PT Money put up some money quotes yesterday for our general edification/amusement. But his last one, arguably the least serious, is what struck me the most.
“Dogs have no money. Isn’t that amazing? They’re broke their entire lives. But they get through. You know why dogs have no money? ..No pockets.” – Jerry Seinfeld
Okay, it’s funny. And silly. But maybe Seinfeld is on to something. (And I’m not just saying that because Tim and I are completely addicted to The Marriage Ref.)
Dogs go their entire lives without money. They don’t worry about being rich or poor. They love bones and a few toys, but they wouldn’t know they wanted that kind of thing until you showed it to them. (Of course, that’s arguably the basis of all advertising.)
Dogs are happy being dogs. They take naps. They go for walks, and they sit around (usually as close to you as you’ll allow) and beam love at you. Those are pretty much their main activities for any given day.
They get to be so simple-minded, though, because they have humans to take care of the big worries. They don’t have to worry about shelter or food. Dogs really aren’t concerned with the long-term future. In fact, concerns really don’t enter into a dog’s life — unless there’s a squirrel around.
Since we have to be a little more forward thinking, humans will never get to be quite as uncomplicated as dogs. We are necessarily aware of money and all its implications. But we can still try to emulate the pure joy dogs receive from the simplest things.
It really doesn’t take much to make a dog happy. Nowhere is that better illustrated than an email forward I received once. (Reproduced here thanks to PetnBlog, where it was part of a post.)
8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM – Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 PM – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 PM – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 PM – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 PM – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 PM – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 PM – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!
Hopefully, you get the picture.
Yeah dogs are simple, but isn’t that what we love about them? And don’t most of us complain when things are complicated?
Maybe we’re just the pessimists of the animal kingdom. (Eeyore being the major exception here.) Perhaps we just overlook the wonderfulness of everyday life, and that’s what keeps us from being even a third as happy as a dog. Maybe we’ve just developed an immunity to simple pleasures.
This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about this. But it remains true: We focus too much on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. We obsess about what we don’t have, rather than what we do. We have come to take just about everything for granted.
The next time you go online, consider the mind-boggling awesomeness that is the Internet. Millions of computers able to talk to one another instantly, from (almost) anywhere in the world. Data sent in the blink of an eye — if not faster.
Or how about television? Captured images and sound transmitted to our living rooms through the air. And in our homes, we have receivers so advanced that they can pluck the information from thin air and convert it back into pictures, with a soundtrack.
How are we not continually flummoxed by these things in our lives? Because we get used to them. We stop seeing them.
For a dog, everything is brand new. And maybe we should try to keep that frame of reference. If we looked at everything with new eyes, how would we consider our existence?
In other words, maybe we should all take a lesson from a dog.