Ash was a delicious French baguette, sitting at the bottom of a pile of freshly-baked baguettes at the bakery. Mmm, we smell delicious!, he thought. He waited for a customer to come in and take him home.
But the customers were few and far between. "It's been a slow day," said the baker. "It must be because of all the rain. I guess you guys will be reduced-price day-old baguettes for tomorrow."
Ash was horrified. Day-old! Reduced-price! Cut down in the prime of his life. He could feel his insides getting stale. There had to be some alternative to this fate.
He'd heard on the radio that the local baseball team was having open try-outs the next day. "Now that I'm not as fresh, maybe I have what it takes to be a baseball bat!" he said. He decided he would try out.
Late at night he snuck out the back door of the bakery and took a bus out to the baseball diamond. He was the first one in line for tryouts. Another eager-beaver showed up when dawn was beginning to break. "Hi, I'm Ash," said Ash. "What position are you trying out for?"
"I'm Earl," the man said. "I'm a utility infielder. I'm a good batter, too—I'd make an excellent pinch-hitter. I'm hoping I'll make the cut. I could use the dough."
"What a coincidence," said Ash. "I'm made of dough, good butter, and a pinch of salt!"
Earl looked confused.
When the manager showed up, he looked confused too. "What the heck is this?!?" he said. "There ain't no 7th-inning stretch today. Besides, we have a mascot."
"I'm Ash, and I'd like to try out to be a bat!"
"Well, all right kid. You're about the right size, I guess. Let's give him a shot. You there, give him a swing!"
Earl picked him up and strode up to the plate. The pitcher threw a breaking ball, and Earl swung too early and too high. But what a thrill! The wind whipping across Ash's crust was exhilarating. Man, this was going to be great! If Earl would just concentrate, Ash could really knock one past the left-field fence!
CRACK! Ouch. The next pitch was right over the plate, and Earl's swing was true. Only the ball was in the catcher's mitt, along with the tip of Ash's head!
"Kid, that was a heckuva try, but you just don't have what it takes to be a baseball bat," the manager told him as an assistant wrapped some gauze over his broken crust. "Why don't you sit over in the stands for a while to make sure you don't have a concussion."
He wandered over to the stands and sat next to a mopey gentleman wearing a crooked chef's hat. The man had a book in his lap called What Color is your Parachute? but he wasn't reading it.
"Hello, little fellow. Good try out there," the man said.
"Hey," said Ash. "Thanks. But this was my one shot...now I've got nothing."
"I know how you feel," he said. "My name is Pierre, and I am the concessions chef here for the park. People don't want hot dogs and bratwursts anymore. They are sick of rubbery nacho cheese and tortilla chips. If I can't boost concession sales, I will be fired! And yet, being a concessions chef, I feel, is my one true calling."
"Well, you never know," said Ash. "I'm actually a French baguette. I thought that my one true calling was to be delicious—until I went stale. That's why I tried out for the team today. Of course, you saw how well that worked out."
"A stale baguette, you say?" Pierre lit up. His chef's hat stood up a little more straight. "I have an idea! In early spring, baseball games are quite cold. Fans want something warm, but not too heavy. Maybe we could make French onion soup! And you know what is a good thing to use in French onion soup?"
Ash looked confused. "Onions?"
"Yes, yes. And beef broth and cheese. But very important also is: stale French bread!"
They got up and did a little dance until Ash complained he was dizzy and had to sit down.
On opening day, concession sales were up 80% over the previous year, thanks to
Chef Pierre's delicious French onion soup.
Oh, yeah. Ash was devoured by hungry fans. But he was happy that he fulfilled
his dream, his true purpose, of being delicious.
The moral of this story is: if you try something to which you are not well-suited, you will almost certainly fail and end up hurting yourself. On the other hand, we all end up dead.