Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Hello, Handbasket!

Today I find myself concerned because I have stopped for a second, looked around and realized I'm sitting in a handbasket.  Yes, this is a metaphor.  And when you are sitting in a metaphorical handbasket you know what your ultimate destination is going to be.  If you don't, I applaud you and I would appreciate life advice.

Now, in the moment of inevitable re-evaluation that this sort of handbasket sitting causes, I thought about how I had arrived in the center of this particular handbasket.  Life has a strange way of wending around like a lazy river.  It takes its own time, bending here and swirling there.  Moving in a muddled way that can take a distracted traveler by surprise.  One moment you've put into the river in a canoe, knowing exactly what direction you are headed.  The next while you take a moment to admire the scenery, you realize that you are suddenly in the eddy of an oxbow facing entirely the opposite direction from the one you expected and your canoe has magically turned itself into a handbasket.

At moments like this, I like to assess my life and try to figure out which bend in the river has put me in this precise handbasket.  So, I looked around at a few of my fellow travelers.  A few of them looked shocked as though they'd been newly apprised of our destination.  A couple of them looked grim as though they'd known about our dire situation for a long time but seen no way out of the inevitable.  Not a one of us was entirely sure how the river of life had turned us around and spit us out into this handbasket on the highway to... well, you know.

Hindsight has proven the few souls that bailed earlier to be the wiser travelers on this path.  Alas, I was not so wise as they.  I have only now seen the handwriting on the road signs.  So here we are, a sad group of somewhat more or less shocked travelers in a handbasket speeding down the highway.  I gape as we roar past another group of people along the side of the road feverishly bent over their wickerwork; weaving a new handbasket for their own impending journey.  That's when I realized that not a single fellow traveler was arguing about whether we were, in fact, on our way to H*ll with impressive speed, we were merely quibbling about the ETA.

The way things have gone today, I think it might be wise to invest in wicker.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

On Talking to Dogs and Dads

After years of living with dogs, I have observed that they are very similar to my Dad in a few too many ways.  One of the most notable ways is how it's best to communicate with them.

First, you must address them by their name.  Dad, Boys, Rocky, etc.  This is so that they know that you are talking to them and not the wall.  So that they know you aren't talking aloud in an effort to amuse yourself by composing poetry to the void.

Second, you must use short, simple, single-word verbal commands.  Nothing too complicated or the words might lose potency and begin to sound like more poetry to the void.

For instance, you say, "Boys, stay" so the dogs know that whatever happens next they aren't supposed to move.  Or you say, "Dad, look" so he knows the paper you are waving in his direction is meant for his inspection.

Now, over the years, I've taught my Dad and dogs some unusual commands.  I've taught my dogs the command "Boys, smell," which means that they are allowed to smell but not eat any item I am about to present to them.  And my Dad I have taught "Dad, volume," so that he knows to turn the volume down or up on the TV if it's not correct.

But it's important to remember that all dogs and Dads have limitations.  There will be some tricks that you simply cannot train your dogs or Dad to do.  My Dad cannot be trained to put a twist tie around the garbage bag if he takes it out.  My dogs cannot be trained to not chase the cat when she runs.

There is always the chance that they will forget old commands when they are too excited to focus.  Intense sports may make Dad forget what volume even means for a second or two and the presence of a leash will make my dogs forget what sit means.

But a well-trained dog is not perfect, just one that tries hard to please.  A good and well-trained dog sometimes remembers the right commands, but always remembers that love comes first and the rest is simply not that important.  The same goes for Dads.  Nobody is perfect but love makes all the difference.

With Love to my Dad and all my dogs.