There was once a little dog

9 05 2009

In the tale The Water of Life the blade of the knife turns bloody in the sisters hands when evil befalls him.

I was in Iowa last week giving a talk on the strangeness of medicine and the strangeness of fairy tales. The Water of Life is one of my favorites because of the girl, the knife and the screaming stones.

There is also a nice story of the old man with his heart in a bird. Except, of course, it is not so nice when the young lad squeezes the bird to death. And really, in general it is not a nice story, because no bird should be saddled with that sort of burden–no other creature (although we do it to them all the time, do we not?)


I saw grackles, which pleased me, and red-winged blackbirds foraging along the side of I-80 as I drove back to Illinois. They surprised me–but the fields–all those fields made perfect fodder for the bird, I suppose.



There is something I want to tell you about. When driving the other day, I witnessed a fight, or rather the pummeling of one guy by another, which began suddenly, moved into the middle of the intersection and ended, after the victim was held down on the sidewalk for about 3 minutes. After he was let go, he crouched, picking up objects that had fallen during the fight, and ran off, still crouching, his face bloody.

So. I did call the police while I was sitting there. But let me be perfectly honest. I called the police because of the dog.

The aggressive guy (a big guy with a colorful mohawk…I cannot believe those things are still considered punk) appeared to be the dog’s person. During the fight, the dog was very agitated. Frightened. Someone tried to catch it when it ran into the street, but it ran back to the sidewalk, to escape the stranger.

We all have adrenaline, I suppose.

I should have felt sorry for the guy who was getting pummeled, and I did, but if the dog had not been there, I would have just assumed that the cops would never get there fast enough anyway. I admit it. I feel uneasy with this admission. I wanted to help that dog and as I sat there I felt as though the whole world was breaking open into the kind of anguish that dog appeared to feel. Appeared, I say. It was purity of sentiment and unbearable. That is why I called the cops. My putting something on that dog, making assumptions and feeling very badly.

I am and am not a misanthropist.

I am a cliché. I am I am
I still see that dog.
Can you tell me what to do?




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