The Parable of the Orange Apple

Ardeshir Mehta

(First edition Tuesday, May 6, 2003, this edition Saturday, November 27, 2010)

Once upon a time there was a Master. The multitudes used to come and hear him speak, out there in the open air, and he would explain the mysteries of existence unto them, using parables. On one occasion he recounted unto them the Parable of the Orange Apple.

The Parable

This is what the Master said:

"Once upon a time there was an orange apple. It was really, really, really an apple, but it was orange in colour. In fact it looked exactly like an orange. And not only did it look like an orange, but it also smelled like an orange, felt like an orange when touched, sounded like an orange when tapped, and tasted like an orange when eaten. In fact it was indistinguishable from any other orange. But it was really an apple. Really.

"Since it was so peculiar, though, it attracted a lot of attention. Tests were performed on it to determine what it was: apple or orange. The tests included DNA tests, RNA tests, mitochondria tests, vitamin composition tests, calorific content tests, moisture content tests, carbon content tests, isotope tests, and a host of other tests devised by science. All the tests confirmed the initial findings: i.e. they confirmed that it was an orange. But, as mentioned earlier, it really was an apple, and not an orange.

"At one time even the heavens opened up, and a Voice came down from above saying: 'This is my beloved apple, in whom I am well pleased', and a dove flew down and sat upon the orange apple; but it convinced no one except some of the folks living in the Bible Belt: for there was no test - scientific or otherwise - that could confirm that it was an apple and not an orange.

"Here endeth the Parable of the Orange Apple."

The Explanation of the Parable

Then the multitude said unto the Master: "Master, explain to us the Parable of the Orange Apple". And the Master said, "Have ye not minds to think with? Figure it out for yourselves."

But then upon further reflection the Master repented, and said unto himself, "This multitude is kinda dumb, so I think I’d better explain it to them." Then he opened his mouth, and spake unto the multitudes, saying:

"The apple is like unto the [and here insert the designation of your favourite ethnicity or sexual orientation: Jew, Gypsy, Gay, Zionist, Nazi, Transsexual, whatever]. He looks like a human being, and smells like a human being, and sounds like a human being, and feels like a human being, and if he were eaten - which of course God forbid - would even taste like a human being. And all scientific tests performed upon him would reveal that he is a human being.

"But is he, really?

"Your guess is as good as mine."

And the multitudes thanked the Master, and went their way, considerably more confused than they had been before they had come to hear the Master speak.