In July of 2013 I published this post. Given all that has happened in the U.S. and the world since then, especially the last 3-5 years politically, I thought this would be so very apropos to repost today. 😁 I hope you enjoy it (again?) as much as I did; good for a chuckle or two.
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After many years of practice, there are certain types who have mastered the art of shit-pushing and some who have not. A quick menagerie of the art…
One of my favorite caught-in-the-act corrections: “I wasn’t kissing your wife Sir. I was whispering in her mouth!” Then find the nearest exit.
Two industries that most everyone would agree shovel out “pretty” bullshit on a regular basis have to be financial investment companies and sales personnel. Hello Ma’am, you will be amazed by this latest iPhone…a must have! Just $299 or $39 for 48 months for FAST 4G speeds and a ba-jillion apps you’ll probably never use! Or Sir, you are going to be blown away by our new-fangled Hedge-that-Risk-Away fund with a simple monthly direct-debit from your checking account, plus initiation fees, handling, commission, and risk-management fees!
I could never be an aggressive sales rep and survive unless I was selling donated organs to terminally ill patients and their families. But there are some who can make the stinkiest bullshit smell like a rose garden. And then there are those whose art is necessary, beneficial yet tragic.
The Clean-up Crew
Imagine living in a community that has no trash pickup and disposal, running indoor water/plumbing, no dishwashers, and no washing machines. Would you cleanup after yourself, in every manner? Would you cleanup after others, in every way?
Next time you are served a meal you cringe over, think twice about it because there are insects that would have a feast on your waste. Actually, they do feast…and not just after humans. Wherever there is fecal waste, there are most likely dung beetles. They are life’s natural cleanup crew and they are remarkably resourceful. They are tumblers, they are spelunkers, and they are dwellers. They make the most of human or animal waste.
Dung beetles are a critical part of nature’s biocycle. By eating and burying feces, dung beetles recycle vital nutrients into the soil and bury waste that otherwise attracts disease-carrying pests such as flies. They also help new trees grow. For example, in the rain forest, monkeys eat fruit where seeds are sometimes undigested. When the dung beetle arrives at the aftermath, it packs up the feces into a ball, seeds and all, rolls it away and buries it. Soon after up sprouts a new tree! On a given night, one dung beetle can roll and bury up to 250 times its own weight in shit! Imagine that workout.
But these hardworking necessary beetles don’t have it easy.
Shit-pushing Is No Walk in the Park
Every morning as part of my workout, I briskly walk 2-miles; one mile down, one mile up. The hilltop I live on has about a 23-degree steep grade up or down for about 70-80 yards. As I’m heading down the hill one morning, I notice in the middle of the drive a dung beetle perilously rolling his dung-ball across the cement. Every so often he struggled to keep his dung-ball from turning down the steep hill. Watching this beetle toil for his hard-earned shit, I couldn’t help but sympathize with his adversity. I watched in amazement and suspense. What would come of this beetle’s precarious effort? Would he succeed and beat the odds? Or would I be witness to horrific shit and beetle carnage? The cliff-hanger moment was building with every revolution of his dung-ball.
He crossed the midway point of the drive still pumping those hind-legs over his neatly packed shit. Five more feet to go. Can he do it? Four feet. I find myself cheering him on. Three and a half. Then he and his shit-ball hit a bump. Should I intervene like the hand-of-God, showing mercy and compassion for the shit this beetle has put up with? NO FRICKING WAY! And then as my questions of shit-miracle-ing lingered, everything went south….literally. I began laughing my ass off. Everything was out of control. The “wheels came off” but the rolling kept going, and going, and going! If Herbert Morrison of the Hindenburg disaster had been there he would have screamed “Oh the Bee-manity!”
Sorry. I should be more compassionate. I should pay homage to this epic dung-beetle’s demise. Let us bow our heads.
He was a brave shit artist. The bravest I had ever seen. He hung on to his shit-ball for five, maybe six revolutions down that hill-of-no-return! Finally, the cruel speed and momentum….perhaps a killer, dizzying headache too, separated this warrior from his meal. He tumbled two or three times behind that ball before coming to a most abrupt end. In his never-say-die attitude, he scrambled to gain his senses, and immediately went searching for his runaway shit-ball. But it was too late. I watched that ball roll down the hill…way down the hill about 50 yards – two state lines in beetle distance I think – before bouncing off the drive into the ditch and disappearing in the grass. It was gone. Done. This dung-expert had lost his shit.
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As utterly hilarious as I found this dung-beetle carnage to be, I had to find the teaching moment: what is the moral of this story?
No matter how good or pretty smelling it is…don’t push your shit up hill. You might lose it and it will come rolling back on you.
What moral of the story can you apply? Let me hear them all, again.
Footnote – on a cool etymology note, it has been recently discovered that these dung-beetles navigate their dung-balls by the stars in the Milky Way galaxy; their GPS if you will. Click here.
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