There once was a Slug called Mad. He was such a happy Slug that all the other animals in the garden used to watch him and wonder why he was so happy. He smiled all the time, despite being stuck on his belly and one of the slowest movers in the garden. Sometimes there wasn’t enough food for him to eat and sometimes it was wet and cold but the Slug didn’t seem to mind – he just kept on moving around the garden and the things that seemed to bother others in the garden, didn’t appear to bother him.
The other animals called him “Mad Slug” as they figured he had to be insane – after all, he slid along on his tummy leaving a messy trail behind him, and he never seemed to make any progress. The smile on his face just confirmed what they knew – that he was definitely a Mad Slug.
One day, Successful Snail bumped into Mad Slug and asked him why he always looked so happy. Successful Snail carried his house on his back which would protect him from the wet and cold, so he thought Mad Slug would be jealous of his better life.
“Hello Mad Slug” said Successful Snail. “Why are you always smiling? You struggle around on your belly, never seeming to make progress and you leave slime in your wake. You aren’t successful like me and yet, you are always smiling. You must be mad”.
Mad Slug looked at Successful Snail and seemed puzzled. “What is successful?” he asked the Snail.
“You mean you don’t even know how to be successful Mad Slug? My friends were right – you are indeed crazy.” Successful Snail moved away tutting and cursing under his breath, knowing that Mad Slug would never be successful as he didn’t know the secrets of success.
But Mad Slug just kept moving. Soon he found some food and ate it and whenever he needed something, it seemed to appear at just the right time. Just as Mad Slug was about to eat more food that had appeared in front of him, Brainy Bird swooped down in front of him.
“What is flying?” asked Mad Slug of the Brainy Bird.
“Flying is the only way to get around” said Brainy Bird. “I can get anywhere I want as quickly as I want. No-one can stop me getting where I want to be.”
Mad Slug didn’t know “where” he wanted to be. He simply wanted to be a slug.
“I’m a slug” said Mad Slug. “I’m not sure why you want to fly around Brainy Bird but I’m happy here allowing my life to unfold within me. What are you looking for Brainy Bird that you can’t find within you?”
Brainy Bird was confused by Mad Slug’s question. He was always flying around trying to find something, but he wasn’t really sure what it was. And often when he thought he’d found it, he realised he hadn’t. He still felt empty and even found himself watching Mad Slug from time to time with envious eyes. “Mad Slug, I need to be the best Brainy Bird in the sky so that everyone will love me and think I’m worthy of being a Brainy Bird. You are just a slug so it’s much easier for you.”
Mad Slug looked at Brainy Bird and sighed. “What is being worthy?” he asked.
Brainy Bird laughed. “You really are a Mad Slug aren’t you? Being worthy is being the best you can be so that others recognise you as being worthy of their name”.
Mad Slug didn’t understand. He was just a slug. He wasn’t trying to be worthy of anything other than his best self. He knew that if he was the best slug he could be, that would be enough to bring him all he needed.
Later that day, Brainy Bird returned to the garden and looked for Mad Slug. He found him in the far corner of the garden. “How did you get all the way over here?” said Brainy Bird to Mad Slug. “Did you fly?”
Mad Slug answered in a way that only a Mad Slug can. “I do not know of your place called here as I am always here. I do not know of the smiling that Successful Snail talked of as I am always smiling. I do not know of the flying that you talk about as I know that I am already flying. I do not go anywhere or get anywhere as I am already there. I am a slug and I know no more than that.”
Brainy Bird wondered what it would feel like to be a slug, not searching for answers but simply knowing them already. He wondered what it would be like to simply accept what lay ahead as right in that moment, rather than always searching for a better way. He realised that Mad Slug just accepted his life as a Slug and everything that came his way for it all made perfect sense in the moment of him being a slug.
Brainy Bird saw for the first time that Mad Slug didn’t worry about doing anything or being anywhere. He knew that as long as he was the best slug that he could be, that everything he did would take him wherever he needed to be.
And Brainy Bird realised that Mad Slug wasn’t mad after all but was the happiest creature in the garden…
This story was inspired by Conrad Jagger – the creator of Mad Slug gaming studio. For more information, please go to www.madslug.com