By Idiel Author’s note: Today I'm going to embrace my Latin nature and include ONE Spanish word in the story. (So this story counts as EDUCATIONAL now! :) This word means “little snail” and it is “caracolito”. More than ten years ago I was working in Italy. One of the cool things about my job (besides the fact that it was working in Italy and I go to look at gorgeous Italian Guys) was the fact that I could walk from my house to my workplace in less than 10 minutes.
To get to my workplace I had to cross a highway, which was the only “dangerous” part of the trip. Well one day I'm crossing it, and I see a little snail in the middle of it. I was parallel to the sides, not facing any of them.
At the time I had just become a Buddhist so this little creature totally messes up my brain! I'm thinking “should I pick up this little caracolito? Because if I do I might mess up with its karma. But if I don't it's probably going to be squashed” I have no idea what a snail could do to deserve to be squashed by Karma in the shape of a car, but I’m thinking, “Should I move it?. Cause I don't really know which way it was going, so what happens if I put it on that side of the road and it was going the other way to meet his wife or something, it might never see her again… argh!” So at that point I decide:
- That I'm standing in the middle of the highway too, so I should move and
- That I shouldn't mess up with the Caracolito’s Destiny.
So I go on my way, but I haven't even walk five steps out of the highway when guilt sets in and I tell myself “you know what, I can’t just leave that little creature there”. So I turn around to go back and what do you think? The caracolito is NOT THERE. It’s gone! It's GONE and it's a wide highway! There's no way it could have gone across in such short time, but the caracolito is not everywhere to be seen!
Now my sister, who is a biologist, thinks that the caracolito was picked up (and eaten of course) by a bird, but she doesn't have a clue of what she's talking about.
This little incident would have gone totally unnoticed in my life had it not been for what happened two days later.
Cause two days later I´m walking again towards my workplace, I'm in another point of the road and I see another garden snail. Well maybe it is the same one, I don't know, I didn't ask the name of the first one, I didn't go “Hi how are you? What’s your name?” so I don't know if it's the same one or not, cause I really can't tell a snail from another one.
But this time I think “Ok. I'm not going to dwell in doubts, I'm going to pick up the caracolito and put it into a safe place” so that's what I do. I take the caracolito, put it on the other side of the road, I turn around to go…. and a little doubt creeps into my brain. So I slowly turn around and this caracolito it's not there! It totally disappeared! Just like the other one and this time there’s no way, no chance that it was a bird, because I was there the whole time.
There's only one rational explanation for this: snails are just pretending to be slow. Whenever you look at them they go all low and slow and snail like… they can barely move. As soon as you turn around? They are gone. They have super speed powers.
Now this leaves us you and me with a question: Why would snails be pretending to be slow?
I walk to my work pondering and pondering this question so I can't concentrate on the class I'm supposed to deliver to my students. As I am trying to concentrate, one of my students complains, loudly, about his bic pen. You know bic pens? The transparent little plastic ink pens that everybody has? The student says that he bought a bic pen not two weeks ago and it’s already gone.
And I start thinking “have you ever finished a bic pen?” Cause I have never managed to do so and I have been asking this question for more than years now and I have only met two people that have actually been able to buy a bic pen and use it until they think it's gone. So where are all these bic pens going man! What, are they in some parallel dimension along with a caracolitos or something? It's not even ten o'clock in the morning and I already have two impossible questions in my mind so I decide that the only thing I could do was to go into the Teachers’ Lounge and stuff myself with muffins.
So I go there as soon as I can and I start munching a lot of muffins away, trying to forget my questions, or drown them in muffins. Then one of my colleagues says “You know guys, we should go and grab a beer tonight” “Oh, that's a great idea!” says everybody so we start discussing which pub we should go to, which is really NOT a tough decision because we live in such a tiny village that there's only two of them, one next to the other.
When we are discussing this, a student’s head pops in, looking for somebody and we all go “Oh yeah we should really work on that Academic Excellence program” “Yes we agree” and then as soon as the student is gone we are back to beer.
So that evening we are all having a nice beer in this Italian bar (this is the one of the last times I drank beer in my life and I'll tell you why in a minute) All of the sudden I realized that in bars, beer tends to disappear really fast. You know, you are drinking one and all of the sudden you have drunk like four. And where did all the other three go? You turn around and your glass goes from being full to being nearly empty. It’s like the caracolito’s thing.
Can you see all the pieces falling into place now? Well if you don't it's because you are missing one scientific fact which I am going to give to you right now. Did you know that snails love beer? Yes it's a scientific fact! I learned years ago when I took an organic gardening class. If you want to get rid of pests, especially caracolitos, you just fill a glass with beer, bury it to ground level, leave it overnight and sure enough the next day all the nails from the surrounding areas will be drowned in beer. They just love it!
Do you understand now? This is the answer to the first question, “why are snails pretending to be slow?”
So that they can steal our beer!
And how do they do it? Well they build a giant straw with all the plastic pieces of the bic pens that they have stolen too. And as soon as you turn around they go ssssslush! And drink all our beer.
That’s why they are slow! Not because they are slow but because they are totally drunk! On our beer.
I hope this story has enlightened enough to make you realize that if your beer is disappearing in a bar, it's not your fault. You are being robbed by caracolitos. And I don't know what that means to their karma but it's certainly lightens up mine.
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