empty the dog: a shaggy-dog parable


A limited copyright is hereby granted to any reader who wishes to print a copy of the image so as not to strain her or his neck and/or eyesight reading the darn thing. It will not be transcribed. My rationalization of not going to the trouble of transcribing it is that it is best experienced in situ.

For those of you who do not know what a shaggy-dog story is, and do not want to go to the trouble of doing an Internet search to find out, this: a shaggy-dog story is a story whose punchline is some awful pun, for the sake of which the story was built. This is not a shaggy-dog story, but a shaggy-dog PARABLE, and my hope is that it has more reward to the reader than the pun at the end. For a similar reason (I think), Robert Heinlein wrote JOB: A COMEDY OF JUSTICE, and Homer of yore told the long story we call THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY by way of demonstration that Deities play with our lives, for ends that disregard ours.

  1. That all very good, but what became of Phil? Wrote the comment writer, thereby missing the point entirely.

    • Phil’s adoptive family, the Harmonics, skipped town, but fortunately the family next door, the O’Dendrons, took him in. But he still resented being a mere plot element, though it was explained to him that the author only had one page to work with, and what did he expect?

      • Phil wasn’t a philistine; he understood his limited character development and took it all philosophically.

        Which reminds me of the story of the philosophy teacher, who named his two children: Philippe and Sophie, showing himself to be all too clever, or over-dedicated to his profession.

      • I would love it if Dr. Phil became a gas station attendant. Not only would I be able to say, “Fill ‘er up, Phil,” but I would also be able to call myself a Philfillphile. 🙂

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