Buddhists believe in reincarnation – this means that when you die you return to life in another form. If someone leads a bad life they might return as a fly. If a fly leads a saintly existence it may be promoted to human in it’s next life. The fly’s shorter lifespan means it is much quicker to move up the chain than down. We do know know precisely how many flies there are as it is impossible to count them all. Their short lifespan means that they will have died before the job could be completed. Suffice to say it is a very large number. If even a fraction of these flies were to start behaving themselves then very soon the earth would be unable to cope with the resulting population explosion. Famine, plague and general chaos would be inevitable. So next time you are disturbed by a pesky fly while trying to enjoy a picnic take solace from the knowledge that he is ensuring the survival of the human race.
On Friday after lunch we had art – my favourite. On this particular Friday, once the paper and crayons had been handed out, the teacher announced “You may draw anything you like.” Such freedom was a rare treat. I grabbed a crayon and quickly sketched a dinosaur from memory.
“Ha Ha!” I chuckled to myself noticing that I, in my naive enthusiasm, had drawn an extra leg. My laughter did not escape the teacher’s attention.
“What is this?” she asked, towering above me and extending a long finger towards the extra leg.
“It’s a leg” I replied eager to explain any misunderstanding.
“How many legs does a dinosaur have ?” she asked. The class fell silent.
“I think it depends on the breed,” I ventured diplomatically.
“Don’t be cheeky, just answer the question,” she snapped.
“Well… usually four,” I conceded “but-”.
“Count the ‘legs’ on your dinosaur” she ordered.
“There are five but-” I tried again to explain but she wouldn’t allow it.
“I told you to count them”.
So I dutifully placed a finger on each leg in turn and counted.
“Well?” she said when I had finished, tapping the extra leg “What is this ?” It was hopeless, I knew there was only one answer which would placate here.
“It’s a willy” I lied and wept at the injustice. My tears formed in beads on the waxy surface of the drawing. The teacher smirked triumphantly as she balled the paper in her fist.