So, I had this dog once. She was supposed to have been a full-blooded German Shepard, but I had a hard time believing it. As the dog grew older, she seemed to only grow more hyper, and increasingly more stupid. This dog was worthless. She was basically un-trainable, and the hyper-activity made her almost unbearable to be around. Her name was Marge, and she was a piece of work. Marge would jump at you, nip at your hand if you tried to pet her, and wet the ground when she got excited. She had no redeeming qualities, and essentially just appeared to be a “mistake” that God had created. I dreaded being around Marge. I think everybody did. I would feed her, and give her water, but that was the extent of it. If there was a stick at my feet, then I would throw it for her to fetch, but I did not ever set aside any real time to spend with her. She was a dumb dog, and I accepted that for what it was. I made a mistake in buying her, and I just had to live with it. She had a house outside with my Akita, who aren’t real keen on making friends in the first place. Marge was constantly nervous, and seldom any real fun. I don’t know what was wrong with Marge, except I do know that the problems were extensive.
I think we all know a Marge. I think we can all conjure a pretty vivid image of Marge in our heads, because we have all been Marge. We have all had that period of our life (or maybe our entire life) where we just felt worthless and dumb. We didn’t know how to “fit” in the world around us, and we didn’t know whether to bite, jump, or piss on the floor. Our life is a whirlwind and we have no idea how to slow it down. We jump when we are supposed to sit, cower when we are supposed to play, and run away instead of fetch. We just can’t do a damn thing right, and everyone hates to see us coming. If we could be a different dog, we would. If we could be a different breed, have a shinier coat, come from a healthier litter, we would have the universe go back and give us a “do-over”.
Later in Marge’s life, I took her to obedience school. I took her to a dog handler named “Crazy Joe”. Marge would be left with a handful of other dogs, and a guy named Joe for about a 6 week period. I was welcome to come visit Marge’s dumbass on weekends and see what, if any, progress that this stupid hillbilly was able to make on this worthless dog. I didn’t have anything better to do, and the long drive to the trainer’s farm afforded me the opportunity to enjoy a few vodka drinks on my way out to see Marge snap at the trainer and piss all over herself. It was going to be a joke.
Two weeks had passed since I dropped Marge at Joe’s. As I approached Joe, waiting for him to give his condolences, I see the excitement in his eyes. “Son, you got one fine girl right here, in Marge. She is gonna make you proud.” I literally laughed in his face, cause I thought he was joking. Joe offered me a beer at 9am, which I gladly accepted. I dropped my tailgate and sat and waited. Out of her stall with a lead and a collar came a dog which I had not seen before. She was sleek, and confident, and calm, and proud. Her ears were standing stiff and her tail fell flat. Joe informed me that when a Shepard’s tail is dropped, then they are ready to work. They are in their environment, and that is when they do what they do best. Joe gave a command, and Marge stopped in her tracks. She sat at attention like a well trained soldier. Joe walked away and Marge never broke. He blew on his whistle, and off Marge went running. Order upon order, Joe made and Marge followed. It was a different dog than I had ever seen.
The 6 weeks, it ended but the transformation was incredible. I couldn’t wait to get her home and do all of the exercises that I had been instructed to do. Instead I was lazy, and spent all of my time drinking. I never helped Marge be the dog that she was. I later relinquished my ownership to the dog to my neighbors, who nurtured, and cared for, and let Marge develop. She became a house dog, a companion, even a lapdog, and a friend. My point is that Marge, she was never the problem. She had a toxic environment, with toxic people around her (me). Marge was surrounded by people who brought her down and had no faith in her abilities. It was her owner, her surroundings, and the perceptions which surrounded her. There was greatness inside her, there was beauty within. She needed the circumstances, the environment, and the opportunity to reveal itself, she needed not ever change herself from within. Marge knew that her essence was never the problem, it was the environment around her that made her feel dumb. Marge just needed that ONE day, that ONE opportunity to show her worth. Just like that, everything I felt about Marge had changed. Everything. Everything I didn’t understand or wished was different, was exactly what it was supposed to be. It was all right there, right there in front of me. The actor was ready, but the stage had yet to be set. Marge just kept being Marge and giving her best. Tail flat, ears up, Marge continued to be Marge until the circumstances were optimal for her to show who she really was. Marge couldn’t predict when the time was going to come for her to shine, none of us can. That’s not our job. Our job is to keep moving forward, despite all the noise around us. Fortunately, she was not kept in the same toxic environment forever and was able to try different things, so that her talents could be both discovered and showcased.
Marge did not have a choice as to her environment, but we do. What doesn’t work here, might work there if you keep trying long enough. As they say, it might not be the light bulb…it might just be the switch.Well, we have all heard the saying, “every dog has it’s day”, and I think the same goes for humans. Only I don’t think the saying is meant to be interpreted as I have always thought. I always thought that this saying was pointing to the fact that sooner or later, from a statistical standpoint, each of us were bound to experience at least one really good, or “lucky” day. Today, I see things different. I have lived and observed long enough and paid close enough attention to understand that “every dog has THAT day”. We all are just awaiting THAT day when people, places, things, and perceptions all make a drastic change, and we are no longer the Marge that we have viewed ourselves to be. We suddenly understand that we have been just fine all along, and we are comfortable with who we are. We come to our own understanding that maybe it ain’t the dog or the stick….but it just might be the handler. I believe that the universe will take care of setting the stage for that moment when we can showcase our talents, but I also believe that it is our responsibility to push our way as close to that stage as possible, so that we might get our place in line. I’m curious as to how supportive the people are in your environment. Do they make you feel the way I made Marge feel? Or do they applaud your essence the way that Crazy Joe supported Marge? It only took one moment, one brief glimpse into Marge’s being and everything I felt about her changed. Show your greatness, if only briefly, and every Marge moment that you have ever had can be a distant memory in a matter of moments.
Peace, love, and all things Beef related,