The Book of Abstinence
Of Mice And Zen
A Story of an Extremely Wise Mouse
You know what? Being a rodent bites! I mean come on! You live a simple life, under the floorboards of some big house, and the guys with the traps come and give you a choice, leave or die. Its not even funny. Oh! Sorry, my name is Toby. Yes, I am what you would call a field mouse. Or I am now anyway, they bought a cat! Honestly! I guess when the furry animal gets bigger its okay to keep it. Anyway, Im out in a field. Let me just say that life is much harder that it was before. At least among my new friends. Its like that peer pressure crud that they used to talk about back home. This is my story.
I have a couple of friends that Id like you to meet. This is Chuck, my rabbit friend. He has long ears; they make him popular with the bunnies. You know what Im talking about. Another one of my friends is a Lemming named Wallace. Hes kinda puny. Actually, he strikes me as one of those "follower" creatures, you know, the ones who always want to go with the flow. Thats kind of how we started our adventure.
Chuck, hes go a bunny friend named Vanessa, theyre in that quasi-serious stage. We go out and theyre like, you know, all over each other. I play it cool, trying to keep myself from getting in their way, but still close enough not to get lost and wander off a cliff or something. Knowing Wallace, hed follow me. Anyway, one night were down at the lake, and Chuck gets another one of his ideas.
"Hey, lets run across the road! Really fast! It would be great. Those big cars! Yeah!"
We looked at him like he must be crazy. Wallace, seeing that the mob was currently in favor of survival, sided with us.
"You go, Shrimpy!" said Chuck. Wallace looked shocked. "Whats wrong, dont have the guts to go through with it?"
"Chuck", I said. "It looks awfully dangerous, I mean, like, every morning they keep finding road kill on it!"
"Yeah, baby, lets forget about it."
As usual, the only thing that can get Chucks mind off of stupid, dangerous things, is sex. And Vanessa definitely constituted sex. She was a very slim bunny and arranged her tail in an extremely cute little puff of hair. If I were a rabbit, staring at her would most likely prevent me from making any major vowel sounds. She was that hot.
Anyway, Wallace was spared a rather potentially lethal accident. We went to the local Frogs on Fire concert instead (their hit song was called "Dont Cut Off My Legs And Eat Them"). They were amazing. Have you ever seen a frog play guitar? But thats not the meaning of the story. Not by a long shot. Apparently, we had a lesson to learn about peer pressure. As with most concerts, the Frogs caused the hormonal equivalent of a forest fire. And Im only three inches tall. So, as were leaving, Chuck turns to me and gives me this weird smile.
"Vanessa and I are going to meet you guys later. Were going to the Bush."
For the uninitiated, the Bush is home to a great amount of pre-marital sex (yes, we get married, just because you havent seen it doesnt mean anything). Its located next to Horn Street, a popular make-out place for humans. Animals go there for sex because its dark, secluded, and their parents havent found it yet. I looked at Vanessa, she didnt look terribly happy about this prospect.
"When ya got four rabbits feet, ya gots to get lucky sometime."
"Chuck, why are you doing this?"
He gave me one of those you-are-going-to-be-the-only-68-year-old-virgin-that-I-know looks. Then I saw why, a few rather provocative looking frogs were leaning against a stump, laughing and pointing. They must have talked him into it.
"No reason, I just wanna, you know Anyway, nobody gets hurt!"
"Can I talk to you for a second? In private." I was quickly losing patience with this idiot.
"No, Im fine right---". I dragged him under a tree branch.
"Havent you heard of the amazing pregnancy rate among rabbits! Where do you think the saying came from! And what about the effects on your mind! You could become depressed, save your virginity. Come on, lets all go out for ice cream. Someone dropped a massive blob on Maple Street."
Chuck looked puzzled. "Ice cream or sex. Tough choice, but I think Im going to go with the sex."
"Please Chuck, havent you heard of abstinence?"
"What is it? Will it make the sex more fun?"
"No, abstinence is when you dont have sex until marriage, and you put your energy into other things to make yourself more productive."
"Id rather be more reproductive."
"Then why did you plan to wear a condom?"
"I was joking"
"You know, those things fail 15% of the time."
"Yes", I said.
"But, seriously, does it matter, we both want to, you know, do it!"
Later that night we went to the ice cream blob. It was all melted, but Chuck swears that it is best that way anyhow. Wallace politely waited until after we had asked him to join us in the icy goodness. It was then that I saw the profound effect my words had had on Chuck. He left our group and walked over to Wallace.
"You know, Wallace, you dont always have to do what we say, we respect your opinion."
Wallace stood dumb-founded.
"What I mean, is that were not really going to care if you dont want to do the stuff that we sometimes suggest that you do." Chuck was fast running out of words to convey his idea.
"Yeah", I said, coming to his rescue. "Wallace, you can do what ever you want to, you dont have to worry about pleasing us all the time. You can be more assertive. Do you know what that means?"
"I think so."
"It means that you choose to act in a situation, the way that you want to, not how you think that wed want you. We want your opinion anyway."
He started smiling. Then he picked up a hunk of ice cream and threw it at Chuck. It missed and hit Vanessa who threw one back. That one hit me. Soon we have a world class snowball fight on our hands, one that lasted well into the night.
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