A Parable

It’s new! Improved! Efficient!
It’s got power! It’s got speed!
There are some who’ll even tell you it’s the only thing you’ll need!
It makes medicines effective!
It makes buildings extra-strong!
It’s the reason that we’re healthy, and it’s why we live so long!
It can help us find more energy,
Or help us grow more food,
And begin to answer questions that we always have pursued.
When it breaks, it’s self-repairing,
Till it’s better than before,
So there really isn’t any competition any more.

But the market can be fickle;
Many buyers may refuse,
And prefer the obsolete, because it’s what they used to use;
Sure, it’s rather old and cranky
And it isn’t like it works,
But the buyers are accustomed to its problems and its quirks.
Is there any way to reach them?
Is this segment simply lost?
After all, they’d get more benefit, and suffer smaller cost!
I found a friendly framer,
And inquired for advice,
But the counsel that was offered had me thinking more than twice:

“You’ve got quite a nifty product,
And it’s working really well,
But you need to offer Heaven, and you need to threaten Hell;
You need to tell your customers
God loves them, every one,
And that purchasing your product is what Jesus would have done.
If you want to do some selling
(And you do) then I’ll be blunt—
You have to, have to, have to give the people what they want!
The problem with your product is,
You made it much too good!
If maybe you could cripple it, I think perhaps you should.”

“If you build a better mousetrap
Then the world will beat a path
To the older, lesser mousetrap with the smiting and the wrath;
It’s the mousetrap that they’re used to,
And aesthetically it’s nice,
And it doesn’t really matter if a mousetrap catches mice.”
So listened, quite politely,
And I thought a moment more,
Then I quietly went back to just the way I worked before.
No heaven, hell, or angels,
Gods or demons, prayer, or voodoo—
So tell me… if the choice was yours… well, what the heck would you do?

Inspired by this post.


  1. says

    mothwentbad–I admit I am a bit inconsistent on my anapest structure on L2 of some of the 3-line units, so your correction is absolutely in line with a number of the previous L2 meters… but because I am inconsistent, some of the L2's have been in consistent anapest, and my original fits. For me, the original works better. Feel free to excise the "I" in your reading if you prefer!And please, I welcome and encourage this sort of critique! It's the closest thing to peer review that I can get!

  2. says

    Haw! It took me three back-and-forths to see the difference between your line and mothwentbad's. Probably because "listened" starts with an ell, which though it is distinguished from an uppercase I in whatever font this is (though not in the comment entry box!), it is very close. Plus, syntactically it makes more sense with the I, so my brain just kept sticking it in there. Silly brain.

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