The Frog and the Bunny: A Parable
The Frog and the Bunny took a road trip to San Francisco. The Frog drove, because he’d done this before. The Bunny navigated, looking for a balance of speed and scenery.
They drove all day. They drove all night. They stopped at a Denny’s in St. Louis. As they dug into their Moons Over My Hammy the Bunny said, “Tomorrow we’ll make for Denver. It’s a flat, boring ride but then we’ll have the plains behind us and see some mountains!”
Just then a long, furry head emerged from the booth behind them. “I couldn’t help overhearing,” said the Ferret. “I’m headed to San Francisco too. May I join you?” The Bunny looked worried but the Frog said, “Sure! I can see from your trucker cap that you’ll add value to our little adventure.”
The Ferret slipped into their booth, grabbing a mouthful of Bunny’s dinner. “All this speculation about routes is silly,” he said. “Look out that window! Hundreds, thousands of cars headed off on their own adventures. Surely our best route will be the one with the most cars. Let’s count how many go each way and follow the biggest crowd.”
“That’s a great idea,” said the Frog. And they headed south.
They drove all day. They drove all night. They stopped at an Applebee’s in San Antonio. As the Ferret shoveled overcooked peas into his mouth the Bunny said, “I don’t understand. We’re following the traffic and I get that. But how do we know we’ll reach San Francisco?”
The Ferret smiled. “It’s not important! What do we gain by setting some arbitrary destination? How do we know we’ll even like San Francisco when we get there? Let’s focus on the here and now, use the information around us to guide our decisions.”
Bunny thought about this. “But if we don’t have any greater destination, what’s to stop us from wander–”
“While we’re at it,” interjected the Ferret, “what are you contributing to this trip? I’m watching the cars, Frog is driving, all you’re doing is looking at the map and suggesting routes that don’t match the traffic.”
The Bunny sat silently, grateful that an angry rabbit is visually indistinguishable from a calm one.
They drove all day. They drove all night. Bunny looked out the window as they passed cities, towns, mountains, strip malls, and deserts. Also more strip malls. They stopped at Burger King in Cheyenne, Cracker Barrel in Nashua, Waffle House in Austin, Chick-fil-a in Atlanta. The Bunny did crosswords.
One morning, as they rocketed east out of Mexico City with the windows down and the Ferret singing along to the radio, the Frog glanced at the back seat and found it empty. “Where’s Bunny?” he asked.
“Gone,” said the Ferret. “Left this morning. He looked angry. Or calm. Said something about San Francisco.”
“What an asshole,” said the Frog.
Originally published at operationproject.com on November 17, 2011.