by Geoffrey Jones, Days Gone By
I suspect most families have stories about notable pets who were part of the family experience over the years. My parents once had a german shepherd with the name “Teddy.” I still remember him for his good nature and the protective quality children sense in a pet and watchdog.
One day Teddy managed to get hurt someway. Not seriously but something on the order of getting his tale pinched in a door. He whined and complained and then lay with his head down.
My parents commiserated with Teddy saying “poor Teddy, poor Teddy“ a few times and at that Teddy gave a woeful look and began to whine all over again. My parents repeated the sympathy a couple more times and each time Teddy would whine. This was, in spite of Teddy’s temporary plight, somewhat amusing.
A week or so passed and life went on as usual when one morning as my parents enjoyed their breakfast coffee my father remembered the incident and looking over at Teddy with a smile said “Poor Teddy, Poor Teddy,” and no sooner than he finished Teddy put his head down and whined just as he had before.
My parents were struck by the human like response on Teddy’s part and kept the knowledge of it. I still remember it even now and at intervals will sometimes say “poor Teddy” nostalgically to myself.
Just lately I began thinking of that memory in a new way. After reading the morning tech beamed news I am reminded of it often, though not in the benign way in which I remember Teddy’s story.
To give a somewhat generic description of the comparison and psychology of this, suppose one should publish a story about the potato famines in the 17 and 1800s and how the farmers suffered both from hunger as well as oppression. Or perhaps any of the myriad groups of people who have been victims over the thousands of years of our recorded history. Today, in our free country the main problem we are faced with is remembering we have that freedom and keeping our political leaders on their toes to remember it too (and this IS a problem). Nonetheless in spite of that fact the news will usually slant stories toward some of the descendants of the varying sufferers throughout history and remind them how hurt their ancestors were in the distant past. While interestingly enough, these same “poor Teddy” news voices besmirch the brave efforts of the heroes and patriots of the past who risked everything to right those wrongs, and left constitutional laws in place to keep them righted. We should write that part of history out they feel, or paint those fighters for freedom as liars and cheats.
It would be something like someone telling Teddy, “Poor Teddy though your tail is not pinched right now it hurt a lot when it was! And though you need to learn to recognize the dangers of crossing the busy highway which has sprung up outside, we’ll still keep the past foremost in your mind.”
Thus by focusing his attention on past woes he might well neglect noticing current dangers, and get killed by a speeding truck carrying GMO produce. Or perhaps a cargo van loaded with vaccines heading to a sequestered testing compound at “warp speed.”
We are a lot like Teddy and the people who play on our weakness don’t really have our well being at heart. They want to misdirect us away from what is going on now to harm us by pointing to the pains of the past and distant past.( Knowing we will grieve about those and forget the present.)
Well, unlike Teddy, we can reflect a bit and come back for a second look, at our trainers and the world around us they are creating . Hmmmmmm I had a feeling things weren’t quite right. Time to put our often misdirected energy to work where it will really count is my thought. Appreciate comments firstname.lastname@example.org