Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)
TITLE: Shellfish or Selfish?
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Concerning selfishness, it seems that society bounces around from one way of thinking to the next. What is most important, boosting self-esteem or learning to share? Where is the balance between caring appropriately for you and caring for others?
Examine with me, if you will, the life of Larry, the Lobster, the most shellfish, or is it selfish, creature in the sea. Larry was the owner of the local bicycle shop in the town of Shellfish Bay. Larry kept himself busy trying to sell bicycles, repairing bicycles and riding bicycles. Larry loved his work. He spent all of his time at his shop. Larry, well known for his ability to ride and repair bicycles, had only one problem. None of his neighbors and friends could ride a bicycle. In fact, Larry’s bicycles were rusty from lack of use.
Larry’s wife, Lola, said one day, “You know maybe you ought to find something that you can sell that our friends will actually buy. I know that you like bicycles, Larry, but it seems selfish of you to spend all of your time working on something that doesn’t benefit anybody but you.”
Larry thought, “Well, maybe bicycles under the sea are not very practical, useful or beneficial, but I sure love fixing them and especially, riding them.
Larry’s selfish behavior, or was it shellfish behavior, was causing him to have few, if any, friends. When Sammy Shrimp came over to see if he would like to play a few holes of golf at the Coral Reef Golf Club, Larry said, “Sorry, Sammy, I’m too busy trying to repair this rusty bicycle, maybe another time. Would you like to buy a bicycle?”
Sammy just turned tail and swam quickly away, muttering under his breath, “That’s the most selfish person I have ever known, no time for his friends, just those rusty old bicycles. We shellfish, rays, crustaceans, and fish can’t ride bicycles. I don’t know how in the world he ever learned to ride.”
Sammy did not know, but Larry overheard his mutterings and felt a sting of sadness through his entire lobster body. “I feel shellfish, but selfish is how Sammy and all of my friends feel about me,” Larry said aloud.
Lola heard Larry’s lament and said, “Larry, I thought of something you might want to try.” She whispered something in his ear that made him smile from antenna to antenna.
The next day Larry had a big sign posted over his shop window. It said, “For All My Shellfish and Non-Shellfish Friends- Free Bicycle Riding Lessons”, and do you know who was first in line for lessons? Sammy, the Shrimp.
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