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The Fruit Caper

Back in the days of my childhood, we lived in a richly competitive family. My parents were big advocates of teaching children responsibility at a very young age, and providing us with duties to perform on a daily basis. At the back of our yard, we had a number of fruit trees that produced green apples, cherries, and peaches. The little apple trees were particularly abundant in the fruit they produced, and much of it was too poor in quality to be useful.

As the apples ripened and fell to the ground, it became one of our regular chores to pick up the fallen apples and bury them in the garden.The duty was to be divided equally on rotating days between myself and my two brothers. In the beginning, this system seemed equitable enough to me, allowing me a couple of days between shifts for doing the work.

On the days before my turn to perform the job, I would go out and survey the orchard to anticipate how much effort was in store for me to gather the apples and bury them. Each time I went, it seemed that my brothers had done pretty well in clearing away the fallen fruit. By the time I got out there the next morning, the ground would be covered with apples.I found myself collecting three or four bushel baskets full of apples. Using the shovel that was almost as tall as me, I had to dig a huge hole in the ground to hold all the apples I had collected. The chore took me what seemed to be hours to complete.

As the days wore on, this scenario continued to repeat itself. There was little or nothing on the ground before my shift, but bushels full of apples when it came around to my day. My back was getting sore from doing so much digging and bending over to pick up the fruit.Using my ingenuity, I devised a tool to help me.

I made a long metal poker with a sharp tip that let me jab the apples and put them into the basket without bending over. This seemed to make the work easier and faster for me, and allowed me to complete the job in about the same amount of time that my brothers seemed to be spending to do it on their shifts. When one of my brothers saw me using my new tool, he protested loudly that I was "cheating" by not having to bend over to pick apples up from the ground.

He seemed overly concerned that I had found an easier solution. In fact, he was so angered by my invention, he took the first opportunity he could to steal the tool and render it useless to me.The whole situation got me angry and suspicious about why my brother would raise such a ruckus about my approach to the task.

Something was just not right about all this. A few days passed, as I mulled over the questions in my mind. Why would he care how I was doing the work? Why didn't he just use my tool himself when it was his turn to do the job? Why did my brothers always seem to get done faster than me without using any special devices.? How could they do all that digging so quickly?.All my questions were answered on the morning of my next turn to perform the apple chore. That day, I got up a little earlier than usual, and happened to look out the back window toward the orchard.

As I looked at the apple tree, it was shivering as if the whole plant was suffering a deep chill. As it shook, apples came raining down like water, bouncing to the ground and spreading everywhere. When I looked closer at this horrible scene, I caught sight of my brother up in the tree, jumping up and down on the limbs. It was clear to me now that he had been doing this to me for days, and that this was why I had so much more to pick up than my brothers did on their shifts.I ratted on my brother's activities, and was more than happy to watch him dig the apple grave that day.

This caper forever changed the way I negotiated my responsibilities.

.Director of Software Concepts BHO Technologists - LittleTek Center http://home.earthlink.net/~jdir.

By: John Dir


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