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The Ant and the Grasshopper:  Another Fable for our Time
by Martin Green




The Ant and the Grasshopper were at the bar, drinking.    The Grasshopper, as always, looked bright and cheerful.    The Ant looked glum.    “I’ll have another one,” said the Grasshopper.    “And give another one to my friend The Ant here.    He looks as if he could use it.”


“What are you so happy about?” said the Ant.


“I’m celebrating,” said the Grasshopper.    “As everyone knows, we grasshoppers are happy-go-lucky fellows.  When it came time for me to go to work or go to college I of course went to college.    As you might expect, I didn’t do much studying.    I went to a lot of parties and had a good time.    The college didn’t care; they were getting their money.    So I got a degree in transgender studies or something like that.    But I’d racked up a lot of student debt and have no way to pay it.    Now the government says it will forgive my student debt.    That’s what I’m celebrating.    Why are you looking so glum?”


“Well, for one thing, as everyone knows we ants are serious and hard-working.    I went to college too and studied hard.    I got a degree in engineering.   I also had to pay that unreasonably high tuition and ended with a lot of student debt.    I worked at two jobs to pay it off and so I’m broke.    Now I see that I was played for a sucker.”


“Looks like it,” said the bartender, giving the Ant his drink.


“That’s not all I’m celebrating about,” said the Grasshopper.    “The government decided that because we grasshoppers had such a bad reputation as ne’er-do-wells we’d been discriminated against all these years so we’ve been designated a victim group and have first choice in jobs and everything else.    Maybe we’ll even get reparations.”


“I was just laid off from my job,” said the Ant.    “They said I belonged to a privileged group so I was the first to go.”


The Grasshopper laughed.    “You’re really having a hard time.    I didn’t tell you the latest.    A bunch of us grasshoppers raided some farmer’s cornfield yesterday and ate all we could.    The farmer called the police and they arrested us but the judge said it was just a misdemeanor so let us off without bail.    We’re going to get together tomorrow and raid another cornfield.    I better be going now so I can get up early.”


“I better be going, too,” said the Ant.    “I have to go to the Unemployment Insurance Office in the morning.


An older man who’d been sitting at the end of the bar and writing in a notebook also got up to leave.    He was shaking his head.    “Good night, Mr. Aesop,” said the bartender.    “Everything all right?”


“I’ll have to make some changes in this thing I was writing.    I guess times change.”




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