Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 3 - Fool's Milk

The second parable from Buddha's One Hundred Parable Sutra left me a bit bereft of humor. The moral of this parable is to give freely, rather than waiting until after you have saved enough money to do so. While good advice, the humor of this dried up milk story doesn't exactly stand the test of time. 

The so-called "fool" in the story decided to have a dinner party where he planned to serve milk. Since the milk would spoil if he milked the cow too early, he decided to wait until the party to serve the milk fresh. He didn't milk the cow for a month to save up enough milk for the party. A month later, when he tried to milk the cow in the middle of the feast, the fanfare quickly faded, as the cow was completely dry. While I can easily envision Mr. Bean hilariously delivering this idiotic blunder with tremendous offbeat humor, the 5th century BC fable doesn't quite deliver the same punch. 

There's a great dinner party story involving fools called, The Dinner Game directed by Francis Veber. This one ranks supreme! Pierre and his circle of snobby friends organize what is called "un diner de cons." The contest involves a group of friends inviting the dumbest guy they can find as a guest. Each Wednesday, they enjoy a great laugh at their guest's expense. This week, Pierre thinks his idiot - Francois Pignon - will win hands down. Little does Pierre know...

Early on, Pierre's back goes out, so he stays home from the party. Francois kindly offers to help him out for the evening, but everything he does just makes the situation worse, including contributing to an already strained issue with Pierre's wife. In the end, rather than winning the dinner game by bringing the "idiot of the evening," the tables turn and it's Pierre who's being showcased. 

I suppose it doesn't matter whether you're trying to serve up milk or an idiot, in the end, offering a beverage or humor offers endless potential for confusion, indecision, and finally, witty irony that can, despite precautions, deliver more than one bargains for.

Post a Comment