Political Satire: The Old Man of the Mountain (25)

Discussion in 'Humor & Satire' started by reedak, May 30, 2020.

  1. reedak

    reedak Well-Known Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Subtitle: Combat on the Brink of Crater

    One evening, the Priest found scores of people queueing for tickets outside a shop in a small town. Asking a person in the queue, he learned that they were buying tickets to watch an unarmed combat between two best martial artists in the country. The match was scheduled for next day evening on a nearby mountain. He found a long queue in another shop next door waiting to bet on the match. After joining the queue to get a ticket for the match, the Priest stayed for the night in an inn.

    Early in the morning, the Priest set off for the mountain which was an active volcano about 4,000 metres high. It took him about ten hours to reach the peak where he found thousands of people seated on rocks awaiting to watch the combat. The rocks, each painted with a seat number, were placed in a semicircle about sixty metres away from the volcanic crater. Many spectators were so excited about the combat that they camped overnight in a nearby open space beside a stream.

    After walking through the crowd the Priest managed to find his seat -- a rock which he paid a few dollars more to be seated in the front row. After a short while, the two martial artists arrived. Both of them were tall muscular men in their thirties. One guy looked blankly inscrutable with an expression as deadpan as a statue. He seldom spoke and was almost as silent as a stone. The other guy, with his back facing the spectators, was a controversial and colourful character. He spoke in an incoherent style, full of digressions and rambles, with fractured and unfinished sentences.

    Instead of shaking hands before the fight, the babbler stretched out his hand and gave his opponent a hefty shove in the chest. Apparently caught off guard, the other guy took a few steps back. Amazed by the ease of pushing his opponent, the babbler continued pushing his opponent towards the crater. His fans whistled and applauded loudly as they saw their idol gaining the upper hand. He shouted at his fans, "Cheer louder! We've got ourselves from a position of strength." Expressing delight with their idol's impending victory, his fans shouted loudly in response: "Kill the dumbbell! Send the sick man to Hell!"

    The babbler managed to push his opponent thirty metres towards the crater. At this point, the silent man seemed to have just woken up. He stretched out his right hand to push back in his opponent's chest. The unarmed combat had degenerated into a shoving match. The silent man managed to stand his ground for about fifteen minutes even though his opponent pushed with all his might. In a deadpan voice, the silent man opened his mouth for the first time: “This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you (Hinduism: Mahabharata 5:1517)."

    Shouting at his fans to cheer him on, the babbler exclaimed: "You want to know something. You want to know something. We always win." He stretched out his other hand to push his opponent in the chest. His fans were excited to see their idol pushing the silent man all the way for twenty metres more towards the edge of the crater. They kept chanting: "Finish off the coward! Shove the sick man into the crater!"

    Meanwhile, the silent man's fans were struck dumb by what they had seen. They were so exasperated with their idol's weak response that they began to shout angrily at him: "Dumbbell! Dumbbell! Sick man! Sick man! Go home! Go home!"

    With his feet on the brink of the volcanic crater, the silent man seemed to wake up completely at last. He started to push back at the babbler in the chest with both hands. In a deadpan tone, he said: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful (Buddhism: Udanavarga 5:18)." He managed to keep his balance for more than fifteen minutes on the brink of the crater.

    Turning to his fans, the babbler shouted: "Are you all tired of winning? Order this sick man to jump down by himself! Quick!" His fans shouted in response: "Sick man, jump down! Quick! Quick!"

    Becoming increasingly exasperated, the silent man's fans shouted at their idol: "What are you waiting for, sick man? Are you waiting to die, dumbbell? Fight back! Sick man, fight back! Push back! Dumbbell, push back!"

    Besides pushing with all his might, the babbler kicked so hard at his opponent's left foot that the silent man ended up balancing with one foot on the brink of the volcanic crater. In a deadpan voice, the silent man said: "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you (Confucianism: Analects 15:23)."

    Thinking he was on the verge of victory, the babbler laughed: "A wolf that does not eat a lamb is not a wolf." The silent man did not hear his words. Instead, he heard a very clear voice in his right ear: "Dumbbell, dumbbell, can you claim the moral high ground once you fall off the edge? Nobody will ever know your high moral principles after your death. Instead, you will be inevitably labelled an idiot or a worthless fellow. Furthermore, you won't be dying alone. Thousands of your fans who bet on you will follow you all the way down the crater."

    Amidst the chanting of "killing the sick man" and "pushing the dumbbell into the crater", the babbler said sarcastically: "I am the Chosen One to send you off on your last journey." Then he added jokingly: "Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31)." Making a last attempt to send his opponent down the crater, the babbler kicked hard at his opponent's right foot. To his great surprise, the silent man was as immovable as an old pine tree on the brink of the volcanic crater.

    The silent man saw nothing but contempt in his opponent’s eyes. Meanwhile his back and feet could feel the heat of the rising steam from the crater. In addition, the rumbling and hissing from the crater were getting louder and louder. Giving a loud, high cry that sent the surrounding mountains vibrating for several seconds, the silent man pushed forward with such force that his opponent was lifted off the ground and landed on the head ten metres away.

    When the vibration of the mountains stopped, there was dead silence among the spectators, for all of them were struck dumb by what they saw. After they realised what had happened, the silence broke into cheers and rapturous applause. As though joining in the celebration of the silent man's victory, the volcano began roaring like thunder and erupting with tiny fragments of lava blasted into the air like a firework display. While some spectators rushed to rescue the unconscious loser, the rest ran for their lives down the mountain.

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