The Tale of the Scorpion and the Frog

Scorpion asked Frog to carry him across the river. Frog was a bit nervous and exclaimed, “But you will sting and kill me once we are going across!” “Nonsense,” said Scorpion, “we would both drown if I did that.” Frog thought about it and agreed to take Scorpion across the river. Halfway across the river, Scorpion stung Frog in the back several times. Frog turned back to Scorpion, “Why did you do that? Now we are both doomed.” Scorpion simply said, “It is my nature.”

I have heard this tale over the years, but was reminded of it while watching the premiere episode of Magic City. Magic City is about Ike Evans running the Miramar Playa Hotel in Miami during 1959. It’s a busy time with Castro having just invaded Havana, the mob, and CIA are holding court in the city, and Ike is in debt to the mob. It airs on Starz and well worth checking out. The quote stuck in my head when it was shared between mob boss, Ben “The Butcher” Diamond, and Ike. There were two ways to think about the quote, from the perspective of the Scorpion, and of the Frog.

Scorpion

When the Scorpion first says, “It is my nature,” my head drifted off to thinking about how many times throughout my life people have questioned me about how quiet I am, my lack of friends, and my desire to be more reclusive at times than “out there.” It doesn’t seem to matter how long I have known someone, the question usually comes out at some point. I have never quite figured out why people enjoy playing psychiatrist and need to delve into people right away. Sometimes, there isn’t anything figure out. We are who we are, and we are happy to be that way.

Frog

I have been in the Frog’s position too frequently. My gut says something is wrong, but my mind chooses to ignore the gut reaction to “do the right thing.” On countless occasions, I aim to do the right thing to help someone out who is in a tough spot, and help them out even if it means my needs won’t be met, only to find out that they had no intention of paying me back or do something worse to stab me in the back. “Doing the right thing” only works when everyone else is doing it, as well. You either make the choice of continuing to do the right thing regardless of the outcome, or you live by your gut. I am wanting to live by my gut, but I will always be like Frog and help Scorpion.