We all know the story of the fox and the grapes.
About how the fox, walking along and minding his own business, and thinking about doing his taxes, came across some juicy grapes slung over the branch of a tree and he really wanted them. Like, a lot. God those grapes looked good. If only he could have them and so on and so forth. At the same time, thought the fox, wasn’t desire always a recipe for disaster? I have to play it cool. They’re just grapes. But oh man, do I want those grapes. Dang it, thought the fox. If I had only kept my eyes on the path.
The fox thought about his chicken friend. Leroy. Leroy negotiated the problem of desire by deciding ahead of time that he never wanted anything, and so he never did ever get anything, he just scratched around in the dirt day after day for the same old hardened corn kernels. And he was pretty pissed off, this chicken, because nothing was really happening for him, and yet he didn’t realize it was because he was using every ounce of his life energy to suppress his deep-rooted, authentic desire to be an marine biologist.
So this fox decided, I’m not going to let myself get bitter. I am going to get these grapes. I’m gonna go for it. And so he backed up and took a run and he leaped up in the air and he snapped his jaws but the grapes were too high. He tried again. And again. And again and again. Still no dice, and he was tired and sweaty and what’s worse, there were a few birds hanging around mocking him.
“One more time!” cried the birds, drinking from their tiny bottles of wine coolers. “You’ve got it this time!” squawked a crow who had a voice like a chainsaw, and then he pooped on the fox’s back.
“Whoops!” said the crow.
This was too much. “Forget it” said the fox, and he rolled and got the poop off his back and he said goodbye to the grapes. “I bet they’re sour anyway.”
“They’re not” said one of the birds, but the fox pretended not to hear. He was walking away with his nose in the air. He was going to forget all about those wretched grapes. He had been fine without the grapes before, and he would be fine without them later.
Later that night, the fox got a stepladder. The birds were asleep, having gorged themselves yet again on seeds and other garbage they found on the ground, dropped by lazy campers.
The fox got a stepladder and he went back to the tree. And he climbed up and he got the grapes. Oh my god were they good. Plump, juicy, and sweet, not too small, not too big–absolutely perfect, just how he had imagined them to be. And there were so many of them! The fox was in heaven. He ate about 17 of these truly extraordinary grapes and then he folded up his ladder and he went home. Later he pooped out the grapes and he went through it with a stick and found the seeds and he planted those seeds in neat rows in a lush valley and now in that valley there is a thriving and very profitable vineyard, where the fox cultivates grapes and also makes wine, for which he charges approximately $75. per bottle, $250 if you’re a bird, although birds should not be drinking wine anyway, because their brains are too small and they can’t handle it.
Meanwhile Leroy the chicken got his act together and became a marine biologist like he always wanted to. And he was very happy and relieved, and in fact there was an ocean right next to the fox’s vineyard so the two friends saw each other all the time, and right now as we speak they are working on a self-help book for which they got a 2 million-dollar advance. It’s called “Get Out of the Barnyard and Into the Vineyard”
MORAL: Quitters never win.