On Wednesday, Ole-Luk-Oie came to Hjalmar and asked him if he wanted to go sailing. Hjalmar did want to go sailing and they found themselves upon a ship. The whole thing seemed wonderful. Some storks flew over the ship, but one of them flew lower and lower until finally one of the sailors caught it. He took the stork and put it in with all the other ship’s birds. There were chickens, ducks, and turkeys.
The other birds all gathered around the stork. The stork told the other birds of far away lands, but as the birds were all domestic animals that did not migrate, they did not understand. They said the stork was stupid and began to make fun of him.
The turkey asked the stork how much his legs cost a yard, and everyone laughed. The stork didn’t think it was so funny, the turkey said he might as well laugh because it was funny.
Hjalmar took it upon himself to let the stork out. The stork got ready to fly away, but before he did, he said, “Tomorrow you shall all be made into soup.” He then flew away.
That was Wednesday evening.
Just in case you don’t know, let me explain why there would have been a hen house on a boat. This was before refrigeration. Nobody was taking frozen chicken meat on board the boat. The boat didn’t have electricity. People were using candles and lanterns. If you wanted a source of protein and you wanted that source of protein to stay fresh, you took a live chicken on board. That chicken meat was going to be fresh until that chicken’s head was cut off. You still had to feed the chickens and clean up after them, but that was a small price to pay for fresh protein, that wasn’t fish, on a boat.
Likewise, if you’re ever in a situation where you need to survive and need to keep some meat fresh, a crab, or a turtle for example, it’s better to carry the live crab or turtle around with you because its body functions are going to keep it’s flesh fresh. It’s not going to rot as long as the animal is still alive. It’s not going to spoil.
The stork was a different kind of bird. He looked different. He spoke of things the other birds could not understand. The other birds made fun of him because he was different. In the end, though the stork came out ahead because he wasn’t going to be made into soup.
Let me draw you a modern-day parallel to better illustrate what’s going on in this story. You went to high school. Maybe you were made fun of because you were different or you talked about or liked things no one else understood. The other kids made fun of you. They laughed at you. They called you names like “tons of fun” and “four-eyes,” but who’s laughing now? Now you’re the successful person and they’re the unsuccessful people. Your difference helped you succeed.
Those other people were too used to being big fish in a small pond. High school was the pinnacle of their lives and sometimes you can’t help but feel sorry for them because they never went on to anything greater.
In my own life, I was kind of like the stork when I was in school. People passed me by. I got made fun of for being fat, and surprisingly by people who weighed more than I did, but whatever. Those people who did all of that are nowhere now. They did nothing with their lives. I’m sure they’re still important to the people in their families, but if you look at them from a worldly perspective, they did absolutely nothing and accomplished nothing. I would be lying if I didn’t say I occasionally look through Facebook to see what all of them are doing these days. Seeing that half of them work at Wal-Mart, or fast food restaurants or they’re getting arrested, makes me feel better about the whole thing, even though I know I shouldn’t feel good about their misfortunes.
It meant a lot to me when a guy I went to school with sent me a Facebook message one day and complimented me on all the things I had accomplished since high school. He said something along the lines that I was doing better than anyone else. For the record, I beat the crap out of this guy when I was eleven years old; I don’t remember what it was about, but he deserved it. I add that in there just to show you that we had our differences and he realized that I turned out to be a better person than a lot of the other people we knew, even though it hadn’t seemed I wouldn’t accomplish much back then because of what everyone else thought of me.
In the end, don’t be disappointed when you’re younger because you don’t seem like everyone else. You’ll turn out ok.
Remember to come out on top.
Do you think the people who are the big fish in high school, but suck as adults, have any idea that their lives will turn out as such?
What do you wish you could tell your school-age self?