What is a tragedy?

[Imported from Whale Oil Beef Hooked on Blogger]

NZ’s Prime Minister (for the next few days!) Mrs Peter Davis, while visiting a primary school class, found herself in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asks Mrs Peter Davis if she would like to lead the discussion on the word “tragedy.”

So the illustrious leader asks the class for an example of a “tragedy.” One little boy stood up and offered: “If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a runaway tractor comes along and knocks him dead, that would be a tragedy.

“No,” says Mrs Peter Davis, “that would be an accident.”

A little girl raised her hand: “If a school bus carrying 50 children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy.”

“I’m afraid not,” explains the temporary PM. “That’s what we would call a great loss.”

The room goes silent. No other children volunteer. Mrs Peter Davis searches the room. “Isn’t there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?”

Finally at the back of the room a small boy raises his hand. In a quiet voice he says: “If a plane carrying the Speedgate Prime Minister Mrs Peter Davis was struck by a missile and blown to smithereens that would be a tragedy.”

“Fantastic!” exclaims Mrs Peter Davis, “That’s right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?”

“Well”, says the boy, “because it sure as hell wouldn’t be a great loss, and it probably wouldn’t be an accident either!!!


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