Old Dog - New Trick

Those who have followed this blog over the past years perhaps remember me mentioning my Boston Terrier, Lucy, from time to time.

She and I are inseparable companions who share similar views on music, art, politics, and life in general.

On music and art we are both partial to the impressionists (Debussy, Ravel, Monet, Renoir). On politics we are partial to the Whig Party (Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, Fillmore). And in terms of life in general we've reached the shared understanding that any food from my dish that hits the floor belongs to her.

"In the evenings, Lucy can usually be found smoking and sipping from my cordial snifter."

Back when I started this blog Lucy was a rascally eight-year old terrier with boundless energy for five minutes at a time, followed by two to three hours of naptime to compensate for the energy spent during those five minutes. Now she is approaching her 12th birthday with grays sprouting around her muzzle and with those grays an acquired sense of maturity. For instance, the five minutes of energy has now been downgraded to two minutes. Her naps have lengthened to entire mornings and entire afternoons. While in the evenings, when I arrive home from work, she can usually be found in an easy chair next to the fireplace, wearing my robe, reading my newspaper, smoking my pipe, and sipping from my cordial snifter.

Over these 12 years her actions have become predictable in many ways. For instance, scratching at the back door means she wants to go out. Scratching again on the outside of the back door means she wants in. Whimpering before my chair in the evening means it's time for her nighttime treats. While snorting in a disgusted manner at her food dish means she's not happy with tonight's dinner selection of dog food and would much rather have half of my meatball sub.

So I was surprised when I discovered, just recently, that Lucy has come up with a new trick. A number of times she has been found sitting in the center of the kitchen floor with her back turned to her dog dish. Sometimes the dish was full of food; sometimes it was empty. Hmmm? I thought. I wonder what this is all about.

Next I realized that she wasn't so much sitting with her back toward her bowl, but rather she appeared to be staring at the window above the kitchen sink. I figured that perhaps she saw something outside ... perhaps a squirrel or a bird in a tree, or a meteorite or a UFO hurtling through the sky. Hmmm?

Then it hit me. She wasn't staring out the window. She was staring at the sink below it. Hmmm? I glanced over at her water bowl on the floor behind her. It was empty. She was out of water. She was thirsty. Yet, instead of staring at an empty water bowl, she was going right to the source, to the very place from whence the water came! How, after nearly twelve years, did her little terrier brain finally figure this out?!

So, I took this as a sign, as I tend to take all things in life. I took this as a message from Lucy concerning the plight of our economy, and the source of our economic woes. She was telling us that we should not be dealing with the symptoms of our problems, as in an empty water dish. We should instead be dealing with the source of our problems, as in the sink. A bandage over a symptom does not cure the patient. We have to get to the root of the problem.

Thus bailing out failed policies with billions of dollars does nothing but waste taxpayers' hard earned money. For instance, automakers failed because they were meant to fail, because their policies were failed policies. The income statement does not lie. It is the measuring stick by which successful policies and failed policies are judged. And by that measurement, the automobile manufacturers failed.

Let's take a Darwinian view. Consider the Dodo bird, a creature which had limited brain power, causing it to walk headlong off the cliff of extinction like so many lemmings. The Dodo bird is now extinct because it represented a failed policy. But what if taxpayers had spent billions of dollars to save the Dodo bird, to bail it out, to protect it against extinction despite the laws of natural selection that suggested otherwise. What would that have gotten us in the end?

A bunch of dumb birds, I suppose.

As for Lucy, she's no dumb bird. She put all her money into the gold market.

Jack Sheedy

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