Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

The Shell

The tortoise, frightened by the world around it, goes into its shell. Upon entering, it turns on the television and starts watching Mad Men. Don Draper is cheating on his wife for the umpteenth time. He has done this after stealing the identity of a man who died in the Korean War. In the meantime, one of his employees, whose father just died in an American Airlines plane crash two days earlier, lobbies the airline to use their advertising agency to burnish their image. One of the owners of the advertising agency, who had a heart attack while cheating on his wife, has returned to his old ways.

Boy, what a dark show! the tortoise thinks to itself. If that’s the world, then I’m glad I’m in here. A few episodes later, and the tortoise can’t take anymore. It goes over to the bookshelf and takes out a book. It’s been reading said book for four years now, and this is the day it finally finishes. Slow and steady!

Gurgle gurgle.

There goes my stomach again. The tortoise makes its way into the kitchen, pulls out a few items from the fridge and starts chopping garlic, basil, and tomatoes. The garlic starts to sizzle as it makes contact with an olive-oil-filled pan on the stove.

The aroma travels outside to the surrounding forest. A hare, snake, mongoose, and fox all make their way to the shell. The fox tells them the only fair way to do this is a rock-paper-scissors style game. Everyone knows that snake beats hare, mongoose beats snake, and hare beats– where did the shell go?

As the fox makes its way deeper into the forest, carrying the shell in its mouth, the aroma becomes stronger. But its attempts to gnaw at the hard exterior of the shell fail. It eventually tires of this game and tosses the shell aside.

The tortoise wipes the pasta sauce off its face. First earthquake! I wonder what it looks like outside. The tortoise pokes its head outside the shell for a minute, sees a world it doesn’t recognize, and promptly returns to the comfort of its shell.

Whatever comfort a shell might provide, it is not immune to the influences of the world.

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