Eel in the tub

Eels are notoriously slippery creatures. Imagine trying to hold and control one. Now imagine you are also responsible for the darn eel, and you wouldn’t want to see it harmed. So during your futile efforts to subdue the eel in a confined space, your secondary objective is to be cautious against bumping its head, tail or mid-section against dangerous objects strategically placed all around you. This becomes even harder when you are required to calibrate your grip on the uncooperative eel, because you wouldn’t want to choke the life out of it. Of course, the eel doesn’t care about any of this, including its own safety, hence it doesn’t hold back any of its punches when trying to slip out of your grasp.

You may be an adult human and a small creature like an eel might not seem like a formidable foe. If you imagined holding a 3-foot piece of rope, you would be wrong. The eel’s long, slender body is all muscle, allowing it to writhe and wriggle and surprise you with unexpected strength. In close confines, size matters little and the opponent’s will to fight can make a significant difference. Even if you do win against the slippery enemy, it would be a tasteless victory that leaves you exhausted, out of breath, anxious for the creature’s well-being while you check to see if it is still breathing, and in general kills your appetite for physical confrontation.

You could try doing this every single day of your life, and you still wouldn’t have mastered the art of giving a reluctant toddler a bath.

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