Skipping Across the Rainbow Bridge

“Jack” was the name chosen by someone long before us.

jack-&-I

However, when we rescued him from the shelter, we figured, “Why not? We might as well keep the name.” His moniker morphed strangely to “Jackpot,” slid into “Pot-Pot,” and eventually just — embarrassingly enough — “Pot.” I usually called him “Big Puppy.”

Being older, Jack had “issues.”

Boy howdy, did he have issues! We didn’t seek out a dog that needed 24-hour attention, but we got one. Within a week of his “gotcha” day, we discovered he had hypersensitive skin, causing him to chew and scratch at his sides so much, he would bleed. To prevent self-mutilation, we stumbled upon the idea of adorning him in toddler-sized T-shirts. Since Mini-human clothing is not designed for Mini Schnauzers, we had to put the shirts on backwards – with the design facing up instead of down. Securing them so he didn’t trip, while still providing freedom to “do his business,” he was the most “stylin’” dog in town. Eventually, he acquired a complete wardrobe of emblazoned with super hero motifs, holiday fashions, and our favorite, inscribed, “Mommy’s Little Monster” in stark white letters. Beyond soothing his skin, we’re sure he liked them because after every walk (when we had to remove his shirt to attach his leash), he’d wait for us to re-dress him.

A never-ending source of noises was our Big Puppy.

He didn’t bark much (unless he saw another dog) but he grunted, groaned, licked, chewed, yawned, and exhaled loudly without end. He also broke wind – constantly, always a source of confusion to him, causing him to spin mid-step, seeking the source of the rear-end disruption.

What most people remember was that he “skipped.”

Because his hind legs were too close together and he had scoliosis (did I say he had “issues?”) his rear feet bumped each other when he walked, causing him to hop, giving the appearance he was skipping down the street. It didn’t slow him down, but did provide the funniest impression of a Fred-Astaire-Singing-in-the-Rain upbeat gait as he strolled down the avenue. Ironically, it was spot-on; he actually was happiest in those moments.

Sunday was our last walk.

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Fear of Success vs Fear of Failure

There are few reasons why we do not achieve our dreams.

fear-of-success-&-failure

Yes, there are “acts of God.”

Philosophically, one might even accept fate or destiny as insurmountable barriers. Yet, aside from those, the immense majority of people living lives of quiet desperation reside there because of what’s going on in their minds more than on our planet. With credit to Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We — not others — are more times than not, our worst adversaries.

I mean this not in a condescending, judgmental manner, as one might hear from no-nonsense hyper-achievers, “Just pull yourself up from the bootstraps, suck it in, and get it done. Don’t be such a wimp!” One cannot change years of brain wave patterns in the same manner in which he switches on or off a light. Negative thoughts today — click — positive henceforth. My objective today is also not designed to illustrate how messed up we are; I don’t think that’s true, we’re all doing the best we know how to do.

With appropriate disclaimers admitted, if we accept that we are standing in our own way, it begs the question, “Why would we do that?” Why do we NOT reach further, dream larger, and believe better?

The primary answer is: Fear; Fear of Success, and its dastardly sibling, Fear of Failure.

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Lessons from a Child

child handing flower to adult

She was dressed in pink sweatpants with the word, “sweet” emblazoned on her diaper-clad bottom.

On her feet were brown clogs. Atop her head was a wool, knitted, patchwork cap of pink, yellow, and red, giving her a pastel “Rastafarian” look. However, instead of dreadlocks wrapped within, a waterfall of blonde, bouncy, curls framed her wide-open blue eyes and light complexion.

In her chubby, small, right hand, she carried what used to be a cookie; now, however, all that remained was a half eaten, saliva-covered, dollop of doughy goo with a smattering of pink frosting encrusting the edges. “Cookie” in hand, she bounded as if on springs from one corner of the bakery to the other, her grandfather always in eye shot, as she pointed to each of the items on the bottom shelf of the bakery’s glass case, looking to him for the correct word.

“Cookie,” he said, as she pointed to a green, sprinkle covered cut-out of a dinosaur.

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This is Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

My car is getting on in years.

broken-down-carIts skin has faded splotches of color; it has a strange assortment of creaks and grunts; and it doesn’t have the get up and go it had. (Ironically, it’s an allegory for me.) I’d like to purchase a shiny new one, but despite all the improvement in auto technology, they have still not come up with a way to remove car payments. Should they do so, I’d be so johnny-on-the-spot at the dealership, you’d think I drove a Bentley Continental GT Speed with 616 horsepower to get there.

Putting aside such fantasies, and since I drive to many of my engagements, and am leery of using my auto, I rent. I don’t need anything fancy; if it has cruise control, I’m good to go.

Upon arriving to pick up my car for this trip, the attendant informed me that I received a free upgrade.

“Would you like the luxury car or the sporty car?”

With 12 hours of driving ahead of me over the next two days, a luxury car would be nice. However, the increased cost in gasoline — as well as my inner teen — veered me to a tricked-out, metallic-charcoal-grey 2014 Mustang. Said inner teen was revving higher than the tachometer as I pulled off the lot.

As mentioned, my only real requirement is cruise control.

It saves wear and tear on my lower body, and by setting it for the speed limit, saves wear and tear on my wallet. This way, I don’t have to worry about speeding tickets, which I have not had in about 25 years. (You know where this story is going, don’t you?)

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Placing the Control Within

Some time ago, I postulated that the locus of control for our lives is internal.

That might sound high fallutin’ and all, but it’s pretty simple; my take was that as long as we put control over what happens to us “out there” rather than squarely within, nothing will ever change. We will remain where we are in our development.

I state that without judgment, just pointing out a fact.

Delicious lasagne

For example, it may be true that Aunt Margaret is pushing the deep-dish lasagna she made “just for you” like a pasta addict enabler. Equally true is she gets offended when you turn it down, and saying “no” to her home cooking causes a family rift. It might also be accurate that your husband is unsupportive when he sits next to you munching obliviously away on your favorite flavor of potato chips, while you’re stuck in a funk with celery sticks and carrots. Yes, you’ve told him a thousand times that you’d like him to not do that, and yes, you’re right, he doesn’t seem to care.

However… (don’t you just hate that word sometimes?) the decision about whether or not to succumb to temptation or pressure – as difficult as it might be – still lies within; nowhere else. In effect, it lives within. As long as we say things like, “She made me…” or “I had no choice…” or “It was too hard…” we are committing to stay put.

I’ve seen Aunt Margaret when she’s ticked off and I don’t blame anyone for avoiding a Hatfield-McCoy blow out. But, whether we’re trying to lose weight, increase our income, or just plain be happier; as long as we allow others to determine our actions, they’re controlling us. It’s understandable that sometimes the “social price” we have to pay to follow our path doesn’t justify the return. Again, I’m not placing value; been there, done that; I’m just analyzing.

So what prompted this rehash of a previous topic?

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