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I feel like I've said this here before... so I read this thing on Facebook. Which made me think of an Ethiopian folktale I know.  Follow me below the dingledoodle squigglie dKosagnocchi dividerthingie fold after a word from our sponsor...

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A friend posted the following to Facebook. Given that means it's already been seen by 1948674 people, I think it's ok to post it in its entirety here:

Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he asked about his bill, and the barber replied, 'I cannot accept money from you; I'm doing community service this week.' The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you; I'm doing community service this week.' The cop was happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you. I'm doing community service this week.' The Congressman was veryhappy and left the shop. The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it.

This sad but entirely-too-believable fable immediately made me think of another story of greed, The Perfect Orange, author Frank Araujo's retelling of an Ethiopian folk tale. I'll summarize it below but suggest you seek out the book both to read it with appropriate cultural references as well as for Xiao Jun Li's beautiful illustrations:

Tshai, an orphan girl in a remote village, finds a perfect orange one morning and decides to take it to the Nigus (King). She sets out on her journey and along the way meets Ato Jib, the Lord Hyena. He asks her where she is going, and when she tells him "to take this perfect orange to the king" he offers to trade a water gourd for it. When she refuses, he tells her it's a silly gift; that one must take something precious, such as gold or jewels, to the Nigus. Tshai ignores him and travels on.

Arriving at the palace, the Royal Chamberlain is taken by her humble innocence and brings her before the Nigus, who in the manner of Good Folktale Rulers Everywhere graciously accepts the offered Perfect Orange then asks what she would like as a gift in return. Tshai turns down jewels and purses filled with gold, and departs. The Nigus sends the Chamberlain after her with a donkey, in whose saddlebags are of course hidden the jewels and gold :-). She accepts it gracefully, heads home, and shares the discovered wealth with everyone in her village.

Ato Jib spies the girl and learns that she was given a donkey with full saddlebags for a single orange, and imagines what HE would be given if he presented the Nigus with his cattle and land. He arrives and informs the Chamberlain "I am an important fellow. I have cattle and lands to give the great Nigus!" After presenting his gifts, Ato Jib is asked what he would like in return. Attempting not to appear greedy, he replies "Whatever Your Majesty deems worthy for my humble offerings."

The Nigus smiled, and told Ato Jib the offering was worth His Majesty's most prized possession. I don't need to tell you what that was, do I?

I believe most of us have a heart of Tshai inside, but in our quest to keep up with our neighbors, be the one who dies with the most toys, or obtain what we feel we were deserving of but did not get for {insert reason here}, our inner Ato Jib looks for the loopholes, lottery tickets, and quick easy ways to riches.

May this Congress rediscover a bit of their inner Tshai, or at the very least filibuster their personal Ato Jib. Or possibly pelt him with oranges until he gives up. Hrmm...

Selflessness and selfishness, giving and greed. Discuss :-).

Brillig's ObDisclaimer: The decision to publish each nomination lies with the evening's Diarist and/or Comment Formatter. My evenings at the helm, I try reeeeallllyy hard to publish everything without regard to content. I really do, even when I disagree personally with any given nomination. "TopCommentness" lies in the eyes of the nominator and of you, the reader - I leave the decision to you. I do not publish self-nominations (ie your own comments) and if I ruled the world, we'd all build community, supporting and uplifting instead of tearing our fellow Kossacks down.
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From Steveningen:
In Kos' diary Moderation? Be careful what you ask for, Trix's response was designed to be a Top Comment. Nicely played, Trix.
From Yours Truly, brillig:
In light of the latest kerfluffle, this comment by rexymeteorite hopefully will help those who need to be talked off meta-ledges.

Laurence Lewis on why we little people gotta give til it hurts. From Joan McCarter's must-read Fiscal cliff giveaway to big biotech firm exposes deficit hypocrisy.

Top Mojo for yesterday, January 21st, first comments and tip jars excluded. Thank you mik for the mojo magic!
  1) :-) by Trix — 228
  2) sheriff jim olson by Laurence Lewis — 191
  3) My jaw is literally agape. by Free Jazz at High Noon — 178
  4) Reposting My 'Blogging Etiquette" List by JekyllnHyde — 171
  5) (((((((((((((((((Translat​or/Dave)))))))))))))))))) by Chacounne — 155
  6) His last post, 10 days ago, was upbeat by ericlewis0 — 153
  7) Don't forget though by Blazehawkins — 148
  8) I am saddened, but not surprised. by Otteray Scribe — 130
  9) If you want moderation, join the DLC... by Trix — 126
10) Doc? by Youffraita — 125
11) I like to ask those guys by twigg — 125
12) They've spent decades by corwin — 121
13) RIP, friend. by Free Jazz at High Noon — 115
14) Beautiful tribute, thanks. by karmsy — 114
15) oh, Translator, your broken heart never mended by bronte17 — 112
16) remember by rexymeteorite — 111
17) I'll hang up my cynicism, as well by Puddytat — 108
18) What... No Admonition by Markos? by JekyllnHyde — 108
19) Oh no.  No. by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker — 107
20) Rest in Peace, Translator nt by ranger995 — 101
21) he's waving in his profile pic AND has a by Clytemnestra — 101
22) "Warmest Regards" He was always so kind. by Agent99 — 101
23) The Coming Political Deluge by rgembry — 95
24) My daughter says this all the time by hulibow — 93
25) Responsible gun owners! by Scientician — 93
26) So very sad. It was a great kindness to let us by Wee Mama — 92
27) the pootie and woozle people by Laurence Lewis — 92
28) On the same wavelength. by side pocket — 91
29) So sorry to hear this.  I remember how dark his by lineatus — 90
30) I weep. Truly by MinistryOfTruth — 90

Top Pictures for yesterday, January 21st.  Click any image to be taken to the full comment. Thank you jotter for the image magic!
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