April 30, 2023
Two humans were watching a small flock of mynas. The mynas were doing myna things, which was basically hopping around the grass looking for things to eat, finding the things to eat, and then eating them. By and large this went fine, but every once in a while one myna would hop closer to another myna, and sometimes the second myna would object, and then the first myna would object, and the result would be a lot of myna noise that was… objectionable.
The two humans shook their heads at this. One wondered, “Will the myna ever learn to share?”
They kept watching and somehow didn’t notice that when one myna objected to another myna, it wasn’t trying to steal food. It wasn’t trying to chase it away from food. It just wanted space. A little space. A little more space than you’re giving me, please. Thank you very much and would you kindly remember that for next time you…!
They squabbled about spacing. Not about feeding. Somehow the two people failed to notice that the mynas were sharing by making sure everybody had a spot to hunt for things to eat.
Eventually the humans got hungry. One had prepared a really nice lunch, with lettuce and pickles on the sandwich along with spreads and meats and cheeses. When one of the mynas managed to get a crumb later, she thought the bread was pretty special, too. With the sandwich the person had a big bottle of flavored ice tea. The mynas never learned how that tasted. The human finished every drop. Oh, and there were chips and a salad and there was chocolate for dessert. The mynas didn’t taste any of those, either.
The other human had a sandwich, but the space between the slices of bread was a lot thinner. No greenery poked out the sides. The myna consensus from trying the bread crumbs later was that it was pretty ordinary bread, rather lacking in flavor. This person drank water and had no other food than the sandwich. They finished sooner than the person with the bigger lunch, and didn’t taste any more of that than the mynas did.
Later on, the two people stopped watching the mynas for the day and got set to return home. The one with the nicer lunch got into a big, shiny car. The one with the small lunch got into a smaller car with dull paint and a few rust marks. When they drove off the small car left behind a cloud of oil-smelling smoke.
Two of the mynas looked at one another. One of them asked, “Do you think humans will ever learn to share?”
In fairness to the humans, one of them was sharing knowledge with the other – teacher to student. But still, doesn’t that question linger:
Will humans ever learn to share?
by Eric Anderson
Watch the Recorded Story
I tell the stories from my memory of the text I’ve written. Sometimes memory changes things. Sometimes creativity does. To be honest, it’s hard to tell one from the other.
Photo of a common myna by Eric Anderson.