The Good Things . . .

When he and his mob are gone.
Many lament the oral abuse of our American language. When we speak, it is too rapid, too slurred, often grammar is chopped, missing or short-sheeted; volume rapidly fades past the noun clause; syllables are tossed away. Sung lyrics are unintelligible, sometimes giving way to dramatic, stage-bounding convulsions to find understanding. The good thing is Jane Pauley. Each and every one of you must tune to CBS Sunday Morning and focus on Jane Pauley as she speaks our language. Mariner is notably deaf but he needs no hearing aid to understand Jane. She speaks her words giving each word and its syllables time, space, volume, and tone. With Jane, there is linguistic beauty and grace that must hold forth – then the word is spoken for our ears to hear and enjoy.
Unfortunately, dogs often are treated as badly as human black slaves were treated in that terrible time. Some humans physically abuse their dog – finding twisted self worth for themselves in the process. Others are remiss even in providing food, water, warmth or coolness. Many humans do not want the overhead of what any family member requires: cleanliness, nutrition, and importantly, empathy. For tens of thousands of years, dogs have adapted to humans by watching them. Dogs don’t need words; they watch body language. More often than not, words interfere with what the dog comprehends. Dogs will learn procedures we want them to learn not because they comprehend our reasoning but because they want our positive response. The good thing is that moment when we and the dog have a common bonding experience. There is a common acceptance and respect for one another on a common, empathetic plane. By the way, this is also a good thing between humans.
Entertainment providers, especially television, make a point of teaching viewers to behave in callous and otherwise unproductive ways. The wayward Donald contributes greatly to this effort. Firing any employee less than two days before they can apply for pension is a great example of unproductive behavior. Sociologists suggest our increasing disrespectful attitude jaundices our American culture. We have become judgmental and crass as the first order of behavior. The good thing is decorum. When the world is in tumult, behave in a respectful manner. Acting with decorum has the same effect as turning down the burner under a pot of water that is boiling too vigorously; order is restored – even if momentarily, there is a moment of rationality. Before we judge, before we strike out, show respect and be nice. It is a good thing.
Mariner has mentioned this good thing before: Pass it along. Typically, one may help pick up a spilled garbage can or help a person carry groceries to their car. These acts are to be commended but most of these gestures require that the passer is not too inconvenienced. However, pass it along can be a strong influence in changing the world’s behavior. Make pass it along a habit in daily life. For example, break down boxes and tie them together for the folks who pick up recyclables; arrange to pick up groceries for a friend who is incapacitated or a shut-in; defer to others waiting in line; walk your neighborhood specifically to pick up trash or to help out when the situation occurs. Another word for pass it along is decorum.
There are many good things around. Look for them. They are usually buried in disorganization, stressful situations, undue prejudice, inconvenience, and negligence.

Ancient Mariner

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