Like most Fall days in Vancouver, the weather was grey and soggy and positively depressing – the kind of afternoon where being alone with one’s own thoughts can lead to all kinds of dissonance. Fortunately, I have a Boxer. Having a Boxer means never losing your sanity, because when it comes to keeping it together, nothing beats sparring with my dexterous pup.
It’s not what you think
As I said, it was a wet and miserable day, and I was feeling a little à côté de mes pompes, (as the French would say). Another crisis of the self-esteem variety, and once again, Diesel picked up on it immediately.
“Karin,” he said, “grab my leash, we’re going for a walk!”
So off we went down the street, looking like any normal puppy/master couple out for their morning walk, except Diesel and I both know who the master is , and I am anything but normal.
“I read about ‘logical fallacies’ today,” I spilled.
“Ya, I know,” he admitted, “I saw that too”.
“Do you think I’ve committed very many logical fallacies?” I asked.
“A couple,” he said, “but who cares?”
“I care!” I whinged. Of course I care! I hate being the dumb-dumb in the crowd, he knows that. That’s why he sits and shakes a paw and does the stuff I need him to do to impress my friends. We’re not a dog and pony show for my own entertainment, you know.
“I don’t want people to think I’m dumb, I hate that,” I said, as he rooted around the base of a dog-pee soaked telephone pole before shooting me a look.
“Why is this important to you, Karin? Why do you care if someone thinks you’re dumb? You have dumb friends, and you love them, except for Siaochi of course, but she’s dumb and mean, and you can’t be dumb AND mean.”
“I dunno,” I shrugged.
“Let’s compare,” he said, sitting back on his haunches. “Right now, let’s compare. You love Carla. She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed but we love her. Yet we both loathe Siaochi. Why is that, do you think?”
Good question, I thought. Carla’s not all that educated, but she’s such a good person. Who cares if she didn’t graduate…
“Carla told me that wearing make-up causes Alzheimer’s because our faces are too close to our brains,” I reminded him, “but she’s always there for me, with fresh baked goodies and a cold bottle of Pinot Grigio, that girl is always there… ‘irregardlessly’…”
“Admittedly, it’s funny she says that,” Diesel snorted.
“See!” he declared, “Carla means well, and that’s endearing. What about Siaochi?”
“Oh, Siaochi’s a self serving bitch. She’s on some kind of popularity quest and no matter how sweet she is to me in person, sooner or later I find out that she’s making up stories and stabbing me in the back. Again and again. I always find out….”
“Woof! Exactly! Sit, Karin, sit!”
I sat down and he sat down in front of me, placing his paw gently on my lap.
“What I’m about to say to you,” he offered solemnly, “might not be exactly what you want to hear, but it’s what you need to hear. Do you know the difference between wants and needs, Karin?”
“Good. Karin, you may not have a Boxer’s intelligence, and you may not have a Pomeranian’s good looks, but you are blessed. You’re blessed with two lovely children, you’re blessed with your health, you’re blessed with a wonderful husband – I know… but for the purposes of this conversation Karin? Karin! Did you just withdraw?
…you have a roof over your head and you have a decent amount of disposable income. You support what, 10 charities? You make sandwiches for people on the downtown east side – even if they wouldn’t eat them, it’s still nice that you do that.
You let the homeless guy with the snot running down his coat hug you that day, uggh! You cry when you see those World Wildlife Fund commercials on TV – mind you, anyone who doesn’t shed a tear over those ads would have to have an ice cube for a heart but I digress… Remember the time that guy came to the door selling chocolate bars and you ended up giving him 50 bucks for a 2 dollar bar even though we both knew it was a scam. We both knew he just needed the money.”
He swallowed hard before continuing:
“Yes, you accidentally read about logical fallacies, and we both know you’ve committed your fair share. But, what you must understand – what we canines understand – is that people may be smarter than you but it doesn’t take away from your own worth. You may be riddled with insecurities, sweets, and that’s annoying as hell, but you are not any less of a person because your logic is, from time to time, fallacious.”
And then off that dog ran, granting me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
DIESEL: March 26, 2009 – November 26, 2016
(we will never forget you, buddy)