Thursday, March 24, 2011

Judgment Day

Judgment Day this year is May 22, which is a Sunday, if you don't have a calendar handy. I know this to be true not because I'm a prophet or because of visions or dreams I had foretelling of said event. No voice(s) spoke to me in the dark and the only cult I'm guilty of associating with has more to do with cats than the end of the world. No, this knowledge was imparted to me from a billboard on the way to the veterinarian's office. Normally, I wouldn't remember this particular public service announcement any more than I remember the those announcing the next gun show, except that this one offers something others lack: a guarantee. That's right, Judgment Day is "guaranteed" to happen on May 22. Guarantees of this sort are hard to ignore, so naturally I've begun to evaluate whether or not on May 22 I will ascend to loftier heights or be sent further south than I already am.

Like all people, my life has not been sin-free. The degree of my sinfulness has fluctuated over time, with my younger years being oriented more toward vice than virtue and my more recent years being not so much more virtuous as less inclined to vice. I think that come May 22 the transgressions of my youth will be overlooked and the focus will be on who I am now. Using the Seven Deadly Sins as a benchmark, I feel I'm well positioned to be judged favorably, despite some noticeable flaws:

I love large portions of food and drink. While I publicly renounce America's gluttonous lifestyle, I am guilty of not being able to hold myself to just one cookie or brownie or doughnut. I believe that the more french fries there are before me, the better off I am, and if you want to get my attention, just say, "buffet."

People piss me off and most are no damn good. My anger at their (and my own) incompetence bodes ill for me on Judgment Day. Generally speaking, if I don't allow myself to dwell on the bad that other people do or to use power tools that I've never used before, I'm usually pretty mild mannered.

I'm not so much lazy as I am undisciplined. I'm not a good project manager because I often just stop projects and let them be; I lose interest easily and my wandering mind then focuses on something else only to lose interest again. Knowing this about myself, I simply don't start projects. For instance, I want to have chickens but that requires building a coop which requires using power tools which will make me wrathful, and so I don't try to build a coop and subsequently I don't have any chickens. I'm hoping that my intentions more than my inaction will have some impact on the Judge(s).

So, I have some work to do boosting my life's resume before May 22. How you will fare come Judgment Day this May, I don't know. I know some of you will exult in eternal bliss, while're goners. One thing I've learned from watching "Judge Judy" that might help is that you should always go to court well-dressed, so on May 22, please wear your finest. But don't overdue it; Pride is the worst sin of them all, and if on Judgment Day you're looking and feeling too fine, too sure of yourself, then, you're going down. Guaranteed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Given to Fly?

I like to fly. Or, rather, to be flown somewhere, since I have neither wings of a feather or a pilot's license of my own. I like how I can board a plane in the morning and be on the ground, eating lunch hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from where I was only hours before. I love staring out of the window at the world below me, and I'm always awestruck when on cloudy days the sea of clouds stretches endlessly like I imagine ice does in Antarctica. Flying for me never loses its wonder...unless I'm in the middle seat, and then the whole experience pretty much sucks. Nonetheless, flying is quite possibly humankind's greatest achievement. And, yet, I don't think we are supposed to be up there with the clouds and the birds. I understand that we can and are able to fly; it's just that I'm not convinced that simply because we can and do, that we ought and should.

Life in the clouds was once reserved for the heavenly hosts, whether they were on Mt. Olympus or just beyond St. Peter's gate, but when man in his airplanes broke through the water vapor separating us from the divine and, to the delight of atheists worldwide, debunked the vision of harps and angels and so forth, that spiritual connection was lost. We've pushed the heavens out into planetary orbit, so that all we have now is the sky. I like the sky very much, but I miss the days when there was more mystery to it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

If You Can't Control Your Dog...

Recently a man in Colorado Springs shot and killed a dog that attacked his dog while out for a walk: What annoys me the most about this story is the attitude of the owner of the offending, now deceased, dog: "...she thinks the greyhound's owner did not give her a chance to regain control of Flato before using his gun." The simple fact is that Flato would be alive today had his owner not been so irresponsible and lost control of him. If I had been the owner of the greyhound, I would have done the same thing. Of course, I'd need a gun, but that's a story for another day.

It's something I encounter regularly when I'm out walking our dog, this holier-than-thou mindset on the part some dog owners that makes them think keeping their dog under control at all times doesn't pertain to them. Or maybe it's just careless stupidity. Controlling your dog means more than keeping him on a leash; it also means being able to prevent him from, say, bolting after another dog (or squirrel, cat or kid). If your dog is big enough to make you lose your balance or prevents you from having complete control of the situation, then you have no right bringing him out in public. I see it all the time at the park: tiny women "walking" their Pit Bull or Boxer or Rottweiler or Lab and almost falling over trying to stop it from breaking away. Big dogs are like bottom-shelf tequila; if you can't handle it, don't order it.

"Oh, but he just wants to play." Well, dude, we don't want to play with him, so get him the f**k away from my dog.

With some big dogs there's not enough time to "regain control" before the damage is done. A dog as big as a mastiff can seriously hurt if not kill another animal by the time the owner "regain[s] control" of it, which is why owners of big dogs need to have complete control of their dog at all times when out in public. Have you ever noticed that owners of big dogs that attack animals and children universally place the blame on the victim? They will claim their dog has never hurt anyone or anything before, and that the dead dog or maimed child must have done something to provoke the attack. If you can't control your dog, you don't deserve to have him.

But it's not just big dogs that need to be kept under control. Those yappity, snarling bundles of fearless fur are no less dangerous when not controlled. I don't care if your dog is the size of a football and can't hurt anything but itself; just keep him away from my dog. Sometimes I take a spray bottle with me when I walk Boo to keep him in-line (it's called RESPONSIBLE dog walking), and one time this little Jack Russell muttly thing came running up behind us and sniffing at Boo. I shot the f***er square in the face with a stream of water and sent him hightailing it back to his no-good hippie owner who, then, leashed him. In a fight, Boo would've taken him, but that's not the point: keep your dog under control and away from my dog, or else.

Or else what? Well, I don't have a handgun, and despite the effectiveness of a spray bottle, I doubt it would do much good against a dog hell-bent on doing harm. But know this: if your dog hurts my dog (or cats), I will go medieval on its ass. I may be a card carrying member of the ASPCA, HSUSA, and Best Friends Animal Society, but I will not let your irresponsibility go unchecked if it threatens my dog. I love dogs, I truly do, but I love mine more than I love yours, and if I have to kick, beat, bite, gouge, scratch, strangle or run over your dog to protect mine, trust me, I will. So, keep your dog leashed and under control, and there won't be a problem. Someone should have told as much to Flato's owner.