The Fruit Caper

Back in the days of my childhood, we lived in a richly competitive family. My parents were big advocates of teaching children responsibility at a very young age, and providing us with duties to perform on a daily basis. At the back of our yard, we had a number of fruit trees that produced green apples, cherries, and peaches. The little apple trees were particularly abundant in the fruit they produced, and much of it was too poor in quality to be useful. As the apples ripened and fell to the ground, it became one of our regular chores to pick up the fallen apples and bury them in the garden.

The duty was to be divided equally on rotating days between myself and my two brothers. In the beginning, this system seemed equitable enough to me, allowing me a couple of days between shifts for doing the work. On the days before my turn to perform the job, I would go out and survey the orchard to anticipate how much effort was in store for me to gather the apples and bury them. Each time I went, it seemed that my brothers had done pretty well in clearing away the fallen fruit. By the time I got out there the next morning, the ground would be covered with apples.

I found myself collecting three or four bushel baskets full of apples. Using the shovel that was almost as tall as me, I had to dig a huge hole in the ground to hold all the apples I had collected. The chore took me what seemed to be hours to complete. As the days wore on, this scenario continued to repeat itself. There was little or nothing on the ground before my shift, but bushels full of apples when it came around to my day. My back was getting sore from doing so much digging and bending over to pick up the fruit.

Using my ingenuity, I devised a tool to help me. I made a long metal poker with a sharp tip that let me jab the apples and put them into the basket without bending over. This seemed to make the work easier and faster for me, and allowed me to complete the job in about the same amount of time that my brothers seemed to be spending to do it on their shifts. When one of my brothers saw me using my new tool, he protested loudly that I was