Once a bullfrog was urged by many to become their guru. Drawn by word of the bullfrog’s sonorous croak and tranquil pose as it sat on a lily pad surveying its pond from beneath lowered eyelids, large crowds showed up to line the shore, assume what they took to be a frog squat, and squint soulfully back in its direction. The only time they shifted their gaze was to assure themselves that nobody around them had a more committed squat or squint. Though quite a few were able to manage both of these after a fashion, none had the confidence to attempt the awe-inspiring croak. Instead, they concentrated on counting the number of times the bullfrog blinked per minute and attributed great significance to that number, depending upon whether it was odd or even. Differences of opinion in this regard could, and often did, result in heated and mutual denunciations. Whenever the bullfrog shot out its long, sticky tongue and snatched a bug from the air, it noticed that a number of the more earnest members of the crowd attempted to do the same. They looked exceedingly awkward in their efforts, the frog thought, wondering how many of them actually succeeded in catching anything. Out of curiosity, the frog asked those nearest to it whether they were enjoying the sun that played over the pond. “The sun?” “The sun. Isn’t that why you came here?” “No. We came here because we are seekers.” “Seekers? What is it you are seeking?” “Guidance. Ultimate understanding. We come to learn the secret of your matchless croak.” “It’s just a croak, you realize.” “Ah, but we know it is much, much more.” “Really? What is it then?” “That is what we’ve come here to discover.” At that instant and without the slightest warning, the bullfrog suddenly leapt into the water, disappearing with a dull, plopping sound amid ripples of thick algae. This unlooked-for event electrified the throng lining the banks. Many, taking it as a symbol of something far greater, were all for plopping into the pond themselves. Others looked for a message in the sound made by the turbid water. Still others were in favor of waiting for the bullfrog to resurface and perhaps offer an explanation. The bullfrog, for its part, did resurface, but at a distance and with only its eyes bulging through the blanket of pond scum. As time passed, the crowds first grew restless and then began to break up and drift away. The prevailing mood was one of disillusionment, of having been let down by the bullfrog, possibly deceived. Even those who had thrown themselves into the pond in solemn imitation of the bullfrog, not once but two or three or four times, began to feel they might have been mistaken. Most importantly, everyone had lost valuable time in the search for ultimate understanding. New guidance must be sought somewhere else, and without delay. The bullfrog, all agreed, was clearly not guru material.
Copyright © 2003-2004 by Geoffrey Grosshans