A little something called your computer’s history

You don’t have to be an IT expert these days to know about a little something called your computer’s history. Back when the Internet was first being explored by us commoners, the intricacies of our activity were tougher to figure out as we struggled to understand how connecting to our phone line can make pictures appear on a screen. Crazy!

Now it’s 2014. We have no excuse for not knowing what the history is. And we also have no excuse for not knowing how to clear it. Spoiler alert about the movie Don Jon: Joseph Gordon Levitt is a guy addicted to porn blah blah blah. He meets a girl blah blah blah. She goes on his computer to check his browsing history blah blah blah. She finds all the XXX sites he’s been to for the past ten days blah blah blah. Wait, what? This is where the record scratched for me. Not only was he so dumb that he didn’t clear his history of his more intimate indulgences but he had no clue what his history even was.

This should not be. This cannot happen. People, how would you feel if your history were made public one day? I, personally, would feel fine because the most you’re going to see out of me is that I read too much (yes, yes, I am aware of the numerous visits to Amazon and Barnes & Noble), make frequent visits to Irish travel guide sites (a dream as yet unrealized), spend way more time on Facebook than I should (who doesn’t?), and that I really, really like Marvel Comics (I am NOT ashamed).

Clearing one’s history is not only good advice to keep in mind for porn aficionados and e-voyeurs, but also surprise birthday party planners, gift givers, child stalkers (your own child, pervert, not other people’s!), Words With Friends cheaters, and closet Kevin James fans. Oh and if you’re going to be chatting it up with people you really shouldn’t be chatting it up with?  Yeah, it would be a good idea to delete that too.

Long story short, if you’re going to do something sketchy online you should really be better at covering your tracks. It’s really not that hard. Yet some people just can’t seem to grasp the basics.  Would you ever rob a jewelry store and not wear gloves? Websites have fingerprints too. All your movements leave a trail, but clearing history can wash away that digital DNA, at least off the surface. Use it or if you get caught I can only say to you, “I told you so.”

Of course there’s always the novel idea of not doing sketchy things to begin with.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Like that’s ever going to happen.

 

The Wailing Child

My neighbor has a daughter that’s roughly somewhere between three and five years old. Honestly, I’m not a good judge of age so I’m going to stop at that pretty wide estimate. She’s small, much like a kid around that age should be, but this girl has got a set of PIPES on her. Holy heaven she can wail like a banshee.

The other day the weather was so nice I decided to enjoy the breeze so I popped my windows open to catch some of the nice aromas of the surrounding wilderness. Piercing through the serenity of the great outdoors came this unnaturally loud bellow. It was the little girl, just letting loose everything in her superhuman lungs. She was standing maybe five feet from my bedroom window (where I was trying to relax) yodeling away. If she would have told me she was trying to communicate with life on another planet I would’ve found her volume level perfectly acceptable and understandable.

The real reason she was letting out this blood curdling shriek? She was calling—nay, screaming—for her friend who lived all of two doors down.  Let me step back for a second and explain that prior to the aforementioned assault on the senses, these two girls had had a loud conversation (also right next to my bedroom window) that centered round the one girl having to go home for dinner and that she’d be back later. The wailing child (aptly named) was apparently not thrilled with this plan. So. She waited all of five minutes to start the kind of howling that would make any banshee proud.

Maybe she wasn’t allowed to leave her yard alone, hence my guess at her young age. Maybe she was super lazy and didn’t want to walk the twenty seconds it would take to reach her friend’s front door and knock on it. Who knows? All I know is that after a half hour she had gifted me a fresh migraine and frayed nerves from all the yelling she did.

She was screaming so loud I couldn’t even tell what she was saying. Her volume was so high that the message couldn’t get through the deafening barrage of sound. I made out her friend’s name but that was it. Besides that, it was all gibberish. Extremely loud gibberish.

And there I am in my house, dumbfounded that she’s able to continue on like a raving lunatic for sooo long. Where the hell were her parents? I know I’ve written a few times about people who have questioned my parenting methods. Allow me to turn the tables and tell you all that I certainly think her parents could use a little tune up in the personal decency department. I would never have allowed my kids to stand out there and just randomly scream like that. It’s not exactly what I would call neighborly behavior.

When I got pregnant (both times) everyone told me “oh this will finally make you realize how great kids are.”  Yeah, my kids. They’re awesome. Other people’s kids? Not so much. They still haven’t rubbed off on me quite yet and probably never will if they keep on trying to raise the dead outside my window. Remember kids: Silence is golden.

The Scream by Edvard Munch

The Scream by Edvard Munch

Smartphones are Eating your Brain — Or, Ode to “The Feeling of Power”

I was thinking today as I was out doing my round of errands…what did people do before smartphones?

Did they come out of a grocery store pushing their cart full of groceries, paying attention to their little children and not letting them run around willy-nilly wherever they wanted? Especially, let’s say, directly in front of another person’s cart causing that person to stop quickly or else run them over thereby tossing their precariously perched milk into the parking lot. I’m sure parents would’ve noticed this prior to smartphone days don’t you think?  Maybe?

Since their attention would not be riveted on a small square screen, did these non-smartphone owning parents put their groceries in the trunk of their car, while at the same time keeping track of the aforementioned little children so that they weren’t at risk of being flattened by cars driving up and down the aisle-ways (or whatever the technical term is for the driveway between the rows of cars)?

Did they put their children in car seats then take their cart all the way to a cart corral so it wouldn’t block someone else’s access to a parking spot or roll back into the aisle-way? Would they then get in their car, look in their rear-view mirror both ways before backing out of the spot, and then drive carefully out of the parking lot?  (You can sort of tell what kind of experience I had at the grocery store I suppose.)

Well, the answer to those riveting questions is no!  Ha! Surprised you there, didn’t I!?

The same people who are careless today with their smartphones are the same people who were careless even when they didn’t have smartphones to occupy their attention. Smartphones just make it worse.

Even without smartphones, grocery store parking lots (and grocery stores themselves) have always been hazardous and annoying places because of inconsiderate and/or oblivious patrons. And don’t even get me started on those people who leave their shopping cart in the middle of an adjacent parking spot, instead of pushing it all of ten feet into a cart corral! (I’m not joking. I can understand people who don’t want to walk 10 yards or so to a cart corral, but when it’s literally ten feet away and they can’t be bothered? What’s up with that!?)

So, smartphones are just another way for people who are already inconsiderate and careless about personal space to be even more inconsiderate and careless on many levels.

But there’s more to the insidious nature of smartphones than that…I’ve been considering this for a while.

There’s a rather famous Isaac Asimov short story – well, it’s famous if you’re a science fiction fan, anyway – called “The Feeling of Power,” about a society where people have forgotten to do math in their heads, because they always use calculators. (I don’t want to go into the whole story…suffice it to say that it takes place in a dystopian future where people have been supplanted by intelligent robots — of course, being Asimov).

In his autobiography, Asimov says that one of the magazine editors who read this story (he wrote it in 1958) scoffed at the idea that mankind could ever possibly forget how to do simple math in their head.

Well…in 2014 is there any doubt about it? It used to be calculators were never allowed in classrooms – students had to do all the math by themselves. By the 1990s, students were allowed to take math tests with their handy-dandy calculators by their side.

And it’s only gotten worse.

There are no calculators in classrooms these days, I don’t think… because they have been supplanted by phones which have calculators, cameras, and of course, the ability to text to people. And if students are asked not to bring their phones to school and text in class while the teacher is trying to actually teach, there is such an uproar that you would not believe it!

I admit – I personally can’t remember new phone numbers anymore. I don’t need to. They’re all programmed into my phone. People in general don’t need to keep anything in their heads anymore – it’s all in their phones.

And it’s amazing how many people are connected to their electronics as if they’re life giving umbilical cords.  If something ever happened to their phones, I think these people would end up staring glassy-eyed into the distance, drooling, not knowing what to do.

Asimov predicted this in 1958….but he was ignored.  I imagine that not too long into the future we’ll not only be amazed by anyone who can remember how to do simple arithmetic or recall a phone number on command, but perhaps going further, we’ll have a Wall-E kind of existence. Just sitting on floating barca-loungers, computer screens planted right smack in front of our faces with no idea whatsoever of what’s going on around us.

Read Mr. Asimov's short story here

Read Isaac Asimov’s short story here

 

Wall-E

Wall-E

Warranty (Or how I foiled the evil-doer)

The cats in my house are treated very well. Always a full food dish. Ample water. Toys abound. They should never complain of being bored with all the games and distractions I’ve spent money on specifically for their enjoyment. Yet this one cat…this one cat…well, let’s just say I’m reminded of Ralph Kramden’s “One of these days, one of these days…POW! Right in the kisser!”

Trust me, this exclamation of promised violence is not unprovoked.  Because for all that I do to keep them occupied, this one cat is hopelessly and helplessly addicted to eating headphones. Every single chance she gets to gnaw away on the expensive cords she takes with unabashed glee. They’re never my headphones mind you (I don’t use them). They’re my daughter’s.  The one person in this house who ensures the safety of all the four-legged creatures within…and this cat chooses to destroy her things. Who ever said cats make sense?

Oh and let me tell you, she knows she’s not supposed to do it, but like most cats, she simply doesn’t care. She lays in wait for the perfect moment to strike and makes the most of it when it comes. Sarah will leave the room for, literally 30 seconds, and when she comes back in, there’s Holly grinding away on the cord of the latest pair of headphones mistakenly left on the coffee table.

I swear it’s like she’s trying to crack walnuts with her teeth she’s so devoted to the task. We try to keep them out of reach but she knows where they’re stored. You’d think that if they’re placed way up in the top drawer of a high dresser they’d be safe right?  Well you’d be wrong.  Holly just scales up the dresser and tries to open the drawer to get at them.

I’m a woman of simple means. I can’t be going around buying a new pair of $15 headphones every two weeks. Sarah is great about putting them up out of harm’s way when she’s done with them, but quick trips to the bathroom are sometimes overlooked. And there’s no hope of rehabilitating my cat to break this destructive habit. I’ve tried. Oh how I’ve tried.

Thankfully, the last time I went to Radio Shack to buy yet another pair of headphones, the girl behind the counter told me that for an extra $3.99 I could get a warranty that includes damage of any kind. Any kind. Even damage caused by an annoying, obnoxious cat falls under the warranty (I asked).  Why oh why didn’t they tell me about this before!?  Damn right I want the warranty! Ring that sucker up! I don’t get the super hoighty-toighty noise cancelling Beats headphones or anything fancy like that but taking into consideration how many pairs of the cheap brands I’ve already had to replace, the $3.99 warranty was a steal.

Would it actually pay off or was this just a clever ploy by Radio Shack to scam a few extra dollars so they can stay in business just a little bit longer? Lo and behold just two days…two days mind you…I was right back at the Radio Shack picking up a new pair of headphones cost-free because the last one’s cord had been neatly sawed in two. So was it worth it? Most definitely.  Oh and the replacement pair I got for free?  Yep. They’re under warranty too. So take that Holly! Your dastardly deeds are foiled!

 

evil-doer

evil-doer

Sharing vs Taking

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you have probably run across an entry or two that talks about my parenting methods and my views on parenting in general. You have also probably gotten the idea that I’m not exactly what many would define as a “traditional” mother, what with the swearing and tattoos and all. There’s an article I read several days ago that grabbed my attention because it describes another woman’s ideas on child-rearing. It’s sure to inspire lively debate because she puts forth the idea that maybe teaching your kid to share isn’t as good of an idea as it has been made out to be.

Check out the article here for the author’s own words: http://www.sunnyskyz.com/blog/365/This-Mom-Perfectly-Explains-Why-She-Does-Not-Teach-Her-Kids-To-Share#K30Up3rQsEbSfM3r.01

I’m sure we all have our own takes on what she has written. It’s not a black and white issue and I certainly stand right smack in the grey area. I completely agree that your child shouldn’t feel like it’s his or her obligation to share toys that they own with someone they may or may not know if they don’t want to. That’s not how things work in the real world. If it was, a stranger could take a peek over your shoulder when you’re at the Starbucks “working,” and demand to use your laptop, right? It’s your computer, but they want it so you’d have to give it up. How much sense does that make?

But if the toy doesn’t belong to anyone in particular (it has been provided by their pre-school or Chuck E. Cheese for communal use for example), sharing should be required after a reasonable amount of time. The real world tends to agree with this logic, too. Take the gym for instance. If all the Stairmasters are in use, it’s considered poor form if someone rocks out on it for an hour. In fact, most gyms have a 20 minute maximum use time if machines are busy just so everyone can get a fair turn at something that everyone has the same amount of ownership in.

Personally, I think that the author has confused “taking” with “sharing.” Unfortunately, I also think that she’s far from the only parent that’s guilty of this inversion of definitions. A child shouldn’t just think they can point to something, have it given to them no questions asked, and call it “sharing.” I think this concept is what is driving the author’s intrepid new non-sharing platform. The outcome? To her—or at least this is what I get from what she has written—it’s possible that the old model where parents force their children to share is why society is in the state that it’s currently in now.

I would offer the suggestion that maybe parents like her who don’t believe in sharing is the reason our society has gone downhill. As adults, we no longer help the poor, the homeless, or even our neighbors. “To hell with them” is the attitude most people take these days. It’s my money/food/stuff, to hell with them we say as we hold onto our “stuff” with a death grip. Back in the day, the phrases “Gotta look out for number one” and “You do you, I’ll do me” didn’t exist. Neighbors were quick to share resources, food, time, help. Now… not so much.

Of course I’m not talking about every individual person, but as a whole we’ve become by and large a closed society that shuts strangers as well as friends out unless there are seriously extenuating circumstances.

Sharing vs. taking. Don’t get them confused. This blog is just sharing my thoughts. You don’t have to take them, but hopefully it is an idea you will at least consider.

 

BRAINSSSSSSSSSSSS

If you’ve had the TV on anytime in the last month you’ve probably seen commercials for the new Luc Besson movie Lucy. In it Scarlett Johansson plays a woman who accidentally ingests a new wonder drug that allows her to access 100% of her brain. The same general concept has been done a few times before, the first one popping into my mind being 2011’s Limitless starring Bradley Cooper. The only real difference between the two is that Bradley Cooper’s character takes the drug voluntarily, whereas in Lucy our heroine has it forced upon her.

That’s all beside the point. The point is, they unlock the key to the vast expanses of their cerebral capacity where the mysteries of the universe dwell to redefine the meaning of life, spirituality, and awaken the subject to a new, uncharted level of humanity. As a result, hilarity ensues.

Imagine, if you can, if this happened to you. Someone walks up and presents you with a blue pill and a red pill. Take the blue pill and the story ends, you wake up in your bed and have the same brain power you had when you went to sleep yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and so on. Take the red pill and your brain becomes your Wonderland and you get to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Wouldn’t it be horrible if after all that hype of opening up the billions of neurons in my brain I decide to take the red pill or get struck by lightning or whatever and I can’t do any of the incredible things they have in the movies!? Scarlett Johansson is levitating bad guys. Bradley Cooper is cracking open stock market patterns. Keanu Reeves is stopping bullets. John Travolta is learning Portuguese! (1996’s romantic fantasy Phenomenon, you guys).

If I ended up only being able to finally understand Algebra, I’d be livid (and slightly embarrassed). All I’m saying is that if I ever get the full power of my grey matter it better deliver. If I can’t figure out an easy way to rob a bank without breaking a sweat, then something’s not right. Not saying I’d do it, of course. It’d just be nice to know the option is out there.

Smells and Memories

Recently I was at the grocery store and noticed an extra glow about the place; a sort of fluffiness that I don’t normally associate with the local Acme outlet. It took a couple of minutes but I finally noticed that the place was teeming with fresh lilies. Maybe the management bought too many, maybe a customer bailed on a pre-arranged large order.

Whatever the reason, these flowers were lining the walls of the store turning it from a sterile shopping depot into a slightly more lovely place to blow my money…what with the floral decorations lightening things up. I could look at lilies all day, I thought. What sort of bugs me is their smell. I am not a fan. One whiff of their aroma and I’m swiftly transported back to funerals I’ve attended and a melancholy mood washes over me. A major headache soon follows.  That’s a powerful reaction just from a smell which got me thinking about how sensitive my nose is to all the different odors that swirl invisibly through the air.

I’m far beyond questioning my motivations at this point, but somewhere along the line in my life I thought it’d be a brilliant idea to not only have kids but also add multiple pets into the mix. They’re all a joy to me, truly, but my poor nose has been put through the ringer. Add in the fact that I hate…HATE mind you…bodily functions of any sort and well, there you have it…that’s my life.

As far as my olfactory system is concerned, children and pets are nothing but rumbling balloons filled with gas that leaks out haphazardly as the day goes on. Each balloon has a buffet of options to choose from when it needs to excrete a stench, all of which make me gag. Never have I smelled a gas that has come out of my dog and thought, “Well, isn’t that just a lovely scent you got there?” No. Questions float briefly in my mind as to what I did in my life to have things come to this. But besides these toxic cloud attacks, not all smells are so bad.

Take the smell of baking bread for example. There’s nothing like it. You know what I’m talking about. Everyone succumbs to this. I don’t know what it is about hot yeast, but when I pass by a bakery and they’re pulling out steaming loaves of French bread from the ovens, I’m euphoric. The smell envelopes me with wave after wave of happiness and comfort.

Consider the following scenario: Mommy or Daddy bathes Baby nice and clean, dusts a little powder on the bum, and makes the baby smell so fresh with the scents of cleanliness. This heavenly aroma clings to the baby’s onesie which probably makes it a bit easier for the parents when their child turns into a raging demon spawn and is up screaming until the sun breaks over the horizon. Mommy and Daddy can pop a clean onesie onto that bugger, inhale the aroma and all the love will come flooding back. It can certainly make up for the “gag” smells. And I speak from professional experience.

As most of you probably already know from watching Bill Nye, of our five senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste – smell is most closely connected to our memory, which I find fascinating. The sense of smell doesn’t get as much credit as some of the others, yet I don’t think it’s any less important to the survival of animal species. Smell can tell us just as much about danger as any other sense. The eyes let us know when it’s safe to cross the street. Ears pick up cries of someone in trouble from far away and keep us vigilant of areas around corners or on other levels of our house. Touch lets us know when something is too hot or too cold. Taste picks up poison. Smell, possibly the least popular of our sense, does just as much. Most of the things we use our nose for are practical. Does the baby have a dirty diaper? Is there smoke in the house? Is this milk spoiled?

It even helps us in the propagation of our species. It lets us know—dare I say it?–does that guy smell sexy? That’s an important question, people. I’ll need to do some research, but a close friend once told me that love at first sight is more often than not triggered not by how a guy looks, but how he smells – or rather, how the pheromones he’s secreting smell!

Every person you know and love has their own personal scent just like they have their own fingerprint. If I were to put you in a room with three of your closest friends, I bet you could sniff them and know exactly who they were even if you had ear plugs and a blindfold. How many of you have worn the shirt of a loved one or have lain on their pillow to help ease the pain and loneliness when they’re away? It’s much different than looking at a picture of them. There’s something about smell that goes deeper. It’s in your bones.

The strong connection between smells and emotions is a primary reason why aromatherapy is so popular. Some scents, like lavender, relax us. Some scents, such as musk, arouse passion. Scents can literally guide our actions by planting subconscious cues in our brains. Our sense of smell is so important because it has the ability to help us remember people or places from the past, comfort us, and even help us fall in love.

So next time you go for a walk, take deep breaths and see where the scents lead you! Hopefully it will be somewhere pleasant and not, for instance, a landfill.

 

Bravery: To stand up against evils large and small

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”

That old truism has long been debunked. People who are prone to low self-esteem (such as teenagers) usually can not just ignore comments about their weight or their looks made from their peers (as in, other teenagers). Girls who have been called “fat” will desperately starve themselves to lose weight in an effort to stop the teasing – only to find that the clique of “mean girls” will just find something else to tease them about. In fact, these “mean girls” usually have a never-ending supply of hate that they’re more than willing to spew at those around them just to make themselves appear superior.

Physical bullying, beating someone up, is a horrific experience, don’t get me wrong. But too often verbal bullying is trivialized and made to seem “not so bad” when in fact, not only is it just as bad, it’s sometimes worse.  Verbal bullying is insidious and unceasing – especially with today’s technology of Facebook, Twitter, email and so on.

Bullying in school has long been considered an inane “rite of passage.” I don’t ever remember a teacher in my school standing up for a bullied kid – but then, most kids who are bullied don’t “squeal” to their parents or teachers in authority because they think that will just make the bullying even worse, and they’re usually right. Sadly, the school system (especially back in my day) is just not willing to do the right thing and stamp out bullying once and for all…even when concerned parents take a stand.

Instead, they turn a deliberately blind eye until something tragic happens.  It should never get to that point, people.  And this mentality has unfortunately crept its way into the minds of too many young people (hell, even adults). Kids will simply stand by and watch bullying without doing anything about it or they walk on, keeping their head down and not getting involved.  But if the bullied kid tries to fight back and becomes a “squealer” or a “tattle-tale” – they will shake their heads in contempt and wonder why the victim (except they don’t think of the word victim) can’t fight their own battles! These people don’t understand that it’s a battle that cannot be won alone.

It takes a brave person to stand up against the bullying of others – stand up for a new girl against a “mean girls” clique, and all of a sudden they’ll likely start targeting you, too – but it takes an even braver person to stand up against her own bullies.

I’m thinking of the story I just read about 14-year-old Carleigh O’Connell, over at the Huffington Post.

carleigh

Click photo for story

If you don’t want to click the link in the photo, I’ll tell you the story. She’s a normal sized girl, with normal sized hips – not a skeletal stick figure which is what all the girls are apparently supposed to look like these days. Someone spray-painted the words “Carleigh’s Ass” on a cement block located at a popular beach spot where everyone in town could see it.

Carleigh was initially hurt and embarrassed – who wouldn’t be? – but then she decided to show her would-be tormenters that they couldn’t push her around. She dressed in a bikini, stood on the block with her butt to the camera, and proudly showed it off. She shared the photo on social media and it has gone viral.

She’s being praised as someone who is sticking up for healthy body images for girls. I mentally applauded her for the way she handled the situation. Hell, I gave her a standing ovation.

And it got me to thinking some more.

What is bravery? To me, I don’t think bravery can simply be summed up as doing something that should be rewarded with a knighthood, a treasure, a medal, a trophy, or a statue. True bravery can be, and often is, small. It can be something other people don’t even notice. It can be a quiet, personal message to one other person if you want it to be. Or it can even be just for you.

Simply facing a bully or in this case fighting back against graffiti is an act of pure bravery.

What I wish would happen is that instead of bullying photos or comments making the rounds at the speed of light, we turn it around so that the bullies are the ones who look ridiculous.  At the speed of light.

In this day and age of social media, it would only take one or two people to get the ball rolling.  Instead of staying silent when you see someone being bullied (or worse, joining in because of peer pressure), you flip the script and call out how horrible of a person the bully is and post a comment on FB or other social media that draws attention to how this certain person is being unjustly cruel to someone else.

Yes, yes, this is definitely a case of fighting fire with fire, but is that so wrong?  This is not a problem with a simple solution. I bet it would cause some hot debate in an ethics class.  Is bullying a bully or rather “outing” a bully considered bullying?  Why should they be allowed to hide behind their atrocious personality or anonymous online postings?  Shouldn’t they be forced to come out in the open so people can make a judgment call on THEM and THEIR behavior?

I say yes.  What do you say?

Carnival Ride: 1 — Me: 0

My daughter and I went to the local fair recently. A 4-H fair. They’re always fun…we like the animals, the food, the vendors, the rides. Most of the rides anyway. The scrambler and the tilt-a-whirl are our favorites. Unfortunately this fair didn’t have those.  So on this particular day, we tried a ride called the paratrooper. It didn’t look so bad from the bottom. It went round a bit fast but then we like that. It was clearly an ancient model but nonetheless it had to be sturdy, right?

Kent County Fair

it just sits there…gloating

However, as we sat there at the very top waiting for the lower cars to be loaded, the loose gate on our seat, the lurching of the cab, and the overall feeling of being tethered to nothing while sitting several stories in the air all combined to create an “okay, this is no longer fun” kind of a feeling.

Have I ever mentioned I’m afraid of heights?  Well, not heights so much as falling.

Long story short, I think that the only thing more embarrassing than desperately demanding to be let off of a carnival ride because of an impending panic attack would be to actually pass out and/or simply drop dead from fright on said carnival ride.  Guess the ride operator should be glad that I didn’t completely screw up his day with the latter.  I imagine the paperwork required would have been awful. From the scowl on his face though I don’t think he appreciated my consideration.

And how was your weekend?

Welcome Home

Whenever I get home my lovely, adorable beast of a dog always greets me the same way: as if I have been away for ten long, hard, lonely years. He’s a wiggling, jumping, chaotic mess. Ironically he’s so damned excited about me petting him that he moves too much for me to get a hand on him for the first 30 seconds or so. It’s always this way.

Sometimes I’m gone all day so I sort of understand that, but other times it’s like he has short-term memory loss. I can literally leave the house, walk to the car to grab something out of the back seat, come back to the house, and he’s throwing a party for my return like I’d been gone since 1999.  Did I mention he watches from the front door?  So it’s not as though I’m even out of his sight on these brief forays out into the wild.

So, obviously, the only thing I can think of when this happens is “how freakin’ cute!” but recently a behaviorist acquaintance of mine recommended that I get my dog’s behavior under control!

Apparently, a dog should not be greeted by the owner while it’s in this chaotic, uber-happy, excited state. I should wait until he’s calm and collected before acknowledging his presence. This is literally the advice I received: ignore my dog until he gets his shit together.

Cesar Millan also promotes this same strategy which for many people would settle things. “The Dog Whisperer said to ignore your dog? Case closed.” But I’m still skeptical. No offense to Mr. Whisperer but I’ve watched his show many times and I’ve read his “theories” and he does a great many things that I don’t agree with and quite frankly cannot even fathom as making any sort of sense whatsoever.

For me, I can only think about how hurtful it would be for a beloved animal, a tender pet, and a part of the family to be SOOO happy to greet the love of his life only to be ignored, rejected, and sent away to another room (and yes, animals have feelings).

Imagine if you were treated this way. You run up to your mom or sibling or best friend, are super excited to see them so you’ve got a big smile on your face and have your arms up in the air anticipating a big hug as you skip over and, boom, rejected. They send you away until you know how to behave in public. I can’t deal with your love right now!  Come back when you like me a little less and have yourself under control would you please!!?? Once they deem you capable of having a civilized conversation you’re allowed out of the corner and may be recognized ever so nonchalantly. How terrible would this make you feel?

And quite honestly, I’m usually just as excited to see Rufus as he is to see me.  Maybe not so much on my two-minute dash to the car and back, but I love the little guy and love that he’s so open about his unconditional devotion to me. Since when did it become a good idea to reject love?  Or excitement at our arrival?  I don’t know about you, but I just can’t afford to reject that kind of love.  I need love in my life.  Even if it’s from our furry four-legged friends.  Especially from my furry four-legged friend because some days he’s the only one in the house who is happy to see me when I get home.

Rufus