Hubris and Humility

I sauntered down the sidewalk and into our dirt driveway, plastic golf club in hand, my belly button peeking out from between the bottom of my Ninja Turtles t-shirt and the waistband of my Power Rangers shorts.  I looked up toward the sun that was beating down on my blonde-haired head and pale white skin.  It was hot.  It’s a good day for a fight.

Standing with my plastic golf club in hand and Velcro sandals strapped to my feet I thought to myself: I am one bad man.

I set off across the sandy desert expanse that stretched about 40 feet until it was met by a lush green Alfalfa field.  However, I would never make it to the Alfalfa field.

As I walked I swung my plastic golf club into the sand like a titan of destruction, the power behind each swing causing a groundswell of debris to fly in all directions, terrorizing any insects below.

Then, I saw it.

Small red insects scurried around an unimpressive mound, hundreds, if not thousands of them seemingly going in all directions and in and out of the hole at the middle of the mound.  The sun beat down fiercely on the little insects, but they went about their work, almost as if the heat propelled them forward, feeding their untiring work ethic, urging them into a frenzy.

Oh yes, I thought to myself, this is the fight I’ve been looking for.  This battlefield shall be mine.

I approached the red-ant hill, glaring down upon my diminutive foes from a towering height of over three feet.  An invincible giant among mere mortals.

David shall not defeat Goliath today.

Slowly, I steadied the plastic golf club above my head with both hands clasped around the handle, and swung the club down with the fury of Thor sending his hammer crashing into the ground.

Sand and ants flew in all directions in a hideous, albeit glorious display of carnage.

They continued to scurry about now, in a panic, realizing that they were under siege.

I’ve caught them by surprise.  But I must not relent now, I will destroy them before they can regroup.

Again, I brought the plastic golf club careening down into the ant hill, causing another splash of sand and ants.  I wiped sand and sweat from my face, raised my club, and swung again, and again, and again.  I was a rail worker pounding a spike, or a lumberjack chopping wood, taking out the frustrations of my life as a 4-year old in rural North America on this unsuspecting colony of red ants.

The viciousness of my assault would not last long, however.  I had underestimated the will, testament, and resolve of the diminutive insects whose home I had just obliterated.

My skin suddenly felt as if it were ablaze.  My weapon dropped from my hand as I looked down in horror.  All over my arms, legs, and inside of my clothes were red ants, latched onto my soft, chubby skin with their jaws, and they set about stinging me from their monstrous stingers protruding from their abdomens.

I assessed the situation, and quickly realized ground had been lost, and they had taken the battlefield.  The David’s had taught me, Goliath, a lesson in humility.  My own brash hubris had caused me to underestimate my enemy, and they had defeated me when I had been sure of victory just a few moments before.  I suddenly knew exactly how Lord Cornwallis had felt surrendering to the Americans at Yorktown, with no choice but to raise my white flag in shame.

With tears running down my cheeks, I used the last ounce of strength I had, and unleashed a final cry of defiance before I was forced to retreat home…

“MAAAHHHHMMMYYYY!!!!”

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