First, longish story, then the lesson.

A black and red hose was coiled in our front lawn. Jamie, my wife, frustrated that our new dog had been rolling in the mud, called him over and starting hosing  him down. Yelps and squeamish jarring movements prevented her from being able to wash him. She was pissed; long day at work, food in the oven, emails to send, a husband to give a massage to (yea right, I wish)…

“Just a rinse!” she cried.

No patience. “Cash” (our mostly border collie mutt) had already wasted 10 seconds of Jamie’s day.

He never had a problem with the hose before, why now?

She grabbed him by the collar, yanked him over, and blasted the water onto his back, not far from where her hand held him.

She instantly understood.

As the water shot out the nozzle and touched as much of her hand as it did Cash’s fur, she could feel that the water was SCALDING HOT.

The hose had been laying in the hot sun all day, and this was the first time we had washed him off without first having watered the plants/garden–previously, giving the water time to cool before we ever used it to hose the mud off of Cash.

Cash had no voice. 

To Jamie, his behavior appeared to be obnoxious, boisterous, and aggravatingly out of line.

**Disclaimer: I always hesitate to tell stories about animals and then liken the story to humans, but we should all understand what a metaphor is without getting offended. Besides, it further serves to understand how severely inhumane it can be for a PERSON to feel voiceless amongst their neighbors and peers. 

“A riot is the language of the unheard” – MLK

Jamie’s response has a familiar ring to it (even though Jamie herself is the farthest thing from a socially structured oppression or misrepresentation of culture).

I’ve heard it before, we all have. It’s the story of displaced communities, and left-behind people. Left-behind villages. Left-behind countries. It happens in America. It happens elsewhere, worse.

I do not identify with either of the 2 primary political parties. Disclaimer.

The extreme left has gone too far. Whiney. Annoying. Illogical. Worried about things out of their control without realizing that the best thing you can do to change the world is change you first.

The far right hasn’t enough empathy, or foresight. Failing to realize that without some sort of the socialistic future, none of us can be wealthy or happy (in the truest sense of those words). Arrogance, and turning a blind eye to displaced individuals never solved the issues at hand, just swept them under the big red rug.

But sometimes, the extremists, the FAR leftists and FAR rightists, DO serve a purpose.

Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, they bring our attention to an issue (albeit, abrasively at times) that we wouldn’t usually have noticed.

Cash acted ‘extreme’ in response to the hot water. We never would’ve known the agony that we were causing him if he just stood there (or knelt—ding ding ding) and took it.

There are entire groups of displaced people out there that are completely voiceless. Not everyone is, I know, and some folks use the victim title to hide their other self-inflicted short-comings and struggles. Oh well. Nonetheless, we can’t wait until the hot water hits our own hand to realize that maybe a language, or cultural, barrier is the reason for someone’s “lashing-out”.

In whatever form that takes the shape of, when you see it, it’s time to find common ground, common language. At least then, MAYBE, we can get to the crux of what all the commotion is truly about.

Thanks for the lesson Ca$h.

In case you haven’t seen enough cute dog pics lately…


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Serving you is my sincerest pleasure. Please, don’t hesitate to reach out with criticisms (be harsh), praise (not necessary), questions (answers), or just to say hello and chat (my favorite).

Love & Areté,
Jakob Gollon

Jakob's Blog

Anecdotes on Areté, Perspective, Leadership, Education, Communication, Poetry, Book Readings, and other random thought provoking ideas.

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