As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?
Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.
I wasn’t sure who had actually set it up. One of the Involved freshmen probably: knew enough to make the knife iron, still stupid enough to make a fucking Roomba with a knife taped onto it a reality.
“OW, FUCK,” yelled Mach, yanking his feet up onto the picnic table’s bench and gripping his left leg. “Something just sliced my ankle, what the hell.” Sure enough, when he removed his hand, it was smeared with blood and there was a neat slice just above where the bone jutted out.
“Is that… Is that what I think it is?” asked Peppermint, pointing to something gliding its way out from under our table. My face went completely blank in shock before I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose.
“Please tell me that someone did not make Stabby the Roomba a thing?”
“No can do,” said Peppermint, staring in a sort of horrified fascination after the small, round, knife-weilding vacuum cleaner.
“Oh look, it got Goldfinger,” Mach said almost dazedly as another student yelped and hopped around, clutching their ankle.
“…I don’t have the energy to deal with this,” I decided, turning back to my notes, which I was studying for an exam. My friends murmured agreement and resumed studying as well, though I noticed we all sat with our legs tucked up under us on the bench.
It wasn’t until we heard the wail that sounded like seven off-key violins all being sawed at by toddlers that we looked back up at each other, eyes wide.
“You don’t think-” Mach started, but he was cut off by another unearthly roar, this time like the sound of an avalanche hitting a wind chime factory.
“Time to go inside!” I said, hastily shoving my things in my bag as Mach and Peppermint were already sprinting for Peppermint’s dorm. “It’ll run out of battery eventually, right?” I asked as we slammed the door behind us.
I should have known better that to expect the exepected at EU; it did not run out of battery and no one ever seemed to be able to get close enough to just turn the damn thing off. For my four remaining months at EU, my sleep was interrupted by howls that came from mouths I didn’t want to imagine and chain mail leg warmers really came into fashion.