Donkeys Live a Long Time
edited: Friday, November 09, 2007
By jimmy e bee
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, November 09, 2007
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I learned what living a long time means to a donkey and decided to share it.
“Donkeys live a long time.” Anybody familiar with George Orwell's Animal Farm should be familiar with that statement. When I first read Animal Farm, I didn't get it. I was an adult. I thought I was reasonably intelligent. No matter how hard my mind stretched, though, I simply didn't get it. No matter how hard I tried, I just didn't get it.
I did internet searches and wasn't satisfied. I asked people and didn't get it. It wasn't that the information wasn't there, it's that I didn't understand the information. The hardest lesson I have learned is that there simply are things that some people just can't get. We can be intelligent people. We can have all the facts. But quite often it takes experience to understand things.
When I first thought I understood about donkeys living a long time was that donkeys are selfish creatures. They're scared. Benjamin, the donkey in Animal Farm, refused to talk about what was going on. He wouldn't say animalism (a metaphor for communism shortly after the Russian Revolution of 1917) was good and he wouldn't say it was bad. When asked, he simply said, “Donkeys live a long time. None of you have ever seen a dead donkey.” So, naturally, I thought his statement meant he was saving his skin.
He wasn't. He simply didn't have anything to say. Benjamin had seen it all. He had seen good times and bad times and he knew what he did didn't seem to have much of an impact on any of it. As Orwell tells us in 1984, “Reality only exerts itself in our everyday lives.” Who is our president doesn't really much of an impact.
And we might think we know who should be president. We might think what our government is doing is horrible. We might think we should save the whales and the ozone layer. But whatever we might think, chances are very good we're wrong. All you and I know are the things that happen to us everyday. And that is the real message of Benjamin the donkey. Sometimes a donkey has to live a long time to realize that he is indeed a donkey.
I used to write. I made it a point to write an essay every day. I had so much to say. But then, I realized that donkeys do indeed live a long time and so there isn't much point to sit at a keyboard typing. Darn. I used to live to write.