Seeing, Eye, Dog

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

(Note: This is one in a series of sad pet stories.)

Two plus two equals four.  If everything in life made sense like that, we’d live in a perfect world. 

Our dog is blind.  He wasn’t born blind.  The blindness didn’t come on slowly from some health issue.  No, he was blinded at the hand of another, or should I say the ‘paw’ of another.  That event is still very clear in my mind.  I wish I could change the chain of events that took place on that fateful night; but as many occurrences in life, we can only reevaluate and try to understand. 

I might not ever have learned about the word “enucleation” if it hadn’t been for the accident.  I’ll save you the time of looking it up on Google; it’s the removal of an eye indicated by an illness or other trauma.  I, the eternal optimist, thought that our poor little Coco would still be able to see out of the remaining eye.  Unfortunately, the canine ophthalmologist, (yes, they have those) suspected that the optic nerve of the remaining eye might have been stretched during the initial injury, severing the connection to the visual cortex of the brain.

The good news is that he’s adapted very well to daily life.  To the casual observer, you might not even notice anything wrong with him.  He knows where he is and knows where he’s going.  He loves to go out on walks, and is the first one outside when he detects that we're taking a little trip in the car.  He’s playful and affectionate.  He’s also very protective of his surroundings.  It’s hard to believe that there could be such thing as a blind watch dog, but he growls and barks just like the best of them. 

I can’t help but feel sorry for him though.  I’m reminded every day that he once had the God given sense of sight, but now he doesn’t.  Sometimes when he sleeps, he has bad dreams and whimpers.  I always wonder if he is remembering what happened on that fateful day.  Is he reliving it over and over again, or is it just me that relives it on his behalf? 

We bought him something called “Doggles” once.  They are these little dog goggles that protect his remaining right eye.  They made him look kind of hip and cool, but he didn’t really like to wear them, so we gave up trying. He navigates just fine, using his heightened senses of sound, smell and touch. 

In life you’ve got to take the good with the bad.  You don’t have to like the bad, but to be a productive member of society, you’ve got to adapt to it and integrate it in into your daily life.  You have to use it to make yourself a stronger person, even though you sometimes just want to just crawl under a rock.  It means that sometimes you have to use the mathematical workaround of making two plus three equal four, by first subtracting one. 


The Hike: Prologue

Monday, October 5, 2015

Even trees, (who don't have a brain) know when to stop
 -author unknown

In life, we sometimes find that there is a fine line between ordinary, everyday actions and plain stupidity.  We all have routines, needs and desires.  How we act upon them determine who we are and how accurate we are in our decision making skills.  

I am still pondering the facts of a recent activity that I found myself drawn to:  The Hike.  This was not an ordinary hike; I push myself harder than that, and specifically looked for something a little more demanding.  On a weekend trip to Palm Springs I chose a ‘moderate’ hike, one which would challenge me, and give me a sense of accomplishment.  I had in my mind episodes of Duel Survivor and Naked and Afraid (although I hadn’t yet determined if I would be taking off my clothes).

Taking this hike seriously, I loaded my backpack very deliberately with an assortment of items:  four bottles of water, a pair of gloves, a camera, a small notebook and pen, a hand towel, my wallet and cell phone.  I had thought about bringing along a lighter, but didn’t want to be even remotely responsible for any kind of accidental fire. Driving on the way to the base of the mountain, I stopped by a thrift store and bought a cap and scarf to make sure that my head and neck would be fully protected from the sun.  I scored on this purchase because those two items only cost me $1.25.

I know that I’ve already mentioned it, but want to make sure that the record is clear: I was in Palm Springs, and the air temperature was about 106 degrees.  Yes, I chose to begin my hike at 11:25AM.  I had also opted to take this hike alone because, why wouldn’t I?  It was just a little hike.  In retrospect these last decisions, although well intentioned, may not have followed the recommended protocol by licensed trail guides.  A more observant hiker might also have noticed that my car was the only car in the parking lot.  

With the concept of hindsight, being what it is, I imagine that there could only have been two possible outcomes to this hike:  1. A crazy guy that decided to take a hike in extreme weather conditions was found dead next to a large rock and some ants… or 2. A crazy guy that decided to take a hike in extreme weather conditions, living by his wits alone, barely survived to tell the tale.

*Spoiler Alert: I didn’t die during the hike.  Stay tuned for The Hike – 1st Attempt.

 (One of the selfies taken while I was still conscious.  You'll notice the lack of visible trails in the background.  I seemed to have veered slightly off course.)


Slow Burn to Lame Duck-ness

Thursday, September 3, 2015

You don’t hear too much about lame chickens or turkeys, and I’m pretty sure that there are only scattered footnotes (if any) regarding other types of fowl.  No, ducks seem to have cornered the market on lame-ness.  But what is a lame duck anyway?  Is it a duck that can’t walk?  Is it a duck that can’t fly?  Or is it an employee of a company that has just been told that his presence will no longer be needed and the smart money might be to start to looking for a new job.  Just for today, the last definition seems to ring truer to me than the ones involving the actual ducks. 

Have I just been let go?  I think so. Well, sort of.  It’s so hard to tell, because I’m still working.  I am on a countdown timer though, so that’s where the lame duck-ness truly comes in to play.  What’s even more interesting is that almost no one at the company even knows about it, except of course for the fortunate few who were involved in making the decision.  So, I go along, talking to and emailing my co-workers every day. I also email and speak to my customers every day.  It's almost an out of body experience.  Except for the part where I have to look for a new job daily - a search that right now feels more like I’m blindfolded and trying to pin the tail on a donkey. 

Oh, if I could just be a real lame duck right now.  That doesn’t sound so bad.  I could limp around when on land, and float effortlessly when on water.  I would be able to eat, enjoy my surroundings, swim around and do the daily duck things that ducks do.  I’d be a responsible duck.  I wouldn’t bully the other lame ducks or hoard the breadcrumbs that humans would inevitably throw my way.  Of course, I wouldn’t have health insurance because… well, you know, the duck part; but I’ve got a high tolerance for pain, so I’m sure I’d be OK. 

They (the company that I still work for) told me that I could take another position in the company if I would be willing to uproot my wife, daughters, dogs and hermit crab from here and move 2,678 miles away to the home office - but I think they may have just been trying to be polite.  Even if I were willing to do that, I’m sure that I’d be outnumbered when it came time for a family vote.  My two dogs alone could win that election. 

They (the company that I still work for) didn’t even tell me of their decision to let me go.  They told a person that is very close to me, and that person thought I should know and told me a few days later.  It wasn’t for about another three weeks before the company’s president saw me in person, at the end of the last day of a sales meeting, when he casually slid it into the conversation. 

“You probably know what this is about,” he started.

“Finally!” I thought to myself.  “I was beginning to think that I was dreaming this whole thing up, or perhaps they had changed their minds.” 

He was very pleasant about it.  I suppose I can be thankful for that, except it would have been nice for someone in management to speak with me directly from the start.  They have offered a release package – allowing me to transition at my leisure to whatever donkey tail my blindfolded self happens to successfully pin. 

So, for the time being, it will be me limping around nibbling on breadcrumbs.  I guess I’d rather be a free range lame duck than a fully processed turducken.  There’s no future in that.


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