A thirteen-year old boy stumps over to a corral fence. The leaves on the trees overhanging the fence are still green, but the air has gone crisp with fall. In the corral stands a donkey. The boy coaxes the donkey over. The donkey takes a few steps. The boy speaks to it.
“Donkey I just met,” he says, “there’s no hope for us. You’re here on this vanity farm . . .”
The boy swings his arm around to indicate the farm, which is impeccable.
“. . . which someone has set up as a mirror. They like to walk out here and think, I’m simple and love the country. Then they drive to work in a bank, where they refuse to use a gold standard to back their money, which, as I understand, is bad.
They pretend the mirror will show them as they are, except that they’ve modified the mirror, drawn in better cheekbones, sharper eyebrows, and so on. They look in the mirror. They admire the self they’ve drawn in. They live with this false image, worship it, as though it’s made out of gold, which is good when it’s the standard of currency, but bad when it’s a carven image.
They’ve established you, donkey I just met, on the farm as an example of their large-mindedness, or humor. You are a pawn in their game. Look at yourself. You are useless. No one needs a donkey. Just as no one needs me.”
The boy takes a deep breath.