A Parable, on the Eve of a Government Shutdown



Long ago, the organs of the body gathered to form a nation. Each part knew that it brought something unique and wonderful to the body politic. The nation was to be industrious (as the hands insisted), artistic (determined the eyes), and prosperous (said the stomach). No organ would be idle, and all would work together for the good of the whole. After the plan had been set in motion, the Constitution ratified, and the populace well educated about their rights, all that remained was to choose a leader.

The two leading candidates were the brain and the heart.

For a long time, it looked like the brain would be a shoe-in. “I am the source of everything we experience,” said the brain. “The eye sees, the ear hears, the nose smells, and the tongue tastes–but none of this makes any sense without me. I make beauty possible, and love. And I am wholly responsible for the mind. It is only fitting that I should be the leader.”

“But wait,” said the heart.” None of you would live for one minute without me. I am the one who gives you what you need: blood, nourishment, oxygen–everything that is essential to life I provide. My only function in this body is to feed you, and I work 24 hours a day to make sure that your needs are met.”

The organs had to admit that this was true. And they despaired of doing anything that might cut off their supply of oxygen-rich blood. The polls were showing a dead heat.

But then, as if from nowhere, the rectum emerged and declared his candidacy. Nobody took him seriously, of course. Who ever heard of a rectum being president? 

So, the rectum did something entirely unexpected. He quit working. He just shut down about a week before the election. And by the end of the week, the entire body politic was miserable. The eyes were watering all the time and could not even open because of the pain. The ears heard nothing but a shrill ringing sound. The hands, feet, arms, legs, and kidneys were all essentially functionless. And the brain and the heart could no longer bear the pain. On election day, the rectum won the vote unanimously and became the leader.

THE MORAL: It doesn’t take a great brain or a big heart to win a political battle, just an uncooperative a**hole.