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July 20, 2015
Life on Planet Kathy
The Naked-Legged Monster
by Kathryn H. Kidd

Fluffy pulled out his scrapbook supplies the other day and sat in front of the television for a relaxing morning of work and TV. He came upstairs to report that he'd found an awful science fiction movie "with a special effects budget of at least forty-seven cents."

This is not a bad thing. Fluffy looks for bad science fiction movies, and the worse they are, the better it is from his perspective. He wants to be able to work on our scrapbook and watch television at the same time, without either activity suffering. Bad science fiction entertains him without actually distracting him from his work.

When he reported on this particular movie, he was royally disgusted.  He said that two monsters came from outer space, landed on a planet that looked a lot like Earth, and spent the entire movie fighting to the death. One of the monsters was a giant spider. The other was a humanoid creature.

The humanoid creature was decked out in a formidable suit of armor. He had what looked like an iron barrel covering his torso, and similar iron sheaths for his arms. He had a metal helmet that looked like an upside-down cone, protecting his head, and thick gloves over his hands. This was armor that was resistant to the most determined weapon's efforts to pierce it.

Oddly, the humanoid's armor did not extend to its legs. Although every inch of the creature's body from the torso on up was protected, he was wearing standard pants over his legs. There was no protection whatsoever, unless you consider polyester to be a shielding device.

Even more oddly, it never occurred to the giant spider to shoot the humanoid in the legs. Every bit of ammunition was wasted on the armor that covered the humanoid's torso and his arms and his head -- armor that was impervious to whatever the humanoid's enemies used as weaponry.

If the spider had shot at the humanoid's legs, it would have been game over. One bullet would have at least incapacitated the humanoid, and if the bullet severed an artery the humanoid would not have survived.

But this never occurred to the spider, which determinedly expended all its ammunition on the suit of armor. (The human cast of the movie also tried to kill the humanoid by shooting at his armor, and achieved the same results.) The giant spider and the humanoid battled to the death for the length of the movie, until finally the humanoid prevailed and slew the giant arachnid.

The humanoid then returned to his space ship, took off his helmet, and smoked a cigarette, which revealed the surprise ending that the planet was not Earth and the humans on the planet were not Earthlings, but that the humanoid in the armor was a man from Earth who was wending his way across the galaxy in pursuit of errant spiders.

How often are we like that giant spider and the humans who attacked the humanoid in his armor? We are faced with a problem and we keep trying the same thing over and over again to solve it. It doesn't matter that the solution we try has failed every single time we've tried it. We keep repeating the same useless behaviors, never knowing that a solution to our problem is right there in plain sight.

All we have to do is try something different, but before we can do that we have to recognize that what we're doing isn't working and look for other solutions that may be more effective.

I'm good at shooting the armor. I'm not nearly as good at looking for other places to shoot. I'm beginning to believe that, like the giant spider, I am wasting my energy using the same weapons on the same targets, over and over again.

Sometimes when our prayers aren't answered, it's because we aren't praying for the right thing. If our prayers bounce off the ceiling, it may be time to shoot prayers out the window instead.

Copyright © 2024 by Kathryn H. Kidd Printed from