First things first!
Most of you probably have no idea what a Corinthian donkey is or looks like. Truthfully it depends on who you are and where you come from as to its actual definition. A Corinthian donkey, Christmas donkey, or Nubian donkey (depending on your linguistic and cultural history) are the donkeys with crosses on their back.
There are several historical folk stories of why some donkeys have crosses, but my favorite is that these donkeys’ ancestor carried Mary as she made the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The story is that God blessed the donkey with a cross, and some donkeys have had crosses on their back since that first Christmas.
It is not lost on me that the whole trip of a young pregnant women traipsing through Israel was precipitated by the need to count heads for tax purposes. Some things never change, governments still cause grief so they can get their pound of flesh in the form of taxes. But I digress.
Move forward a couple thousand years and I am standing in a paddock on a cattle ranch in Michigan watching 2 donkeys battle it out to see who would get their way.
To be fair one was 2 legged while the other was 4 legged. It was an epic battle of wills at first, with the 2-legged critter battling to get the 4-legged critter into a pen.
YELLING, CURSING, EE-AWING,
& SWEAT & PAWING
but it was a fair fight –
until the human decided to elevate this altercation and hit the donkey with rope.
It was at this point that this timid and usually mild-mannered donkey (albeit stubborn), turned from a pastoral, peaceful animal into a ferocious beast of intent. As teeth sank into soft, human flesh and hooves flew with accurate precision against legs and ribs the epic battle turned from a fight to a beat down.
When the dust settled, and the donkey walked over to those of us watching to take his victory lap, it was definitely donkey by unanimous decision. We walked over to make sure said human was just injured and not broken, and upon reasonable assurance that the body would heal, even if the pride would not, an older rancher with us said, “And that’s why you don’t beat a Corinthian donkey.”
The idea is: with it being one of God’s blessed critters – you don’t mess with it.
Needless to say, the human avoided that donkey at all costs after that.
Subsequently, I noticed that donkey getting a little thick around the middle and I asked the older gentleman why that was happening? He responded that he never really liked the gent who beat the donkey and walked away. It is also important to know that the older gent was the one who fed the beast and had been giving him a
“little extra” for a job well done.
What is your metaphorical Corinthian Donkey?
In this holiday season – whether Christian, Jew, or other religion – it is a great time to pause and contemplate what it is that we are obstinate about. Our world views in this day and age seem to be worth fighting for – and, on the other end of the rope, is the metaphorical donkey.
What is the reward for making the donkey bend to our will?
As business people, we should be aware that some things are just not worth the fight and, factually, are costly endeavors that may bolster our pride, but do little for our pocketbooks or business stability.
I get it, some things are absolute principles that are compelling and should not be sacrificed. However, in today’s world we spend a lot of time fussing about things that are just not that important. In Cheyenne, Wyoming we are certainly blessed. We live in a wonderful place; great things will happen here if we focus on the great opportunities that are available to us and leave the proverbial donkey alone.
On a personal note, Merry Christmas!
I wish for our entire community, regardless of your religious, political, or social beliefs, that 2023 will be a year of joy, prosperity, and progress. We might find that if we scratch the donkey between the ears and feed him a carrot that the world, or at least our community, might be transformed.
Merry Christmas & a blessed New Year,
Dale G. Steenbergen
President & CEO
YOUR Chamber of Commerce