A new day, a new bed. Same thief.
I wrote this back when I had a mail carrier that came to my house. I no longer have that luxury. But the concept below still applies.
We all know that cats chase mice. Raccoons steal garbage. Monkeys eat bananas. Birds poop on heads. There are plenty of comical and stereotypical clichés that exist to crystallize the genetic nature of many animals. Take the classic: Dogs hate cats. How many old Looney Tunes cartoons featured this premise? As a kid I thought this was undoubtedly true. The first time I saw a platonic dog-cat interaction I was flabbergasted. Surely, this is an anomaly and scientists should be called in to investigate. Then I saw it again. And again. Now I know that rivalry isn’t as concrete as I used to believe. Their hatred for each other — originally conveyed as some sort of Hatfields vs. McCoys rivalry — is just a bad rap.
There is another battle of a similar nature that I think may also be more psychological than biological. The age-old Dog vs. Mailman.
My dog Rufus is the protector of the house regardless of how truly un-intimidating he is. He’s only 10 pounds and thinks he’s much more imposing of a presence than reality dictates. Please don’t tell him. We just let him go with it. While he might not be a brutish hulk of canine fury he compensates for it with his wits. For instance, he knows I don’t like blackbirds in the yard so he’s quick to chase them off — yet he leaves the other birds in peace since I like them and feed them. Smart, right?
So consider the mailman from Rufus’ eyes. Every single day this strange person comes right up to the door of my house. Thinking in dog terms, the door is a place that turns into a hole that lets people come in where they usually scratch behind his ears and give out snacks. Indeed, people Rufus likes come through at that very spot.
But then there’s this person with the big bag…he/she is never allowed entrance. Every day they try and every day they fail. There must be a reason. Simple dog logic points to the fact that they must not be invited. And if they’re not invited, then they’re not supposed to be around. And after quickly going through those steps in his mind, it just makes sense to Rufus that this person is villainous. Thus, they are an enemy. And enemies get barked at. They get driven away. It’s Rufus’ job to do this.
I wonder if this is how all dogs view mailmen; a mysterious figure always getting right up to the door but never once being allowed access. If so, our wonderful guardians of the gate are getting a bad reputation when we should be praising them for clearly understanding the dynamics of people who are “welcome” and those who are “not.” To be clear I’m sure my mailman is a wonderful person and we would have a great conversation over tea, but Rufus doesn’t know what Earl Grey is. He just knows what to do when it seems like something or someone is not invited and for that I say good boy.
There will never be another me. I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but there you go. I’m too damned old and too damned fed up with others who think they should have some level of control over me to placate unworthy people anymore. I’m me. And I’m happy with that.
Although she has known me, literally, all her life, apparently I still surprise and amuse my daughter with my speech patterns. Oh, not the cursing, that she just takes in stride. But some of the figures of speech I come out with are simply too much for her to deal with, I guess. Some of this is caused by the fact that I’m old and she’s well…not old, and so many things I say are dated and unknown to her. A few of the phrases I spit out, the non-curse word ones that is, no doubt come from being raised by Appalachian born and bred parents. So I can see why my language choices might be slightly confusing to my daughter who has had a completely different childhood.
It does make for interesting conversation at times. Especially during our road trips, when I shout something particularly wrathful, I feel, at the driver in front of me, yet the effect on the smart-ass sitting in the passenger seat is one of great amusement. Or we’ll be having a perfectly civil conversation and without thinking, I reveal yet another unheard-of gem and the disbelieving eye-rolling begins. Because, you see, it’s not that she thinks I’ve lost my mind, but rather, that I’m an idiot who doesn’t have a keen grasp of my native language. And really, who can blame her? If I didn’t know better, I’d think some of these phrases are made up as well.
Then of course, out comes the long-winded explanation to prove that no, I haven’t suddenly gone daft, only to be told “that makes absolutely no sense” with that lovely tone of disdain only a teenager can properly produce, to which I respond – with utmost maturity mind you – yeah, well, you don’t know everything and then proceed to stick out my tongue.
Oh yes, good times.
While writing this, I could not for the life of me recall all of the phrases I’ve used that have tickled my daughter to no end. However, I did start a list with the few I could remember and will update it on occasion as more spring to mind or mouth.
Piss or get off the pot.
You don’t have the sense God gave a stump.
It’s like trying to herd cats.
I’ve got no dog in this fight.
Lie like a dog – also worded as – lie like a rug.
That dog won’t hunt.
Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.
Dressing up mutton and calling it lamb.
Stop acting ugly.
If I had my druthers.
Rode hard and put up wet.
Hair of the dog.
I’m an admitted foodie and I love…well…food. Nothing beats a good Irish pub, but I enjoy branching out and trying new things, to a point. Not that I like Burger King on a good day, for a variety of reasons, but their recent mishmash of food items has just reached a whole new level of ridiculousness. First it was mac and Cheetos. An insult to mac and cheese if you ask me. Though others I know have raved about it. Now this. Cheetos chicken fries. Uh…no thanks. I’ll pass. Is this what we’ve come to, folks? This is what we’re offered as “food.” Really? I mean, I know it’s fast food and all and they’re likely trying to get that eccentric crowd who enjoys the strange mash-ups often served at carnivals, but seriously, this is just going too far.
So as you may remember, I live in a small town. There are two roads you can navigate to get through our town, both are one-way – one going into town and one going out of town. What does it say about my neighbors that I look both ways before crossing either of those one-way roads? What does it say about me? And I know I’m not the only one! You guys do it too! But what exactly does that imply about our collective trust in our fellow humans that we feel the need to look both ways before crossing a one-way street? That those sharing the world and the road are inherently untrustworthy? That they’re incapable of following simple directions? Or have we become so jaded that we can’t even take the most basic things for granted?
The thing is, you know damn well the one time you don’t look both ways, some lone car, having missed the signs and the general traffic flow, will come meandering down the wrong-way and flatten you…well…flatter than a pancake. And now. Now, I want pancakes. Damn. Oh, back to the issue at hand…so yeah, it’s a sad world we live in people. Sad, sad world.