The Eskimo Who Was Always Surprised

from Another Forty Fables by Adam Acidophilus

In the frozen wastes of the arctic north there lived an eskimo — an eskimo who was always surprised. For everything in life was unexpected to him, nothing was predictable, and he was rarely prepared for the totally bloody obvious.

He would awake each morning. “Christ, it’s freezing,” he would say.

“It is colder outside,” his wife would reply.

So he would crawl out of his igloo. “Oh no!” he would curse. “It has snowed!”

“I know,” his wife would reply. “For these are the frozen wastes of the arctic north — a polar region where it always snows.”

Numb with confusion, the eskimo would sit down to breakfast. “Fish?” he would say, “Why are we having fish?”

“Because we are eskimos,” his wife would remind him. “We live on a diet of fish — and we have since the dawn of our civilisation.”

This came as a great surprise to the eskimo who was always surprised. “Can’t we have porridge?” he would ask.

“Alas, no,” his wife would sigh. “For we have never heard of it.”

The eskimo who was always surprised was surprised by the most predictable elements of his everyday eskimo lifestyle. He was stunned each morning to discover that he was a fisherman, amazed to find that the fish swam under the ice, dumb with astonishment when reintroduced to the basic principles of his crude eskimo fishing tackle, and baffled when — in the late afternoon — he finally caught something.

“Oh my God! It’s a monster!” he would gasp.

“No,” his wife would say. “It’s a haddock.”

And every evening, as the eskimo tucked into his haddock, he would find himself confounded again as the setting sun failed to set and started rising again.

“Look at that!” he would exclaim. “Tell me that isn’t unnatural!”

“That isn’t unnatural,” his wife would tell him. “For this is the land of the midnight sun — hence the continued presence of the sun at midnight.

“Who are you?” he would reply.

Not surprisingly, the eskimo who was always surprised was looked upon as something of a misfit by the local eskimo community — for they were calm in all eventualities, proud of the changelessness of their ways, and considered surprises to be both childish and unmanly.

“I went in a kayak today,” the eskimo would tell them.

“Did you now?” the community would sneer.

“Saw a penguin,” he would lie.

“Really?” the community would yawn.

“And we’ve got an igloo, you know,” he would boast. “And my wife is from up North.”

“Shut up, shut up, shut up,” the community would request. “Nothing surprises us at all, and we do not wish to hear anymore of your riveting eskimo anecdotes!”

“Please yourselves,” the eskimo would shrug. “But I must say that your attitude surprises me.”

And so the eskimo would trudge the polar landscape, astounded by the arctic world — puzzled by the icebergs, intrigued by the many pinnipeds, and totally freaked out by his own footprints.

“I am being followed by an invisible eskimo!” he would cry.

“Who said that?” the community would jape.

The eskimo’s tendency to be surprised became so irritating that his wife arranged for him to see a therapist.

“I didn’t know there were any eskimo therapists,” he remarked.

“I know — “ his wife agreed. “That bit is actually surprising.”

And so the eskimo set off to see the therapist, skipping from ice floe to ice floe. But alas, halfway there he was tragically eaten by a whale.

Moral: It only goes to show.

© Adam Acidophilus 2011