So do you want the funny stuff or do you want the serious stuff? Hopefully you’ll say both because life has a way of working both extremes into the fabric of our experiences. The General and I spent yesterday evening at my daughter’s home. She and my son-in-law prepared a meal fit for a king. We were their only guests. Since the General and I don’t fall into the category of royalty, I guess you could say we lucked out. The evening and the meal proved to be over the top.
As a grand finale, before the evening ended, we were provided the opportunity to watch a couple of episodes of “Downward Dog”. In case you’ve missed it, “Downward Dog” is an animated television series about a “Heinz 57” variety dog named Martin and his owner named Nan.
For starters, who in their right mind would name a dog Martin? “Scout” “Lassie” or maybe even “Damn” might be suitable names for a dog, but Martin? Are you kidding me? Nan, the dog’s owner, is a thirty-something year-old millennial who loves her pet, but also values her free time. When Martin suspects Nan is preoccupied with other things, he can truly be a “dirty dog” (no pun intended). It is not beyond him to be precocious and vindictive.
Andrea didn’t mention it, but “Downward Dog”, the eight-week pilot series regarding Martin and his pursuits along with that of his millennial owner ended last week. If my level of interest has any indication of the long-term outcome of the series, I’d say “ Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). I’d much prefer to watch an episode of HGTV instead of watching a philosophical talking dog.
The first episode we watched last night was a competition of sorts. Martin found that he didn’t measure up to the dog of a would-be-suitor of Nan, his owner. Martin is in reality an everyday common variety dog. The other dog was well trained and purposefully competitive with a touch of obedience and desire to win in any competition. Putting the two dogs together was like mixing apples and oranges.
Did I mention that both Kevin and Andrea are dog lovers? They have two dogs of their own and in a perfect world they’d opt for the General to have one as well. Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do. I’ve drawn a line in the sand and said: “No more pets”. I’ve got the potential to be a cranky old man if need be and I don’t plan to waiver on my resolve to simplify our lives by being pet free (with the exception of our 6-granddogs).
What I discovered last night is that Martin and I have some similarities. For one thing, I am an everyday garden variety Heinz 57 kind of guy without any special attributes or skills. When it comes to out-door cooking, I think I know my way around the grill, but that is probably a myth.
Last night my son-in-law smoked a couple of racks of baby-back ribs on the grill. Little did I know the effort involved until my daughter mentioned that Kevin invested five hours in the process. Do you have any idea what I could do to a cut of meat in five hours? Long story short, it would resemble a burnt offering and it would not be palatable.
Okay, so the truth is, “I’m a ten-to-twelve minute hot fire, fast cooked steak” kind of guy. Doesn’t that fall into the category of fast food? My son-in-law on the other hand, knows his way around the grill and invests the time to ensure perfection. Five hours of doing anything is not within my capability. For one thing, I’d have to have a nap before I could complete the project.
Of course, I may be cutting myself short. I know three folks who worked for the same supervisor for a period of time. Each of the three thought one of their two colleagues had to be the supervisor’s favorite employee. Sometimes it was their lot in life to have team meetings. At other times, it was individual conferences. It was not until after the supervisor moved on to greener pastures that the three workers were transparent enough to compare notes and recognize the each had the same kind of experience with their supervisor.
Team building and focusing on strengths was never a part of any agenda the supervisor shared with his team members. That was true both individually and collectively. It was always fault finding regardless of the success of their outcome. From the supervisor’s perspective it was as simple as “one”, “two”, “three”. He dogmatically always accentuated his point by striking the index finger of one hand against three of his long skinny fingers on the other hand in succession. “One”, “two”, “three” were the number of weakness he always attempted to find. Never, was there an affirmation that any project was well executed.
In addition, every conference (both individual and group) always took place in a dimly lite conference room without windows. None of the three employees under his supervision ever emerged from that darkened room singing: “It’s a wonderful day.” It was almost as though the environment of the room set the tone for the meeting. It was always a dark experience. If there is a bright side and there are two: the supervisor moved on and the three employees became good friends.
Recently, the younger of the three employees, emailed his two colleagues. He had walked past the darkened conference room that held a host of memories. As he did so, he could almost perceptibly hear the “Sound of Silence” rolling around in his head. Do you remember the words?
“Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence…”
All My Best!