Monday, June 7, 2010

Dogs and Poker

Do you recognize this painting? Yes, a famous one.

Ever had that situation where you're given a task requiring 10% of your cognitive ability, and once your into it for a while and break into stride there's this thought, profound and massive that blinks like that lightbulb above people's heads in cartoons, and the excitement from your brilliance threatens to do away with the original idea? I think Doctor Emmett Brown in "Back to the Future" had this happen to him when he fell and hit his head on a toilet. Take that, turn the toilet thing into a mundane task, and that was me today.

The original thought started with me walking from one dorm to another, and one the grass next to a sidewalk was a crippled, wounded baby blue jay clutching to a broken limb on its back as it squeaked to me in fear whether or not we were predators. Well, we were, and we ate it right then and there. I'm kidding. Really, though, the mother was in the tree above us watching with futility as me and two coworkers huddled around the bird and tried to brainstorm, lightly I may add, as to how to save the bird. We concluded that it'd be best to leave it for it was doomed from the moment it fell from the tree, so we all kept trucking on. How death is taken so lightly in our world today.

Anyway, I pondered what kind of predator would come to eat this baby bird, and dogs and cats flooded my mind with their particular hunting styles. Somehow that went to this particular painting above- dogs playing poker- and one key observation became that mental lightbulb.

First, I intentionally did no research on the painting before posting this, to keep my observation pure and untainted, delivered to you the reader, soI know nothing about this painting, absolutely nothing. If you feel the need to tell me what it's really about, then by all means do it, but I in no way try to give the proper interpretation. Is that even a term in art? "Proper interpretation." I don't like it if it is. I don't know. I feel less sophisticated the more I write about this. Regardless, now that the art snobs are put in their place, we can move forward.

Here is the observation:

Dogs would make horrible poker players.

First, dogs are social creatures. Man's best friend, in fact. They're like humans in that regard. They cannot talk and are not very much like us, but only in one way that shapes their behavior to make it seem like they're reading our minds or they can understand our words. They cannot. They only read our behavior, and are excellent at it.

Think about it. How well does your dog hide his excitement or interest? Not very well I'm sure. This is what I see as ironic. Dogs, as opposed to cats, tend to express themselves in louder ways, thus are easy to read. If a person owns a dog and a cat and they come home, who will be waiting at the door, jumping around, licking, barking, running, and knocking things over? The dog. Cats are happy to see you, and they'll show it, but they won't go really out of their way to get your attention. "Patient" could be a word for this. I like to turn cat traits into virtues. They deserve it.

I'm sure that's not all there is to this painting, but it's something. Something. Food for thought at least.

I mean, if you're ever in some alternate dimension or travel in space to where dogs and cats rule a distant planet, and you're given the choice to play poker against either species, choose the dogs. They may be better at reading you, but you'll read them much easier.

You'll thank me later.


estherrose2of8 said...

I laughed out loud to myself three times while reading this. Good job, Will.

Stresspenguin said...

Your concernes about your ability to use humor in your writing should be over.

In the positive sense. Just to be clear.

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