does that matter? You may be faster, but you are still…" (tortoise found that he had to pause here for want of breath, if not want of something else).

"My dear tortoise, you must realize that while he takes pride in being the fastest, you can take pride in being the slowest…" My untimely comment led them both to turn against me, and reminded me that such things must be done with caution. I must place myself at their level before attempting a reconciliation…

"We will race!" exclaimed both animals at the same time, upon which, apparently horrified that they had agreed on some point, both exclaimed "I will not race!" This was very nearly followed by another outburst, but I had got a breath in the time being, and enough time to collect my thoughts (for, of all the speed-enhanced things, they are currently the most evolved).

They ran something like this, "A competition is, of course, the last thing we want, because then one would have to win and the other would feel bad and we would end up where we started and both would insist on being fastest - although, if one had been proven faster…" at all events, that scenario was to be avoided. However, it was clearly the only temporary solution - and so I decided to use it as such. Therefore I beat them to the next point and exclaimed, "You race!" with sufficient emphasis that they both turned to me, as though to say "Why, how did you know what we were thinking?" And of course, since neither of them had proposed it (at least not this time) and at the same time it was what they really wanted, it was readily agreed to.

I promptly fixed upon tomorrow morning, and although neither animal could see reason for the delay, they raised no objections (I, on the other hand, began to wish I had said next week instead). At all events, a temporary respite. But I have often found that it is by no means an easy thing to un-convince people who you yourself have convinced in the first place. And so I gathered the entire animal commune (except the hare and the tortoise, but that could have been an oversight), and cautiously instilled into them the idea that this race must be stopped. Gradually they began to accept the idea, and I hoped that they would convey the meaning to the hare and the tortoise in time so that tomorrow's race would be stopped. Hare was, perhaps, not so ethnically senseless as tortoise - at all events, and for whatever reason, he was soon convinced. Perhaps knowing that he was certainly the fastest helped. Tortoise, on the other hand, remained strictly unconvinced. Even when I myself asked him about it he flatly refused. But I was not to be turned away from my purpose. All throughout the day I continued to ask him (and he continued to refuse). "But tortoise, it does not matter! If one of you wins then the other will lose and…"

"That's the entire point! I want somebody to lose!"

Could he not realize how selfish this was? "Would you want to lose yourself?" The answer to that must surely be no!

"Why do you want to know? You yourself came up with the idea!"

Well, that was not entirely accurate. I had merely been copying hare and tortoise in the first place. But I was not about to say that. "Ah but… well… we all change our minds sometime…"

"The only reason you suggested it was to buy time! And now you're trying to convince me not to!"

"Well… yes… sort of, that is. You see…"

"I do indeed see! You wont go until I agree, that's all!"

I remained silent to this - for the very good reason that I had nothing to say.

"Oh, I give up! No race, if it suits you! But I still maintain that I could win!"

"No doubt you could, no doubt you could," I said soothingly, rejoicing that it had worked. And so we see that the moral is: To succeed in any endeavor, you must persevere!

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