by Madeleine Kando
Once upon a time in a land far away, there lived a beautiful and wise princess. People called her ‘Columbia the beautiful’. She adopted many little dwarfs whom she loved very much. Most of these little dwarfs liked Columbia too, because they knew that she would take care of them. Being dwarfs and all, they couldn’t very well fend for themselves in the big bad world out there.
They played together nicely but dwarfs aren’t perfect, and as you might guess there was an occasional protest when it was time to do chores, eat breakfast or go to bed. They didn’t like to be individually mandated (to be told what to do). Then Columbia’s mother had to come over. The dwarfs had nicknamed her Mother Supreme and it was she who had to settle the disputes in the family. She was fair and Impartial and things usually worked out well.
One day, the measles broke out amongst the dwarfs. It started out with the smallest one. She developed nasty red spots on her face and arms and couldn’t stop scratching herself, until she looked like a tomato about to explode. Soon, several of the other dwarfs were also infected and Columbia realized that the only way to stop the spread of the awful disease was to get all the dwarfs immunized.
One of the dwarfs, whose name was Florence, didn’t like that. She felt that being a dwarf was already bad enough, but also being told what to do? Besides she hated needles and refused to go to the doctor. Columbia tried to reason with her and said that if any of the dwarfs were not inoculated, they could spread the virus to someone else. Florence didn’t care. She said ‘No!’
The anti-immunization protest spread amongst the dwarfs. Eventually half of the dwarfs refused to get immunized. As you might have guessed, this was one of those times when grandma, Mother Supreme, had to come over and get involved. She was in a real bad mood. ‘NOW what!’ she yelled on the phone. ‘Cannot you control those brats yourself? I am in the middle of a game of bridge with Anthony, Sonya and Clarence. Cannot it wait?’
But she came. She listened to what the protesting dwarfs had to say, listened to Columbia’s argument, blew her nose twice and slammed her walking stick on the floor to make them all shut up. Because she had a soft spot for Florence and some of the other protesting dwarfs, she said: ‘If you want to get the measles, go ahead, don’t get immunized. After all, this is a free country.’ She hoisted her ample frame with difficulty out of her chair and marched out of the door.
The protesting dwarfs were cheering victory. Columbia was sad but knew there was nothing she could do. The measles spread like wild fire and one by one the dwarfs got so sick that they had to be carried on stretchers to the emergency room. Unfortunately the medical staff had also been infected and all they could do was cough and sneeze on each other.
Eventually the whole land got infected. Columbia was no longer beautiful. The medical bills were so enormous that she had to sell her castle. The family rented a dilapidated apartment in a very bad neighborhood. The dwarfs were sickly and incapacitated and many of them lost their hearing. Mother Supreme, who felt so bad about her callous decision and the consequences thereof, tried not to be seen in public.
Columbia gave the dwarfs some pocket money and with a bull horn in her hand she said: ‘Ok, guys. I cannot take care of you any more. Just go out there and fend for yourself. Too bad your hearing aids are not covered by insurance, but you brought this upon yourselves. Que sera sera.”
She sold off her princess dress, her princess crown and her princess slippers on the open market, picked up what was left of her few belongings and left. Many years later someone spotted her working in an assembly line where she was in charge of stamping ‘Made in Columbia’ on cheap replicas of the crown and dress that she had sold. leave comment here
Monday, April 2, 2012
by Madeleine Kando