Of Grandson and Granddog

“How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world.”
–Shakespeare, Hamlet

Agendas, dishonesty, betrayal, manipulation, and control are all too common in our brave new modern world. It’s not surprising that one may finally end up with just a few close friends–people who are themselves and who accept, understand, and appreciate you for who and what you are. The sort of unique positive experience far from the madding world of being treated as simply a means to an end–a checkmark in a boss’s year plan, the people who want desperately to find a great love, a ‘shack-up’, or a spouse, those who want lots of babies, or who want to live the ideal tv fantasy rich-and- famous lifestyle, very surfacely ‘having it all.’

There are those, however, who provide much relief and perspective from the usual uses of the human world–something I’ve found much of the past two years with both grandson and granddog. Dogs certainly are more honest than a lot of human beings from the get-go. They are what they are, needing little, often no more than being let outside, walked, fed, played with, and occasionally cleaned up after. Most make excellent companions, are funny, have their own unique personalities and presences. They will happily greet you no matter what mood you’re in, regardless of how lousy you look and feel. Their honesty and basic good natures are a shining contrast to the many users and game-players you have met in your life.

Refreshing, too, are very young children from babyhood to pre-school years. True, they eventually may ‘exploit’ parents and grandparents and even become nags re. potential toys and gifts, but to begin with, they (like dogs) are pretty much simply who and what they, basically and essentially, are. Simple beings mostly interested in the possibilities of play, who (like dogs) appreciate others’ attentions and time spent with them. Dogs and young kids are essentially innocent, ‘pure’, guileless and game-less and they are refreshing beings to be with. No social masks and totally unconcerned with ego. They accept what they are given and happily ‘take’ whatever attention and play are bestowed.

Many daze with all the negative nonstop non-caring changes, the mass-mindless buying into technology and e-media, the neverending war and violence, the fundamentally ‘entitled’ ego-centered politics, the continuing abuses against women and children, the insane extremes of political correctness, the relentless selling and advertising, etc.– those larger uses of the world, as well as the more immediate social ones within one’s life, demand respite and moratorium–in order to offer one a more pleasant alternative way of being and experiencing.

My advice to anyone who has reached a cynical state about the innumerable uses of the world would be: Get a dog or go hang out with a two-year-old. But be prepared to empathize and enjoy, especially on their levels. Re-learn life on the floor or grass in a simple, old world of mere play and fun. It is there you might even re-conjure your own, likely long-forgotten Inner Child.

“Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make. I see
the heavens laugh with you in your jubilee,
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
the fullness of your bliss, I feel–I feel it all.”
–William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations on Immortality”

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