There’s always a time and place for telling tales (pun intended).






Teamwork is such an important aptitude to cultivate.  Teamwork is commonly defined as a cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interest of a common cause.  Accordingly, there is representation of work done with a team.  The late and great Abraham Maslow popularized the term “synergy” to describe work teams in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Mighty true!

But we can forget with ease that teamwork also reasonably includes the individual working in teamwork-like synchronization with oneself; that is, the advantageous nature of functioning in an increasingly integrated way with an individual being synergistic intuitively, intellectually, emotionally, and instinctively in context of oneself.  Alternatives to that wholistic approach are the individual becoming further fragmented and isolated, being at odds with oneself, working at cross-purposes, or being “at sixes and sevens” with oneself.

Whether solo or as a group member, successful teamwork is often not assured, though circumstances can often be teamworked as such to further open the window of opportunity to enhance success in an endeavor.  Of course, “many hands can make light work.”  And then there are times when you simply just plain never know how teamwork effort is going to work out.

Thanks to longtime pal Bonnie for this telling tale!


An 85-year-old man had to do a sperm count for his physical exam. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, “Take this home and bring back a sample tomorrow.”

The next day, the 85-year-old man reappeared at the doctor’s office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day.

The doctor asked what happened, and the man explained…

“Well, doc, it’s like this — first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing. Then I asked my wife for help.

“She tried with her right hand, then with her left, still nothing. She tried with her mouth, first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing. We even called up Arleen, the lady next door, and she tried too, first with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezin’ it between her knees, but still nothing.”

The doctor was shocked. “You asked your neighbor? Good heavens!”

The old man replied, “Yep, none of us could get the jar open.”


Communication can be challenging in the best circumstances.  Clarity and transparency always matter.  It is certainly easy to wander along being misunderstood or not understanding due to lack of attention.  Clear communication actually takes conscious, intentional clarity and transparency.  Loaded language and lack of authentic communication are fundamental features of co-dependency.  What a destructive mess that is.  Conscious and unconscious hidden agendas in any circumstances eschew the concept of authenticity let alone authentic communication.  And as Ann Landers observed decades ago:  “Samson slew the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass.  Every day thousands of friendships are felled with the same weapon.”  Thanks to longtime pal Bonnie for this telling tale.

Hi, Bob, this is Alan from next door.  I have a confession to make.  I’ve been riddled with guilt these past few months and have been trying to pluck up the courage to tell you to your face, but I am at least now telling you in text as I can’t live with myself a moment longer without you knowing.  The truth is – I’ve been sharing your Wife, day and night when you’re not around.  In fact, probably more than you.  I haven’t been getting it at home recently, but that’s no excuse, I know.  The temptation was just too much.  I can no longer live with the guilt and I hope you will accept my sincerest apologies and forgive me.  It won’t happen again. Please suggest a fee for usage and I’ll pay you.  Regards, Alan

Bob, feeling insulted and betrayed, grabbed his gun, and shot his neighbor dead.  He returned home where he poured himself a stiff drink and sat down on the sofa.  He took out his phone where he saw he had an earlier missed message from his neighbor:

Hi, Bob, this is Alan again from next door.  Sorry about that typo on my last text.  But I expect you figured it out anyway and that you noticed that the darned AutoCorrect changed “WiFi” to “Wife”.  Technology, hey??  Regards, Alan


dorothy parker stampDorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, short story writer, critic, and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks and eye for 20th-century urban foibles.

From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in publications such as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table.  Following the breakup of the
circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were
curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood

Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a “wisecracker.”
Nevertheless, her literary output and reputation for her sharp wit have endured.

Parker died on June 7, 1967, of a heart attack at the age of 73.   In her will, she bequeathed her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Following King’s death, her estate was passed on to the NAACP.   Her executor, Lillian Hellman, bitterly but unsuccessfully contested this disposition.   Her ashes remained unclaimed in various places, including her attorney Paul O’Dwyer‘s filing cabinet, for approximately 17 years.

In 1988, the NAACP claimed Parker’s remains and designed a memorial garden for them outside their Baltimore headquarters. The plaque reads,

Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic.  Defender of human and civil rights.  For her epitaph she suggested, ‘Excuse my dust’.  This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people.  Dedicated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  October 28, 1988.

The above information is excerpted from WIKIPEDIA.  Following is a brief sampling of the “wit and wisdom” of Dorothy Parker:

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.

Tell him I was too fucking busy– or vice versa.

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.

Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.

I don’t know much about being a millionaire, but I’ll bet I’d be darling at it.

There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.

Ducking for apples — change one letter and it’s the story of my life.

Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.

That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can’t say ‘No’ in any of them.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem.

I hate writing, I love having written.

Whenever she would hear a telephone ring, she would say:

What fresh hell is this!

Here is her poetic take on a broken love affair:

Oh, seek, my love, your newer way;
I’ll not be left in sorrow.
So long as I have yesterday,
Go take your damned tomorrow!

But here is perhaps her finest telling tale about herself, her intellect, and her jujitsu-style golden wit:

I named my pet parrot “Onan” because it would spill its seed on the floor.


The Alligator and the Scorpion

Alligator was swimming along checking out its territory in a wide, long river when it heard Scorpion calling it to stop and come over to the riverbank on one side of the river where Scorpion was hopping up and down in an effort to be seen by Alligator.
Alligator swam over to the riverbank, keeping a wary distance from Scorpion.

“What’s up?” queried Alligator.

“Can I trouble you to give me a ride on your back to the other side of the river? It is abundantly clear that I can’t swim across, and I really need to get to the other side.” Scorpion was really quite upset that it was halted in its journey by such an
obstruction, and though it hated to inconvenience Alligator it really had no

“No way!” shrewdly responded Alligator. “Do you think I’m that stupid? You would
automatically sting me and then I’d die from your poison!”

“That’s ridiculous,” responded Scorpion. If I stung you, I’d die too because, to state the obvious, I can’t swim. What I need is to get to the other side of the river!”

Alligator contemplated the logic, and realized what a compelling point Scorpion had made.

“Okay,” said Alligator. “Hop on my back and I’ll swim over so you can get to the other side and continue on your journey – no problem!”

Scorpion was overtly effusive in its gratitude. “Thank you so very, very much,
Alligator! I really appreciate it and this will get me out of a really bad situation!”

So Scorpion hopped on the back of Alligator, which started to swim across the river to reach the other side.  About half way across to the other side of the river, Alligator felt the lethal sting of Scorpion.

“Why did you do that!?” lamented Alligator as it began to sink in the water as the
poison proceeded to paralyze it. “Now we’ll both die!”

“How could you expect me to go against my nature,” whined Scorpion as it too sank below the water surface.



The following Sufi tale has been around for so long and variously told in so many locations.  A popular telling is W. Somerset Maugham’s, and considered at 33 Gateway Lane as one of the most effectively elegant and thought-provoking.


“The Appointment in Samarra”
(as retold by W. Somerset Maugham [1933])

The speaker is Death

There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.



Adaptability is the quality to change or be changed to fit changed circumstances.  This is not a popular quality to human beings and, in fact, is generally considered a nuisance.  To explain why this is so is to state the obvious – the typical Joe or Jane wants an established routine, a known set of patterns.  We do have a tendency to be creatures of habit, don’t we?  Sure, that can become rather dull and boring from time to time, but there’s always the annual vacation to look forward to, or a periodic opportunity to swing from the rafters a bit such as a wedding or birthday party or some sort of occasion for revelry like New Year’s Eve.  These periodic opportunities thus appease the sense of adventure, and then we can dash back to the loving embrace of our precious routine.  However, there is an implicit illusion in the concept of one being embedded in routine:  The condition of routine suggests security and stability.  And this illusion can numb our aptitude for adaptability.  Further, there is almost staggering explicit truth in the Spanish proverb “Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.”  Accordingly, the bigger the conscious or unconscious cable, the smaller our capacity for conscious or unconscious adaptability.

A pirate walked into a bar, and the bartender said, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while. What happened? You look terrible.”

“What do you mean?” said the pirate, “I feel fine.”

“What about the wooden leg? You didn’t have that before.”

“Well,” said the pirate, “We were in a battle, and I got hit with a cannon ball, but I’m fine now.”

The bartender replied, “Well, okay, but what about that hook? What happened to your hand?”

The pirate explained, “We were in another battle. I boarded a ship and got into a sword fight. My hand was cut off. I got fitted with a hook and I’m fine, really.”

“What about that eye patch?”

“Oh,” said the pirate, “One day we were at sea, and a flock of birds flew over. I looked up, and one of them shit in my eye.”

“You’re kidding,” said the bartender. “You couldn’t lose an eye just from bird shit.”

“It was my first day with the hook.”


This one has been around for so long, variously told in so many locations, that attribution would be totally skewed.  Accordingly, it resides here until the title “Old Sufi Tale”.

The Sufis are known as Seekers of the Truth, this truth being a knowledge of objective
reality.  An ignorant and covetous tyrannical king called Roderick once determined to
possess himself of this truth.  He decided that truth was something which Omar the Sufi of Tarragon could be forced to tell him.

Omar was arrested and brought to the court.  Roderick said:  “I have ordained that the truths which you know are to be told to me in words which I understand; otherwise, your life is forfeit.”

Omar answered:  “Do you observe in this chivalric court the universal custom whereby if an arrested person tells the truth in answer to a question and that truth does not inculpate him, he is released to freedom?”

“That is so,” said Roderick.

“I call upon all of you here present to witness this, by the honor of our king,” said Omar, “and I will now tell you not one truth, but three.”

“We must also be satisfied,” said Roderick, “that what you claim to be these truths are in fact truth.  The proof must accompany the telling.”

“For such a king as you,” said Omar, “to whom we can give not one truth but three, we can also give truths which will be self-evident.”

Roderick took these words as a great compliment and preened himself accordingly.

“The first truth,” said the Sufi, “is that I am he who is called Omar the Sufi of Tarragon.  The second is that you have agreed to release me if I tell the truth.  The third is that you wish to know the truth as you conceive it.”

Such was the impression caused by these words that the tyrannical king was compelled to give the Sufi his freedom.


Once upon a time, when God had finished making the world, He wanted to leave behind Him for man a piece of His own divinity, a spark of His essence, a promise to man of what he could become, with effort.  He looked for a place to hide this Godhead because, He explained, what man could find too easily would never be valued by him.

“Then you must hide the Godhead on the highest mountain peak on earth,” said one of His councilors.

God shook His head.  “No, for man is an adventuresome creature and he will soon enough learn to climb the highest mountain peaks.”

“Hide it then, O Great One, in the depths of the earth!”

“I think not,” said God, “for man will one day discover that he can dig into the deepest parts of the earth.”

“In the middle of the ocean then, Master?”

God shook His head.  “I’ve given man a brain, you see, and one day he’ll learn to build ships and cross the mightiest oceans.”

“Where then, Master?” cried His councilors.

God smiled.  “I’ll hide it in the most inaccessible place of all, and the one place that man will never think to look for it.  I’ll hide it deep inside of man himself.”



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