Monday, August 23, 2010

The Solution

I was reminded tonight, of a time in my life when I was vexed and sweet reason did absolutely nothing.  The problem was my neighbour's dog... or the fact that the yappy, poodly thing never shut up because it was chained up outside along for hours and hours at at time.

First line of defense.  "Could you do something about your dog, please?"

"What's wrong with my dog!"  Not a happy response...

"Well, he barks a lot.  All day long."

"Yeah, well, he's a dog."  He's also lonely, I thought, but didn't say.

"Can't you do anything?"

"No, sorry." He wasn't sorry.  He didn't sound sorry.

End first line of defense.  Result: me zero, neighbour one point

I wanted to shoot the dog but that would have been unfair to the dog.  It wasn't his fault.  Similar dog focussed solutions were also out.

I tried ear plugs and that worked for a while but they were uncomfortable and it wasn't really a solution anyway.

Second line of defense. A slingshot and packages of outdated hot dogs, cut into one inch pieces.

From my bathroom window, if I stood on the rim of the bathtub, I had a clear shot into the neighbour's backyard and porch.  The first day I went through three packs of hot dogs.  And I know the hot dogs when through the dog.  Wait a day.  Funny, the dog is quieter anyway, sniffing around incessantly in the yard to see if any more hot-dog pieces have miraculously appeared.

Next assault.  Only two packages... I cut them into smaller pieces.  I was a student and couldn't afford much of anything but this was worth the piece of mind...  Wait two days.

Dog's behaviour is changing... he's starting to spend most of his day hunting for manna from heaven.  I've given him something to do.  Of course I've given my neighbour something to do because of the heavy diarrhoea caused by the hot dogs...

Third time, the neighbour is lying in wait.  The dog finds something in the bushes and he pounces! The dog thinks this is a marvelous game and runs around with the shred of paper that blew into the yard.  I'm just watching from two stories up, elbows on the window sill.

The dog's not barking.  He has company and something to do.  I note that the neighbour's swearing vocabulary is improving... or degenerating as the case may be.

Next day the dog tries barking again.

Another packet of hot dogs and the neighbour tries something different.  He comes home for lunch.  The dog's been snooping all over the yard, diligently hoping... quiet all morning.  Huzzah, the master's home!  Walkies!  In the afternoon, he's walked out enough and mostly snoozes.  Success.

Result: I have spent a couple of weeks and six packets of inedible hot dogs.  The neighbour has found out a way to make his dog happier... he comes home at lunch and takes the dog for a walk.  The dog now snoozes in the morning, waiting for lunch... and is content enough to only yip a time or two.  Game OVER and the crowd goes wild!

Everybody wins in the great rain of hot dogs.


Oh, and John... this is a confession, if you remember this, if you ever read this.  Yes, it was me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

T-Rex Eyes

I'm not a chick magnet.
I have a chick magnet, however.

A tin plate full of slugs
picked from my plants
 and porch and walk... it's been a wet year.

And I take my glistening,
cobweb trails of slow escapes
back to the hen yard.

The first chick finds my gooey bounty
and cannot keep it to herself.
Beak full, she mufflechirps
and hops
and jumps
for joy.

And suddenly
I have a plate full of gobbling fluff,
chasing and swallowing simultaneous
and then they turn T-Rex eyes
     on my toes.

July 18/2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

We Would be Happier People

Remember when your mom said "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything?"

If you like the person, and trust that they are intelligent, they are probably pounding on themselves harder than you ever could... and you need to realize that your words might be adding insult to injury. Somethimg may be true. But it does not need to be said, unless you want to add pain to someone's burden.

Most people do not want to do this... however... we are taught that 'truth is everything' and that the person who says the harsh truth out loud is supposedly superior. This sets people up to say the exact right thing to hurt someone else...

There is truth. And then there is sympathy. It is usually better to sympathize rather than hammer someone with truth. Unless they are morons, they will be hammering themselves hard enough, thank you very much.

The trick here is to remember that there is being 'right' and being 'nice'. Are you actually being 'true' to the spirit if you spike someone's mistake through them while they are suffering... does this make one a better person? Or hold one's tongue and be supportive?

I guess it's obvious which I think is the superior tactic... but I do not suceed at it myself. I got taught that the 'truth' was always to be said. Especially if someone were vulnerable first. That would put me in a superior position. Cruelty taught as 'truth'.

It made me safe.

This is 'Lord of the Flies' thinking and I always sympathized or empathized with Piggy...

Our society would be a better place if someone suffering were not attacked right at that moment... with the truth... or any other 'I could have told you so'. We would be happier people.

So... the next time someone is unhappy... perhaps it is not the time to unload unwelcome truths on them? People suffer enough without assistance from others. Everyone is carrying a greater burden than can be seen.

It might be nice to lighten the load for someone else, rather than add to it.