The "Kangaroo vs. Pineapple" Theory
Middle school was a fun and interesting time in my life. Like most kids you had more time on your hands, and full summers to enjoy the outdoors or other activities you could think of to do with your time. But even so I was a different kind of kid. I never smoked, did drugs or drank alcohol like most kids my age. In fact, every single one of my friends did at least one of the above. I was a black sheep in the herd so to say. Being different didn’t hinder my relationship with others though. Despite the many times I declined their request of trying to smoke or do a new drug they found, they respected me and still liked hanging out from time to time.
One friend in particular Mike, I was close to throughout school. We both had similar interests in terms of sports, humor, and music. Mike was a very noteworthy individual growing up. He was a big, strong guy who could play many sports and even intimated some of the kids just by how big he was. But he also had a different outlook on things that I had never thought of before. I wasn’t sure sometimes if that’s how his personality was or it was the drugs he was doing talking. Nevertheless one day he talked about a thought-provoking theory that at the time, he viewed to be serious and not a joke
He called it the “Kangaroo vs. Pineapple” theory.
Yes the thought of a kangaroo and a pineapple being part of some kind of theory might seem strange and ludicrous. Mike could tell by the look I gave that I was confused and questioning his sanity with the words he had spoken. He broke it down for me though and began to give the theory more elucidation. As I listened to his explanation, it started to make more sense to me. The “Kangaroo vs. Pineapple” theory could be summarized simply: What you see is not always what it appears to be.
He gave the scenario of a tough kangaroo that loves to pick fights with tougher animals. One day he stumbles upon a pineapple out in the wild and sees its tough texture. The kangaroo upon viewing the appearance challenges the pineapple to a fight. With no response, the kangaroo assumes that the yellow piece of fruit has no fight in him. He imagines that the pineapple has been struck by fear and can’t move. To him, this piece of fruit has seen its ultimate match and dares not to interfere. Smug and proud of his strong appearance, he returns home. Before he can reach the door however, the pineapple is waiting for him in the trees. It falls on the kangaroo’s head and nearly knocks him out. While dazed from the blow to his head, the kangaroo slips on the pineapple and falls off his porch. Unfortunately, the kangaroo had built his house upon a high cliff in order to enjoy the view of the landscape. Thus, he fell and broke every bone in his body. To the rest of the animal world, the kangaroo was now not so tough. He had been beaten by a pineapple.
So he thus showed me that the kangaroo thought just by one response from the pineapple that it was weak and could do nothing against him. But he found out that there was more to the pineapple than the Kangaroo had once thought. He said most people are like the Kangaroo in the fact they assume too much, while others are like pineapples where there is more than meets the eye. It was a very clever theory but I wondered how something like that could be applied.
A few weeks later I found out.
I received a forwarded email from another friend that had a trick picture. In the picture, were two identical photos of a living room. Each had a dining room table, a rug, a window with curtains, bookshelf and doorway to the kitchen. The object was to spot the difference between the two. But about thirty seconds later to the viewer’s unknowing while being a centimeter from the screen looking at the picture, it would turn into a skull with a loud scream. I found it funny so I forwarded it on to Mike and thought nothing of it. I included in the email directions to leave the sound up high so you can hear the “hints” it would give you if you got stuck. I mentioned it so that his sound would be up full blast to get the full effect.
The next day Mike came to me stumped. He had gotten the email but had a question about the picture. I was disappointed since at first I thought that the trick had not worked. But I was wrong.
“I kept my volume up like the email stated,” he said. “ But the only hint it gave me was a scary face and a scream. What was the answer?”
I was puzzled by his question. “You mean you didn’t figure out what the difference in the photos were?” I replied.
“No, I was looking very close at the screen but couldn’t find it. I checked it this morning while I got my cereal for breakfast. When the face appeared, I jumped and flipped backwards out of my chair while my cereal went all over me.”
I started to laugh and realize what had happened, but it got even better.
“So after I cleaned the mess off of me, I went back and kept looking at the pictures. It just kept showing the skull and a loud scream with no hint every thirty seconds. What’s the difference with the pictures?”
I had to get my composure back from the comical story he told before I could reply. I explained to him that it was a trick and there was no answer. Mike simply laughed and shrugged it off. I started to wonder how smart Mike really was based on the story I had heard him tell me.
A short time later we were in our math class. Every test I was at the top of the class at finishing the best. Mike never came close to the grades I had in math, so I decided to tease him. I had been shown that day that Mike although a nice guy, lacked the intelligence of what I had. All through class I kept joking around how he must have done badly on his test since he was too busy looking for the difference in pictures instead of studying. Soon enough our teacher came by with the test scores.
“Here you go Mike, excellent job!” I glanced over to see Mike’s score of 96. I was impressed, maybe Mike caught a break. Next the teacher came to me, but she said something that pierced me like a dagger. “Is everything alright?”
I was stunned. The news I didn’t dream of hearing hit me. I could hardly reply to the question. “Um, yes I’m fine.”
“Your grade is not as good as it usually is,” she said. “I’m just concerned.” I took the piece of paper from her hands, reading over it as if it was a death letter.
I could see Mike’s smile from the corner of my eye. I was frozen in place, staring at the test that shocked me. I knew what Mike was going to do for the rest of the day, but after a few minutes I came to accept it. I deserved every bit of jesting from him and everyone else in the class. I had over time become proud of my accomplishments in math class. I was high over the rest of the students and fooled myself into believing it as a fact. But what surprised me more than seeing my horrid test score was when I recognized that Mike was right about something else. His simple theory had been shown in action and I knew it.
I was a kangaroo.