Failure By Agreement
Walking our dog, Blossom, means you stop and stop as she drags herself over the entire planet, one sniff at a time. The first sniff leads to the next and the next. Chain sniffing. She slides her nose along the ground, building the fecal puzzle of a thousand lives.
My wife says sniffing is how a dog builds up its self-esteem, so how can I deny Blossom her sniffs? I cannot. I would never interrupt a system so simple, efficient, and wonderful. If sniffing my neighbors’ droppings made me feel good about myself, guess what I’d be doing right now.
Also, we recently learned sniffing has a laxative effect on dogs. Smells go in, waste comes out.
And yes, I’d still do it. If all I had to do for self-esteem was sniff the neighbors’ droppings and surrender some of my own, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I would do just about anything to esteem myself.
The million stops of the Blossom train give me plenty of time to think.
What do I think about? The same thing you do:
Specifically, I think about the times I’ve been called worthless in one way or another.
A person hears some plan of mine and labels me a dud for thinking of this plan. Or they receive a drawing, a story, a poem, and instead of saying, “Not interested,” which is their right, they take it a step further: “This has no value,” which is the kindest way they can think of for saying, “You have no value.”
That’s how I take it, anyway. My particular form of life is invalid.
“No value?” I say. “What should I do?”
“Have you tried dying?”
“A little bit every day, baby.” I whisper this loud enough for them to hear, but all they hear is the “baby,” which I cannot defend or explain.
I went out walking with Blossom the other day, and while she sniffed and sniffed, I sifted through foul thoughts.
Suddenly, she caught a whiff of something powerful and peed immediately. As I watched her waste flow over her feet, which seemed to please her — in her defense, it was cold out — I thought, Wouldn’t it…