We got a German Sheppard puppy a couple of months ago. He is approaching six months now, almost full size. He has an established hierarchy of people around him.
- I am number one because when he was little I would play with him and pet him and talk to him whereas everyone else would just play with him and tease him. He follows me everywhere, and if I stop, he lies down nearby to wait patiently for me to move on. He's a very excellent shadow.
- My wife is number two because she feeds him and takes him on rides in the motorcycle cab, mainly to visit the veterinarian. He seems not to connect her with the shot in the butt he gets there.
- Our kid is number three because he must be put up with. The dog seems to understand that, even though the 3 1/2 year old mainly whacks and grabs at him.
- The maid is number four, although the dog couldn't care less about her. He just doesn't bark at her.
Everyone else is a potential threat and the dog defends us against them. Never mind that some of them live on our property in a different house (my wife's mother, younger half-brothers and half-sister).
Not only does the dog have a list. It has well-defined territorial rules for those who approach.
- If you are within 50 feet of me, my wife, or kid, you will be warned away with barking. Unless you are carrying something, then the barking starts at about 100 feet. The dog holds his ground.
- If you get within 25 feet, the dog will close the gap about one-third, and the barking will intensify. Unless you are holding something, then that happens at 50 feet.
- If you get within 10 feet, the dog will be directly in front of you, barking loud and furiously. You have been advised and are ignoring his advice . . . And if you are holding something you'll never get that close.
- If you try to get any closer, you put your arms, legs, or ass at risk of laceration. Or face, if you are short enough.
It's interesting. The dog ENJOYS defending us. He ENJOYS getting worked up, getting angry, showing his fangs. He is completely happy once the threat has gone away (inside the house or off the property). He has done his job, and he knows it. He trots gaily over for his strokes.
That got me to reflecting on how, sometimes, I enjoy getting into arguments. Enjoy getting angry, in a wicked kind of way. Like the days before I got tossed from Get Real Post, I actually got some kind of perverse joy at getting under Ilda's skin so easily, enjoyed being angry at the thugs and slapping back, and enjoyed getting benigno so riled that he tossed me. And even today I ENJOY angrily but accurately characterizing him as a blowhard hypocrite of low intellectual integrity. That is NOT an ad hominem insult. It is a fact.
I must also enjoy getting into little arguments with my wife because we do it often enough. And I know I enjoy getting angry at stupid drivers on the road because I laugh when I give them the bird (from behind dark tinted windows because I don't carry a gun and they maybe do . . .)
I think many people get joy from messing with other people. That's why politics in the U.S. has turned so nasty, and why Americans have become angrily polarized. People ENJOY hating what other people stand for.
It is why sensationalist media thrive. People ENJOY watching other people's lives deteriorate, like Rupert Murdoch's or Brittney Spears' or John Edward's or Ex-Chief Justice Corona's. They love being spiteful toward people whose lives are collapsing. It's why people gossip like crazy, pointing out the flaws in other people's living. They LOVE stirring up trouble and putting others down, often angrily.
It is the Jerry Springer syndrome. The stupider and more hurtful you can get people to be, the higher your ratings go.
The trouble is, the enjoyment attached to anger is a lot like the anger itself. It is emotional, meaning apart from rational.
So nations engage in self-destructive wars, with the joy evidenced in patriotic hurrahs. And belligerent people beat the shit out of each other, incurring great pain in the process, whilst pinning a certain pleasant macho medal to their egos.
Ahh, the pleasures of hating.
Alas, in any serious conflict, there are usually two losers and no winners.
Now I don't have any particular place to go with this blast of personal enlightenment. Perhaps it is just to exclaim the obscure notion that hate generally comes with joy attached.
As we go on a drive for governmental transparency, perhaps we also ought to go on a drive for personal transparency.
There is probably a benefit somewhere down the line of knowing that we enjoy hating.
Like, maybe we can decide to find our joy in some other way.
Or we can accept that we are an angry species because it is so much fun. And stop expecting harmony. Then we can just be just like U.S. Democrats and Republicans and perfect our ability to be nasty.
I'm personally doing a little of both.