There once lived an extraordinarily rational Elephant. So rational was Elephant, that he dedicated himself to dialogue. Everything, in fact, was up for debate. There was no conversation he would refuse to engage in, and he prided himself in his willingness to engage others.
One day Elephant was walking through the forest, enjoying a brand new cigar and humming a jazz tune to display his cultural proficiency. As it happened, another forest animal was walking through the very same forest that day: Mouse. Mouse was also extraordinarily rational. Mouse loved a good book — especially the great ones — and fully appreciated the stimulating nature of dialogue.
On that fateful day, Elephant happened to be unaware of his surroundings and didn’t see Mouse walking past him. This led Elephant to step on Mouse’s toes.
“HOLY FUCK THAT HURTS!” exclaimed Mouse. “GET THE FUCK OFF MY TOES!”
“Oh, dear me!” replied Elephant, looking down at Mouse with the utmost attempt at sympathy. “You know, I was just trying to go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air. I had no intention, nor would I ever have the intention in the future, to step on your toes.
“YOU’RE STILL STEPPING ON MY TOES, GET OFF ME!” was Mouse’s reply.
“Look,” said Elephant, “there’s no need to be so angry about this. I’m more than willing to have a rational dialogue with you about the nature of toes, whether or not you do in fact have toes, and perhaps we could come to an understanding of whether or not it’s natural for you to be walking in places where elephants walk.”
“OW OW OW OW OW!” was the only response from Mouse.
“I am a bit frustrated by your tone here, Mouse. If all you’re going to do is wallow in your bitterness, and not be willing to associate with or engage alternative worldviews about this situation, you’re really closing your mind off. I mean, frankly, you’re being as fundamentalist as a Praying Mantis.”
At this point Mouse just started beating furiously, as hard as she could, upon Elephant’s gigantic foot. Elephant frowned.
“You are bullying me, Mouse. Bullying is not a very nice thing to do—”
which only made Mouse strike Elephant’s foot harder.
Elephant sighed. Being committed to dialogue, Elephant felt sorry for Mouse. People tend to not associate with people they disagree with, thought Elephant. But it’s a shame that Mouse feels she must resort to both violent language and action.
At long last Mouse pried her now-broken toes from Elephant’s foot. She looked up with anger and tears into Elephant’s face and said, “Fuck you and your dialogue.” Then she left, scampering away as fast she could.
Stressed by Mouse’s hostile interactions, Elephant puffed heartily from his cigar and breathed a sigh of relief. He chuckled and thought to himself,
“You are only bullied if you let yourself be bullied.”