MULLAH NASRUDDIN

“Aussie, come out and play. Hurry! Sky is blue, sun is shining, and it’s warm outside!”

“Shut up, Henry, you’re disturbing my sleep.”

“Come on, Aussie, let’s chase each other, let’s have fun. Llama Louie says it’s important to have fun.”

“Would you stop quoting that stupid lama? How do you trust anyone that comes from Tibet?”

“Aussie,” say I, “I think Henry’s Llama Louie is a llama from South America.”

“Even more reason not to listen to him. The world is ending and everybody knows it, so excuse me if I snooze.”

“But Aussie, Llama Louie says that the world isn’t ending. He says that all of us have more self-knowledge and understanding than ever before, that we appreciate friendship and love more today than yesterday, that there’s more beauty—”

“I know, I know, and enlightenment is just around the corner.”

“No, Aussie, Llama Louie says that enlightenment is here right now, all the time. We just have to experience it.”

“This is what we chanted in our Saturday retreat day, Aussie. Now we see it, hear it, receive and maintain it. But it’s always here and now.”

“What about there and later?”

“Aussie, don’t be such a spoil-sport.”

“Do you see what’s right in front and all around you, little Mexican twerp? 30 wars around the planet—I take that back, 31 counting our war, Henry—”

“I don’t fight anybody anymore, Aussie. Thanks to Llama Louie, I’m now into nonviolence. I’ve become a pacifist.”

“That’s what happens to all cowards, Henry. If you don’t feel like fighting for what you believe or putting your life on the line, if you prefer to eat sushi and drink beeswax, sage, spinach, and tarragon tea, you become a pacifist.”

“Aussie, Llama Louie says that life is beautiful.”

“Tell him to go back to Mexico, Henry.”

“I don’t think there are llamas in Mexico, Aussie.”

“Get back to reality, Illegal Chihuahua. Living things are dying all over the planet. There are more homeless refugees, more species dying off, more bad air. Things are getting so bad that soon they’ll put dogs back to work.”

“That’ll be great, Aussie!”

“Mixing with sheep? Smelling stinky luggage? Tracking down more illegal chihuahuas by the border? One at home is enough. Anyway, we’ll probably all be dead before then from too much heat, too much cold, the house will fall into the ocean—”

“There’s no ocean here.”

“—or the desert will swallow the house—”

“No desert, either.”

“and the trees will come down on our heads because they hate us by now. Worst of all, they’ll stop making Doggie Dog Dog Open-Range, Grass-Fed Liver Patties with Organic Feta and Thyme. The only good thing on the horizon is the return of Donald Trump.”

“Aussie. Llama Louie says that we can’t fall into pessimism. We must go on, find beauty where others find ugliness and life where others find death.”

“I’m going back to sleep. Call me when it’s over. Or rather, call me when we’re over.”

“Henry’s right, Aussie. Ever hear of Mullah Nasruddin?”

“Oh no, an Arab?”

“Mullah Nasruddin is sitting on a donkey facing backwards. ‘Mullah, why are you facing backwards?’ someone asks him. He says: ‘Why don’t you ask the donkey?’”

“Huh?”

“What do you get out of the story, Auss?”

“That Mullahs are stupid?”

“I don’t think so.”

“That donkeys are stupid?”

“Anything else, Aussie?”

“That Henry’s stupid?”

“Aussie, what I like about the story is this: The world may be going in a particular direction. Maybe it’s giving up hope, going under the blankets, moans and groans about doomsday. But some of us keep on looking in a different direction, Aussie. We see that every moment is new, we are open to infinite possibilities, and always looking to be of service.”

“Maybe you’re stupid. You’re the one looking backwards.”

“Backwards, forward, sideways, who cares, Aussie?”

 “Come on, Henry, let’s go out and play. The Senora’s nuts.”

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