April 15, 2018

You care too much. Embrace apathy without mercy or guilt.

When pondering the world's problems do you ever gaze out the window with a soulful expression and think to yourself,
"The modern human drive to improve life for everyone is pointless...because nobody flippin' cares... If only they cared...then...oh, the wonderful possibilities.
Or something like that.

Do you frequently assert that if people just cared more we could genuinely improve our schools, our government, our neighborhoods, ourselves, and basically the entire world around us?

If so, let me suggest maybe the problem isn't a lack of caring, but the opposite. What if one of the fundamental "problems" with society is that people care too much about too many things. Wait. What?

How much time do you spend 'caring' about and talking about things you can't control---such as other people's opinions (regarding you, politics, religion, Will Ferrell, Netflix, our schools, etc.)? How much time do you spend caring about your future health, finances, happiness, fame/fortune, and your children's future? How about your opinions on things like why dogs are better than cats,  why more people should watch the movie, Gentlemen Broncos with an open mind, or why everyone who shops at Walmart are morons except for you?

Let me generalize for a sec and take a guess. I'm guessing for most you folks out there all that time spent caring takes at least 50% of your awake time. And for some of you poor bastards, your asleep time too.

So I ask, does all this caring make your life better? Are you more content? Happier? Purposeful? Does it make the world a better place? Does it make those less fortunate then you more fortunate? After all, you spend a lot of time asserting your solutions to whomever will listen on how we can make things better. You talk to yourself constantly thinking all the ways you care about improving yourself and the world around you. And yet, the world hasn't really changed much. People are still people. Jerks are still the ones in power. More and more people are depressed. Cancer still kills people, and you yourself are probably still miserable despite all your caring.

Maybe the problem is we are all just caring too much. We spend too much time on things we can't control, things that maybe don't even matter, like our opinions on the best way to fix things, and the minutia of life. And when all things are said and done and our corpse is cold and plastic-looking, the things you finally realize that don't make one iota of difference.

May I suggest an alternative? 

Stop giving a crap. 

Stop caring about so many things. Relax. Enjoy. Embrace the amazing feeling of apathy. Live your life within each moment and let the chips fall where they may.

And please don't worry, when a need arises in the moment needing your caring, most of you will act without thinking and save that stranger choking in the restaurant, donate money to that cause, and put down the breakfast burrito and eat a freakin' plant.

April 6, 2018

Why do people talk about their diet and exercise program?

Photo by Jase Ess on Unsplash
Why do people on a new diet and/or exercise program insist on telling me every little detail about what, when, and how much they eat and exercise...and then keep on telling me over and over and over? 

What are these folks hoping to gain from sharing this with me? Do they want my approval and praise? Do they want me to be jealous? Do they think I need to diet and exercise too? Hey man, muffin tops are adorable...deal with it. 

I never know what to say when people talk about their new diets. First off, it's a really boring subject. I would rather talk about Trump's upsides, or homemade clay. Secondly, it makes me feel guilty when I remember that pound of peanut m&m's I scarfed down for lunch an hour ago. Third, if someone is still out of shape, why should I take advice from that person? When she/he gets that six pack and keeps it for a few years, then maybe, maybe, I will be at least a tad more interested in hearing how many grams of protein they ate for breakfast this morning. And  fourth, I don't need to hear about the things people put into their body orifices. That is a private thing, it does not need to be shared.   

Plus, we all know that diets don't work. Almost everyone who diets ends up falling off the wagon and binging on those oh so delicious "bad" foods they restrained themselves from for so long. So after my chatty friend loses weight (at which point I compliment him/her), but  then eventually gains it back, what I am supposed to say, think, or say??

Photo by Austin Guhl on Unsplash
While these otherwise wonderful folks are sharing their secrets on cheese-less pizza with chickpea crust (barf), I'm thinking, dude, you are going to be so mad at yourself in a few months. And that makes me sad. And annoyed. And confused.

Brenan-Green on Unsplash

So a friendly request to all the people in the world, if you're going on some restrictive diet/exercise plan, please keep it to yourself. If you need to share your journey, start a blog.

Is the Internet good or bad?

That's the question of the 21st century (and if not, it should be people).

Imagine you are a bagillion or whatever years in the future, looking back at the birth and growth of the Internet.

Do you suppose that society will conclude that the Internet was a wonderful technological breakthrough that changed everything for the better?

Or will it be like in the Terminator movie, where we all look back with painful regret wishing we'd never invented the Internet because of all the horrible things it eventually led to?

Or will the outcome be neither and both of the aforementioned possibilities?

Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash
Now that I've peaked your interest, the purpose of this post is to get you all thinking about this subject. To address all the the different sides to this question, I will be rolling out a new series of blogs with the surtitle: Is the Internet good or bad?  

In the meantime, your job, my prolific readership, is to start pondering and maybe even researching this topic so you will come well prepared to read and judge each of my assertions. After all, you shouldn't take my word for it.

Please keep in mind, humans are ridiculously inept at predicting the future. (If you don't believe me, fine, for now just go with it. (Stay tuned for a future post on why we stink at predicting the future.))  
So most of my effort with this series will just be for fun. However, if a majority of us land an a fairly logical premise regarding the pros or cons, I promise to fight tooth and nail to either protect or destroy the Internet (pinky swear).

Thank you for allowing me this space to create, posture, and discuss  (score 1 for the Internet).

April 5, 2018

Never meet your heroes: The day I chose NOT to meet Henry Winkler

Never meet your heroes---unless you enjoy disappointment.

Growing up I was obsessed with the TV show Happy Days. Each Thursday at 6:55 PM I would unapologetically drop whatever I was doing and dash home to “rock around the clock” with the gang.

At that time in Utah the coolest thing in the neighborhood was my black cat named Panther. So imagine how unique, awe-inspiring and mesmerizing Fonzie was. He was a revelation. The way I felt when watching him was like the first time I ever experienced the unexpected joy of heated car seats.

He was the first to introduce me and the neighbor kids to the word and concept  of "cool." Forty some-odd years later, I'm still using the word "cool" probably 20 times a day on average. Fonzee's hair defied gravity. His leather jacket and intolerance for authority pricked my subconscious admiration for the "bad boy." We all wanted to be Fonzie. Well, most of my female friends didn't want to be Fonzie, they wanted to date Fonzie, but not me. I wanted to be Fonzie. I wanted everyone in the room to notice when I walked in. I wanted to magically fix a broken juke box with just the right punch. I wanted to be the hero in everyone else's story.

I would often fantasize about meeting Henry Winkler. In my imagination I would shake his hand, maybe we would hug. His charisma and coolness would ooze from his pours and enter into mine, making me cool through osmosis or whatever. It would be the pinnacle and changing point of my average life.

All those decades of fantasies came to a halt when I realized that Henry Winkler is just an average schmo like the rest of us.

About 7 years ago,  when Lightening McQueen was all the rage, we took our kids to the Auto Trade Show to meet their vehicular hero.

As we walked around the venue, toward the back in an obscure corner I noticed a sign that read:  Meet Henry Winkler with an arrow pointing west. I was giddy with excitement! It was a dream come true! We walked for awhile then stumbled on another sign that read: Meet Henry Winkler: $20!

I looked up and on a platform above me sat THE Henry Winkler. He was slumped at a table waiting for people to pay him twenty bucks to write his name on a piece of paper.  He exuded whatever the opposite of charisma is. He was old, fat and saggy. His skin was particularly sallow in the florescent lights. He looked angry and sad at the same time. He wasn't the super hero I had expected him to be. He was the opposite of what I considered approachable, let alone magnetic. I was disillusioned. My hero turned out to be just a person. He aged and schlepped for money to pay the bills just like me. I had to just walk away.

Even though I still carry a pocket of sadness knowing that there most likely isn't a group of super-cool humans who will inspire the rest of us to rise above mediocrity, I realized that my "Henry Winkler revelation" was also a little reassuring. It reasserted the fact that nobody is perfect. We are all human. To compare myself and aspire to be like someone "perfect" was like comparing myself to a made-up cartoon character who had super powers and a ridiculous proportional body that never changed.

March 6, 2018

Funny TV Shows You Need to Watch (unless you are kinda dumb)

With the recent Olympics-inspired two week hiatus of new current television programming, I delved into a lot of new and old shows to scratch my itch for weird, creative comedy. Here's my list of awesome shows you need to watch. Seriously, stop watching those soul-sucking crime dramas and set aside some time to watch genius writing and acting while laughing your guts out.

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)

  • More of a dramedy than a comedy, which I usually hate, but this show works. Set in the late 1950s about a brilliant wealthy housewife trying to be successful doing racy stand-up comedy. Great actors, creative subject, hilarious and poignant. I stayed up until 3 in the morning to finish season 1. 

Curb you Enthusiasm (Amazon Prime)

  • After reading about what a horrible person Larry David was to work for as a writer for Seinfeld, I didn't want to applaud anything with his name on it. But as an opportunist american, eager to sell out my values for laughs, I opened my mind and watched his show's reboot. It is still super funny. Still relatable. Still focuses on the silly little things that shouldn't matter, but do. I highly recommend. 

Great News (NBC)

  • I am loving this show. The first few episodes aren't bad, but not great. After a few episodes the show takes off. The characters, writing, and actors are freaking hilarious. Carol, the show's main character's mother is a scene stealer! There are so many jokes (some intellectual, some cheesy, and some physical) per minute.To really appreciate them all you have to re-watch episodes multiple times.

*Difficult People (Hulu)

  • I am so mad at myself for not embracing this show when it still aired. After Hulu first introduced it, I watched about 5 minutes, and couldn't identify with the main characters so turned it off. During the recent Olympic-new episode freeze, I started watching it and fell in love. Maybe initially I  wasn't ready for it, maybe I was constipated or hungry before, but seriously, now I know that this show is brilliant. Mind the rank humor: don't watch with the kiddos or your Mormon spouse.

*The IT Crowd (Netflix)

  • Very slap-sticky type of obvious humor that is hilarious. I watched all the episodes years ago, and recently started re-watching. Even though it has a very annoying annoying laugh track, it still makes me LOL. Totally worth checking it out. Give it about 3 episodes before abandoning if you no likey. 
*Dead Like Me (Hulu)
  • Bizarre and creative. A show about dead people who are chosen to reap the souls of other humans who are destined to die. A little bit sad, super funny and unexpected scenarios.
*The Neighbors (Hulu)

  • Yes, the premise being a colony of aliens moving into a suburbans with a single human neighbor sounds ridiculous. However, the dialogue, situations, writing and actors make this thing work. My entire family was so sad when this show was canceled. Give it a chance. Suspend your judgement for a couple of episodes. 

*Don't Trust the B in Apt 23 (Hulu)

  • Like the IT Crowd, I watched all the seasons when this show was on the air, and then recently re-watched all of it. Still funny.  is the brilliantly overly confident bad one,  is hilariously naive, and James Van Der Beek is a bizarre mix of both. This show is so funny and unexpected. Had they named it differently, it would most likely still be on the air.

**Good Girls (NBC)

  • NBC just released the pilot last week. It's a 45 minute dramedy about good, although desperate for money, mothers who move into a life of crime. Reminds me of Breaking Bad meets Thelma and Louise, meets a freaking funny 30 minute sitcom. 

**A.P. Bio (NBC)

  • Actors include Patton Oswald and Glenn Howerton. Both of whom I am a fan. I just read that two of the amazing people from the pilot are no longer in this show: Nicey Nach and Paula Pell. Without them...I just don't know. So take this recommendation with a grain of salt. The pilot was new, fresh and hilarious. Going forward, who knows. I will keep you posted. 

* Canceled shows. Still worth watching 
**New shows. I've only watched the pilots. My review is subject to change depending on the next 5 episodes.

February 26, 2018

How to be happier. Spoiler: stop focusing on the wrong things

Photo by Jonas Vincent on Unsplash

I was driving around the snowy roads of BFE, stressing about all the ways I have failed in the past, the ways I am currently failing, and the ways I will potentially fail in the future. Then I was stopped physically and mentally thanks to an unusually long red light. 

Photo by Miriam Miles on Unsplash
Me, having an Epiphany.

I spontaneously realized that I had been spending the majority of my waking hours stressing about the wrong thing. Instead of expending mental anguish over the fear of failling, a more fulfilling and productive use of my mental anguish should be spent worrying about NOT succeeding. After all, as all those commercials keep reminding us, life is really short, YOLO and all that crap.

Statistically, I don't have that many productive years left. Before I know it, I will be riddled with cancer, Alzheimer's, or terminal I-don't-give-a-crap syndrome, and be (as Axel Rose so elegantly put it) knock knock knocking on heavens door.

When I worry about failing, to "stay safe" I tend to abort any attempt to do something new, to say anything controversial or potentially stupid, and as a result end up doing nothing for fear of doing something wrong. I pull on the reigns of my potential awesomeness, and say,
"Whoa girl, slow down! You don't want to fall off a cliff like poor Leo DiCaprio did in The Revenant."  
Enter new thoughts and emotions: 
"Fear! Insecurity! Guilt! Self-Consciousness!---- Eeeeek! Abort! Abort! Abort! Save yourself!"
Those thoughts evoke painful feelings, so I quit. I pull the blanket over my head to comfort myself, and as a result, suffer my own horrible self-imposed dutch oven. I still suffer (I eat a lot of broccoli---phew) plus end up accomplishing nothing. 

Back to that ridiculously long stoplight. Pondering my life,  I realized that my real failure isn't in doing something stupid, it is doing nothing. Nothing gets me no where. Nothing provides zero benefit. On my deathbed, a memory of nothing would be the most disappointing thing I can imagine. I would prefer my headstone listed out all the crazy things I tried and failed at. People would love it! There would be a continual line of admirers waiting to read about my failures as I float on a soft cloud in heaven and watch with joy.

What if, instead of spending every waking moment trying to avert disaster and checking out and watching Netflix 24/7, I spent the majority of my time thinking and working on stuff I am passionate about---like food, tv scripts, writing, family, friends, and humor?
Photo by Eli DeFaria on Unsplash
What if instead of fearing and avoiding failure, I just started viewing failure as a necessary part of the process, and didn't give it any concern? What if I viewed each failure, or stupid comment, as an experiment and a step in achieving my goal? 

February 24, 2018

10 ways to have fun again

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Disclaimer: none of these steps are tried and/or true. These 10 points are a result of a brainstorming session in a desparate attempt to inject more fun into my life. 

Backstory, I am feeling like an old fat whale who washed up on the beach. With a little effort said whale could get herself back into the sea, but instead thinks, 

"Meh, that's seems hard and uncomfortable. I'll just lie here and hope things work out." 

Sad. Here is advice for myself from myself to get my flabby body off the soul and life-sucking beach and back into the adventurous, fun, unpredictable sea. Hopefully it helps me and other people suffering from what I am hereby labeling: "apathetic beached whale syndrome."

Dear me: 

  1. What's fun to you may have changed because you're so old now compared to when you were younger.  Maybe fun at your age means power walking in the mall, yelling at neighborhood kids running on your lawn, reading the obituaries. Open your mind to what "fun" really means to you.
  2. Stop working so much. Work will never love you. Work won't validate your awesomeness. Work isn't fun. More money equals mo' problems.
  3. Stop doing things that make you miserable. Hire a maid, move to California, stop listening to boring know-it-alls monologue about lame things.
  4. Spend less time watching made up stuff on screens.
  5. Call your parents every week. (Get outside your own selfish perspectives.)
  6. Spend money on frivolous activities without guilt or regret.
  7. Relax already. Stop taking things so seriously. Sheesh, you can't control life anyway---you may as well enjoy yourself.
  8. Go to the graveyard every week to remind yourself that life is short. You could very-well die tomorrow. Carpe Diem.
  9. Make a bucket list of fun things you want to do before you kick the bucket and then start doing them.
  10. Stop whining, complaining, bitching, and moaning. Spend mental and verbal energy on what you like, not what you hate.
Now the hard part: You know what to do, be brave, work hard and do the needful. Don't end up a corpse full of regrets.

Thanks, Me

February 11, 2018

Unsolicited Advice

Unsolicited Advice:

Why do we hate to receive it? 

Why do we love to give it?

"Hello, my name is Jill and I am an advice monster. I was that jerk you used to confide in who would immediately interrupt and tell you how to fix  your problems."

For pretty much my whole life I genuinely believed that I gave unsolicited advice out of the most selfless and altruistic intentions. I thought I was giving said advice because I cared about people and wanted to help. Because after all, I was a good person, dammit. 

But was I really?

A couple of months back, I was sharing a very personal and painful struggle I was (and am still) having with a good buddy of mine.  I let myself be vulnerable and opened up to her about how much I hate that I can't watch "The Big Bang Theory" on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. She, like I always did to others, started immediately giving me advice. She said things like: 
"You should watch it on television---you  still have that antenna in your garage right? You should buy the DVDs, you should get cable...blah, blah, blah."
As she was giving me this unasked for advice, my arms started itching and my chest tightened. Then I realized what was happening: I was irritated! (Yes, I am evidently not that self-aware.) 

I recognized that my friend's advice was irritating the heck out of me. My inner dialogue then turned into something like this:
"Where does she get off supposing she knows more than me? Why should she get to tell me what to do? I already know about all those other options she is describing! I'm not an idiot Brenda! Does she think she's smarter and better than me?"
And that's when I had a life-changing realization. Humans are bizarre animals. Our ridiculous egos rule our lives more than any of us realize. My ego was totally offended by my friend's unsolicited advice. I shared my story, not with the desire to have her fix my dilemma, but to vocalize my inner turmoil. I wanted someone I trusted to share my burden. And yes, it is totally illogical to share problems with another person and NOT want their help. But that's the complexity and mystery of humans. Sorry world, I can't fix people.

After our conversation, I went back to my desk and pondered. I thought back to the times people shared their burdens with me. In most, if not all, cases I ended up giving those poor individuals a boatload of my unsolicited advice. I realized that my need to tell people what to do was not based on compassion and selflessness after all, it was based on the opposite. 

My stupid insatiable ego (whom I refer to as Shirley) is always seeking to prove that she is smart and knows stuff (she is super insecure). 

When someone Shirley respected and admired shared a problem or frustration with her (aka, a weakness perhaps?) she saw an opportunity to get her fix. If she could solve said issue, she would feel smart and superior, and thus feel better about herself.

In Shirley's mind, after she articulated all her wonderful advice, she assumed that the recipient would think:
"Wow, this woman is so smart. She totally solved my problem. What would the world do without her wisdoms. She should run for president." 
And that's how Shirley gets hers.

The advice I gave was really all about me; it was not about helping my wonderful friends. I had the audacity to assume I knew more about my friends' challenges than she/he did.

In an attempt to validate my new realizations, I did some internet research on this topic (thanks psychologytoday.com). It turns out nobody wants unsolicited advice; no matter how right it may be. The human ego takes another well-meaning person's offer to "help" as an overture that presumes the person being "helped" is instantly inferior to the person doing said "helping." 

We love to give unsolicited advice because it helps us feel superior and thus less icky about ourselves. Conversely, we hate receiving unsolicited advice because it makes us feel inferior and more icky about ourselves.

Humans are bizarre animals. 

As a recovering advice monster, I am continually working on keeping my ego in check. I continually remind myself to listen to understand, not to advise. Wish me luck on my recovery.

February 10, 2018

Deal with it. Assholes will always trump the virtuous

Yertle the Turtle

When I was younger, my favorite book was Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss. I read it hundreds of times. Growing up, we had no cable, no internet, and a single TV with only 3 watchable channels, so my curricular activity options were limited, and no matter how deep and controversial the topics, conversations with my stuffed animals could only hold my interest for so long.

If you've never read the book, here's the gist.
Yertle is the self-proclaimed king of a bale of turtles, whose throne is a rock in the middle of a small pond. One day he decides his throne is too low for such an intelligent and powerful turtle as he. So he orders the rest of the turtles to climb on each others backs to form a stack on top of the rock. Yertle then perches himself at the top of his new impressive turtle-throne.  
Still not satisfied, Yertle orders turtles from all the other ponds in the valley to continue building the stack up, up, and up, until the only thing above Yertle is the moon.
Before Yertle can stick it too that smug moon by adding more turtles to his throne, a humble, gentle turtle named Mack, pinned at the very bottom of the stack, accidentally burps. The burp sends a tremor through the unstable turtle skyscraper and causes the entire structure to tumble to the ground. The story ends with a fallen and disgraced Yertle, hunched at the bottom of the pond with a head covered in smelly mud.

I often wondered what happened in the turtle pond after the fall of Yertle's kingdom. Sometimes I imagined that Yertle apologized to the other turtles, which lead to an all-turtle collaborative effort to convert their society to a democracy. On my darker days, I imagined Yertle blaming everyone but himself for his failure, and then angrily skulking off to some god-forsaken pond where he remained alone and bitter for the rest of his days. Both scenarios brought me pleasure. Being a sucker for the underdog, each time I finished reading the last page of this book and fantasizing about the sequel, a warm sense of vindication and justice  spread through my body, like a serving of delicious soup.

Yertle the Turtle shaped a strong belief in my mind that the Yertles in our society would eventually lose, and that the virtuous Mack's  out there would eventually rule the day. I naively believed that due to Karma, the universe, common sense or whatever,  the Yertle's in the world would eventually "get theirs" and  things would work out for the rest of us turtles who love and respect others and are trying to be good people. As a result of this belief, I never worked on becoming a Yertle, or someone who could benefit from hanging with a Yertle. Instead, I spent most of my formative years happily swimming around the swamp,  making jokes, playing and not taking  many things seriously.

Growing up life was blissful. I was ignorantly happy and things were easy. Then I came of age and my awesome parents severed the apron strings. I had to start earning money to survive. This rapidly turned me from a free, blissful pond turtle, into one of those idiotic turtles willingly sandwiching themselves between a bunch of smelly rubes in order to support  Yertle's ever expanding ass to assure my own (perceived) safety and survival.

Fast-forward 20 Years. 

I've worked in corporate America for the past twenty years. During those last two decades, the Yertles on the top of the stack only changed in name and face. My lowly position in the turtle shit-sandwich changed very little. When one Yertle toppled, another took his or her, (but seriously and sadly, mostly his) place. My two imagined sequel ideas after the original book were both ridiculously unrealistic. In reality, the realistic sequel to Yertle the Turtle is the story about how an asshole named Stu who was sitting just two-turtles under Yertle, rose up and took Yertle's place at the top of us pathetic, naive common turtles.

Take Aways/Lessons Learned

If I could go back and change things, I would do one of the following:

  1. Become a Yertle myself
  2. Go find a completely new and unique tiny pond of my own
  3. Accept that there will always be a Yertle standing on my fragile back. So to cope and enjoy life, get to know my neighboring turtles, enjoy their friendship, and love and respect the sunrise and sunset, the green of the valley in the summer and the spectacular blanket of sparkling snow in the winter.

October 20, 2017

Smug Parents and Dog Owners

Maybe the "dumbest" dogs are actually the smartest
Fine, I admit we haven't raised the most disciplined dogs over the years. Regardless of the breed, they always bark when the doorbell rings, jump up on guests, and poop all over the back yard in a willy-nilly fashion. Be that as it may, they haven't hurt anyone or any body's pets (the neighbor's mauled chicken doesn't count because he flew into our yard---he was asking for it), nor do they intentionally defecate or urinate in the house.

When I tell people my funny dog stories (the stories I think are funny anyway), I get mixed responses and reviews. The dog haters think I'm the worst---mostly because I own a dog. I can get over that and understand their perspective. The majority of people who own dogs whom I talk to are smug and condescending, and instead of laughing at my stories and commiserating with me, criticize my lack of training and dog-control, making me feel like an irresponsible stupid dog owner.

The funniest kid stories are the ones about those little rugrats misbehaving. I feel like a tool when I talk about how wonderful my kids are and why---sorry egotistical parents, but those stories don't amuse or engage people (except grandmas---save those stories for her!). C'mon, you know how much you hate it when your neighbor goes on and on about how smart and talented her precious little Jimmy is...how his math skills are so advanced that he is now teaching math to the teachers; how his scientific ability is so "special" he is about to invent a drug that cures obesity forever and earn a billion dollars in the process. My favorite (by which I mean least favorite) is when parents "complain" about the hardships of having such intelligent and talented kids. "Oh no, life is so hard because Jimmy is smarter than everyone in the world---poor us, he can't get a good education that caters to his unique and special gifts." All I think when I hear this is BARF! You're just saying all this to brag. Stop. You've already won the superficial kid challenge. I tap out. It's all you. Stop talking about it. If I started talking about all the amazing things about my kids, there wouldn't be enough time or space to share it. We all have amazing kids. We are all doing are best as parents. Every person has a different skill set or talent---regardless of how schools and society judge intelligence and success. 

The same thing to all the arrogant dog owners out there. Aren't you so wonderful training your puppies to obey your every command? Because of your awesomeness, those canines only relieve themselves in the toilet (and even raise both lids and wipe off the seat! Wow, they are better than most men!).

When I share my frustrations about my kids with others, in general, they let their hair down, laugh, sympathize and then share their own harrowing kid stories, and we bond and laugh together with a common challenge. But when I do the same with dog owners, I usually get self-righteous condemnation.  

Are dogs that much different from human children? Can you really train dogs to the point where their natural inclinations are destroyed and they obey your every command without question---like a non-evil robot? Is that even what we should strive for? I would never want that level of control and stifling for my children, should I want it for my dog?  I know the dog shouldn't be allowed to poop all over the house and bite and scratch people, but is it really that bad if he barks and scares people and jumps up and kisses people he loves? Is it? I'm asking because I really don't know and want to learn.

Why do dog owners want to let me know how much better they are at raising dogs then me? I don't have the luxury of spending 24/7 with my dog teaching him to quit being such an asshole. I've taught him the bare minimum, and he is super happy, and we are mostly happy with him. Why can't that be enough? Can we lower the bar a little, so slackers and laze-bouts like me can enjoy life, hug and spoil their pets without being judged?

Wizby: Taking advantage of his masters' weakness, and pissing off haughty dog owners one hike at a time

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