In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. And the worst thing you can do is nothing… Unfortunately, there are no original ideas, only original people…

Years back, while out riding a horse on a cattle ranch about the size of Rhode Island, my trusty steed plunged into some sort of gopher hole and snapped its leg.

The sudden fall threw me hard into a temporary haze that no cowboy hat could shield. What soon aroused me was my painted steed screaming in horrendous pain… and fear… before she settled back to her fate.

She couldn’t rise. And there I was, just 16, having to rise to a tortuous decision – once again. Such as the time when I was all of about five-years-old I came upon a pack of stray dogs ripping a cat asunder in a far field on my father’s big ol’ farm.

When the raging pack finally scattered at my bellows the feral feline was dismally gasping through its disemboweled parts. I soon fought thru my tears and ended its wretched misery.

Now here I was yet again. Still too young and dumb to make such grown up decisions. It was a far, far ride back over lonely fields and deserted roads for help at the ranch house. And even farther to walk. To leave a lame horse totally tethered by injury in that wide-open range would be a bonfire inviting scavengers to feast.

I didn’t know what to do. In my haunted, retrospective nightmares I do realize there is no wrong time to make the right decision. And, as in any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. And the worst thing you can do is nothing.

I didn’t have a gun. Yet once again I managed; I ended another animal’s wretched misery. My eyes weren’t filled with tears this time. They came later. And with memories, they kept coming.

Hmm…Tragedy, for me, is not a conflict between right and wrong, but between two different kinds of right. It seems at times that everybody and everything is right; and, at the same time, everybody, and everything, is undoubtedly wrong.

Then again, maybe it is true that the pendulum of the mind really alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.

Hmm…Who knows?

Yet, isn’t it always right to come to the aid of a fellow man or beast? Doesn’t that make sense?

But of course.

But then what do you do? You’re committed to first do no harm. And the problem seems to be that most of us simply don’t know what to do. Unfortunately, we are mostly undisciplined, uneducated and, customarily, unprepared.

We are, therefore, mostly harmful.

And getting worse.

We are reduced to doing little more than calling for help — if we can be bothered. But help comes slowly and at a steep and steepening price — whether it be the police, an ambulance, or especially a politician.

Indeed, pizza arrives faster.

And our leaders don’t seem to know quite what to do about … well, just about everything. Hell, they don’t seem to know anything except how to raise taxes and pad their payrolls. Look at the buffoonery in Washington.

Obviously there is a paucity of imagination and ideas. There is a brain drain. In case you didn’t realize it: The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Imagination is what brought us up. But they—our leaders — truly brought us down. I mean they actually closed the government of the United States of America for 16 days because the fools couldn’t see what the rest of us clearly see: That it is supposed to be one-for-all-and-all-for-one.

Obviously you can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.

Meanwhile, nothing succeeds without a leader.  But, once more, most of us aren’t prepared to lead. Or, don’t know how to lead. And those who think they actually do know don’t seem capable of leading us out of the desert any more. They govern thru surveys, as well as polling those of us who are very, very busy watching football, playing poker and texting.

Hmm…

This cacophony of disparate thoughts banging away in the padded cell between my ears was stirred the other day while perusing a story about cats and dogs riding a better Cadillac-hearse to heaven than we humans are getting — even on Obamacare.

The cradle to grave ‘human treatment’ we are providing our pets has now apparently run the gamut from puppy farms, to pet clothes to pet spas to pet therapists…And now to pet hospice care. It is much like the hospice for humans, treating the terminally ill and elderly in their end of life stages, before heading off to their pet cemeteries.

Hmm… And people think ‘I’ am crazy.

But of course!

However, while I may not quite condone this self-indulgent lunacy, I do understand it. It’s in our DNA. Dogs and cats — throughout thousands of years of empires such as Egyptian, Roman, Greek and Chinese — have been elevated to mythical adulation. And sometimes – I’ve been told – it gets very, very intimate.

And now it is our turn — Americans. Oh, we may lament those poor and starving folks ‘over-there,’ but over-here we pet, pamper and scoop $55 billion dollars a year of epicurean delights to our wagging Rovers and purring Samanthas.

Certainly, none of this absolutely signals the end of another empire – perhaps. It just certifies that we all hail from that same dysfunctional family of Adam and Eve. And that there is nothing new – except the history we don’t know.

Does it make sense? Or am I making nonsense?

Honestly, I don’t know. But I can tell you that I’ve been in parts of the world where everything indubitably happens by chance, opportunity and necessity. Where they eat cats in stews and roast dogs like chickens; where horse meat is a delicacy; and cows aren’t touched. Snakes are petted. And rivers eat everything. I’ve seen horny men do things with sheep on Saturday nites and then butcher them on Monday morning. (Hmm… All alimony issues are obviously resolved.)

And then I’ve seen our civilized societies shield the children from the cruel facts of raising veal, Kobe beef and cranking corn down a ducks gullet to make patè. All – and much, much more — are things more cruel than Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick’s supposedly heartless and inhumane dog fights.

In other words: What we know about the slaughter of our animals is that we don’t want to know.

Hmm…

Even worse, I’ve seen the making of sausage and the brutal passage of legislation in our State Houses. And it certainly ain’t kosher.

To me, everything makes sense. And all is nonsense. Maybe it‘s because I was reared on a farm. I wasn’t shielded from the process we call the food chain. And also the fact that everybody’s gotta pull his weight – even the pets.

On a farm, big or small, everybody’s got much too much to do than weep too long for Lassie. She was a good ol’ dog. But tomorrow the sun’s gonna rise and chores have got to get done. She’ll find a proper place to die. And we’ll find a proper spot to bury her.

Death always lingers by the doorposts. But life persists.

It seems we spend too much time on wanting to give our pets, and sometimes our humans, a proper death, when for the most part it doesn’t seem to ravage us that we didn’t make the same effort to provide most of them a proper life. I guess I am particularly talking about our fellow ‘humans’ here and not so much those pets we treat better than humans.

I know…I know…I sound like a tough S.O.B. Even tougher than my dear old bourbon sippin’ Pappy.

Yet, like him, I seem to harbor a softer spot for animals than humans. Can’t help it. Like Pappy, I don’t like people all that much. And if I ever find a woman that greets me at the front door like my dog, then I may try co-habitation again.

Nonetheless, all this over-care for our pets is meshugga. But history is prologue. Once again, the only thing new is the history we don’t know. There are no original ideas. There are only original people.

But of course!

Hmm..

I don’t know where I am going with all this, just as I don’t know where the country is going these days after pet hospice. Nor what Babbitt will mislead us there.

For instance, where are we going to find the money to repair our crumbling bridges and road infrastructure as well as our failing schools? Taxpayers, including a lot of pet lovers, are refusing to dish out more dollars while they sadly spend hundreds – and often thousands—of more dollars on hospice care for Old Yeller.

Does this make sense?

Is it nonsense?

Hell if I know.

Maybe there is simply no place to go with it all.

Human history in essence is the history of recycled ideas. Like fashion, the hems go higher and higher until they go lower and lower. Throughout time we keep repeating ourselves, yet we remain afraid. Of what, I don’t understand.  It’s just an old idea that we’ve repackaged. Four wheels still make a car. Weapons still make a war. Sex still makes a person.

We’ve done it before. And we’re doomed – or destined – to do it again. Change is the only constant we have, even if it is merely a change in the present for something that already has been done in the past. Like they say: As much as things change, they remain the same.

Hmm…

After the boyhood dilemmas with animals I thought about becoming a veterinarian. But I apparently lacked the aptitude – as well as the stomach. Occasionally I would observe the local vet at work, sticking his entire prophylactic- gloved hand, arm and shoulder up a cow’s ass.

Watching him clean out the endless bowels of sewage before investigating the problem wasn’t exactly the bonfire at which I was looking to feast.

And isn’t that the trouble with reality – it strips away those rosy-colored glasses through which we romantically imagine life to be. Reality should leave a lot to the imagination. For me, however, it also leaves dead horses…

And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…

 

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