One of my mother's favorite activities used to be sending me e-mail forwards from "Chicken Soup For the Soul", which is a series of books whose heartwarming, life-affirming anecdotes and quotations are intended to inspire joy in the hearts of its readers. She finally stopped doing this when I had her e-mail address permanently blocked (I wonder how she's doing today?)
Anyway, many of these stories uplifted and inspired me so much that I was moved to send in some Chicken Soup of my own, hoping that my experiences might touch or comfort some other hungry soul out there. My submissions were all rejected, so I decided to make them available here.
"Puppies For Sale"
A merchant was tacking a sign above his door that read, "Puppies For Sale." Signs like that have a way of attracting small children and, sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner's sign. "How much're you gonna sell those puppies for?" he asked.
The owner replied, "Anywhere from $30 to $50." The little boy reached into his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37," he said. "Can I please look at them?"
The man smiled and whistled, and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny-tiny fur balls. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and asked, "What's wrong with that little dog?"
The store owner explained that the veterinarian examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn't have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. "That is the puppy that I want to buy." The store owner said, "No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll just give him to you."
The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner's eyes, pointing his finger, and said, "I don't want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. In fact, I'll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for."
The store owner countered, "You really don't want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies." To the owner's surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace.
He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, "Well, I don't run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!"
Then the store owner picked up a nearby broom and shooed all the puppies back into the kennel, even the lame one. "So you think that, just because you're a cripple, you get to be a little smart-ass to your elders, huh? Well lemme tell you something, Special Olympics, I was trying to do you a favor and just GIVE you that worthless little mutt, but then you had to get all "Hallmark" on me and try to send me on a guilt trip about whatever you did to your stupid leg. Well guess what, Tiny Tim? I think I'm gonna do that pooch a favor and shoot it, Old Yeller-style. Then it will really need 'someone who understands'. Now get outta here before I call the cops and tell them I caught you shoplifting. Best get to steppin', you little brat. Oh that's right, you can't get to steppin'-because you're a stupid cripple!"