CSotD: Mortality and Humor

Arlo & Janis (AMS) went through a week of decluttering as preparation for selling their house and moving to the coast near Gene and his family, or, as Arlo says, possibly doing so. And as I observed earlier in the story arc, I’m awfully glad I haven’t lived in the same place for 30 or 40 years, because I’ve seen how things pile up.

Janis puts a sentimental spin on it, and she’s right: There’s a lot of emotional investment involved in all that stuff you don’t need, but it’s particularly sad to find out how much of that emotion is not so major after all.

Having moved a half-dozen times since college, I’ve had to shed ephemeral knick-knacks for decades, and I sometimes think of something that disappeared in a move. But at this stage, it’s more of a shrug than a sigh.

I don’t know if that’s a male/female thing, but I’m wired more like Arlo than like Janis. It’s only stuff, and, if you’re not careful, it can become an anchor when what you need is a sail.

Which isn’t to say you should dispose of the past. I’ve had this strip at the top of my file of favorites for a quarter of a century, well before either Arlo or I qualified as old.

But you can toss out the cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces and the airline ticket to romantic places. The memories that matter will linger.

I’m not as readily dismissive of people, even ones I haven’t seen or heard from in years, and Rabbits Against Magic (AMS) brings up something mentioned here the other day, which is that I’ve reached an age where I look at the age of people in obituaries, and, particularly, in which I find that a lot of people who aren’t much older than me — both old friends and celebrities — are checking out.

However, I get a little impatient with people my age who express surprise when some star we admired as teenagers has died. Do the math.

None of the Stones or Beatles qualify as “boomers” and when one of them dies, we can be sad but it’s silly to be surprised. Sic transit and all that.

Could be that Harry Bliss is having thoughts along the same line, because this Bliss (Tribune) brings to mind my thought process in selecting my current pup. I’m not shaky, and I’m pretty well through with the cane after my hip replacement, but it did occur to me that I’d do well to select a dog that would exercise itself as I began to slow down over the coming 12 or more years of its life.

Harry and I are lucky to live where there are only a limited number of places that dogs aren’t allowed to romp off leash rather than somewhere where there’s only a limited number of places where they are.

I’m not 100% convinced that cities are any place to own a dog, and if you’re going to have to keep your dog permanently on a leash, you should choose a breed that doesn’t mind.

And, yes, you can also adopt with that in mind. Dogs of C Kennel (Creators) stars a group of dogs in permanent hope of adoption, and the Mastroianni brothers make frequent jokes based on the tendencies of each.

Kenny, the husky, mostly gets dinged for shedding, but today takes a role as group meteorologist, which is harder to predict. I had a dog, also an adoptee, who would warn us of approaching thunder storms, bless his heart, by vomiting on the kitchen floor.

But, while weather prediction is an individual trait, husky owners know that their dogs can’t be off leash in open areas because they are runners. And beagles bark. And Labs wallow in mud like hippos, every chance they get.

A good reason for looking a mixed-breed pup over carefully to figure out its heritage before you commit.

It’s not rocket science, but it is biology.

Speaking of being off-leash, this Macanudo (KFS) brought me back to my younger days, when a trip into the woods often involved random exploration. I was lucky, as a kid, to live in a corner of the woods where two roads and a river carved out a triangle of several square miles, which gave me plenty of room to wander while, as long as I stayed inside those boundaries, there was little chance of my becoming seriously lost.

It did lead to several instances of “I’m not lost. I’m right here. The trail is lost.” But finding new places was part of the attraction, if not exactly part of a plan.

It’s that time of year again, dammit

Autumn appears to be slightly on hold. We’re seeing some cooler nights, but the leaves show no sign of changing yet. What we are getting, as Maeve notes in Between Friends (KFS) is the smells of autumn, and I was just noting the bright yellows and purples of autumn wildflowers, a visual privilege that isn’t on hold this year.

And, yeah, it’s pumpkin spice time. I don’t mind seeing the Halloween candy out early, and I’m sure the Christmas products will soon follow, which is also okay as long as they don’t start playing carols in the stores until never.

But Maeve has it pegged.

The pumpkin spice thing is purely commercial and an obnoxious reminder of how readily we can be manipulated.

It may be that Maeve and I share a distaste for flavored coffee. I like coffee-flavored coffee, and pumpkin spice is only one of many, many things I don’t want dragged through my java.

But I like pumpkin pie, and the use of pumpkin spices to make other baked goods is fine with me. Truth be told, I’ve been known to get a jar of pumpkin pie spice which I then use to make French toast and rice pudding and such the rest of the year.

However, I mean real spice, not artificial syrup, and buying a jar is just a shortcut to avoid having to buy multiple jars of its constituent parts.

Though — going back to Arlo, memory triggers and parts of my life I wouldn’t mind living over again — I do love a little cinnamon.

5 thoughts on “CSotD: Mortality and Humor

  1. I feared the “Bliss” dog was about to chase the butterfly off the cliff.

    Maybe adopt an older dog – who is stuck in the adoption center because his owner died or went into “assisted living.”

    1. Aside from the joy of watching a dog run and play, there is the expense of an older dog, which not every retired person can afford. OTOH, it’s easier to tell the character of a four year old dog than of a puppy, and it’s still got plenty of healthy mileage left. (I only saw a steep hill, not a cliff.)

  2. My theory on being lost has been that no matter which direction you go in, eventually you will hit water.

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