A little while back I bought a bag of apples. They were red and juicy and crisp. I remember thinking, “This is a fine bag of apples. It’s quite possibly the best bunch of apples in the whole world.”
I put them in the corner of the kitchen to see what they would do. They just sat there. I was surprised, because they were such fine apples that I’d expected more from them. None of them won the Pulitzer prize or starred in a reality TV show, or even went on to find the cure for cancer. They just sat there. So I ate one. It was delicious.
The next day I ate another one. Still delicious. The following week I ate yet another. Hmm, the third apple didn’t seem as crisp as the first. When I came back the following week I noticed a dark spot forming on the topmost apple. I remember thinking, “How strange that such a fine apple, so noble, so true, once so crisp and pure could become blemished.” I decided not to eat that one. Instead, I just watched it from afar to see what would happen.
The next day the blemish was bigger.
I thought. I contemplated. I agonized over what to do. But still I did nothing.
The next day I decided to talk to the apple. “Apple,” I said, “Why are you rotting away?” The apple said nothing; instead, I received a campaign letter asking for money. I decided to be more direct.
“Apple! You are rotting away! Why are you doing this?”
Two days later I received an email from the rotting apple explaining to me all about “The New Morality”. “Everyone is doing it” the apple explained. “In fact, it’s inevitable and normal.”
This confused me, so I decided to pray for the apple, that God would heal his sickness. Oddly enough, this angered the apple. He yelled at me. “You are a self righteous, intolerant bigot! Who are you to preach to me or look down on me? Being rotten is what I choose to be, and my personal life is none of your business.”
“Oh”, I said. “That’s hard to argue with.” I thought about it for a while, and decided to back off and let the apple be himself.
A few days later the apple started to smell. I sprayed it with Lysol, but that only made him more angry. I bent down close and just watched. And that’s when I saw it. That one rotting apple was infecting every apple it touched. Now, instead of one rotten apple, I had three. And the next day there was seven. If I didn’t get involved soon, my whole bag of apples would rot away.
I thought and I prayed, even though it made all the rotting apples angry and shriek in pain. The next day a man from the ACLU came to my house with a restraining order which said, “Leave the fruit alone!”
Finally, I decided an intervention was in order. I went to all the rotting apples, in good faith, with good intentions, and I confronted them. “Apples,” I said. “You are all rotten, and soon you’ll be rotten to the core. Isn’t there anything I can do to help you?”
The apples laughed at me and sneered. “We don’t need your help! You are a killjoy and a prude! You are not better than us! Shut up and go away!” All except for the first rotten apple who was too weak to speak. He was now a glob of mush, and flies and maggots were using his body as an all-you-can-eat-buffet.
I thought I heard him trying to speak, so I leaned in closer, all the while fighting off the smell. The first apple took in one last gulp of air, and, in his dying breath, I heard him say, “Rotten is the new pure.”
And then he died and rested with his fathers.
I screamed in agony. I cried out to God. “God, why did you let this apple fall from grace, one of your best and brightest? Why did you let him die?”
God looked down on me, and I heard him say, in a tender yet firm voice. “Judgment is the new tolerance.”
And so, given this new epiphany from the Lord, I dumped out the entire bag of apples. I separated the good from the bad. I washed the good apples and used them to bake a wonderful Dutch Apple Pie. The rotten ones were thrown into my compost pile where they could be recycled … in a politically correct fashion of course.