Just this morning the Doc and I were on our usual walk. Down the street, past the school, (no kids today so I missed the pets and licks), through the alley, across the intersection to the street where the creek flows. We were walking along the creek, like always, when all of a sudden these two dogs run up to check me out. Off leash. We gave each other a sniff. Neither of them seemed to want any trouble so I stayed calm.
A minute later this woman comes rushing over, holding her cell phone in one hand and two leashes in the other, apologizing for her mutts’ intrusion. “So sorry!” The Doc did not seemed amused and just stared at her while she tried to corral her scofflaws. That’s when one of them decided to give me some attitude. He was a little smaller than me, and luckily the woman got him in line before I got my teeth in his neck. Also lucky his curly haired girlfriend decided to mind her own business.
The Doc had to drag me away. I needed to let them know I meant business, in case I run into them again. A few minutes later we were back on our walk and the whole thing was a fading irritation. For me, at least. The Doc, though, wasn’t getting over it quite as quickly. He kept muttering to himself. I couldn’t catch it all but ‘idiot’, ‘irresponsible’, and ‘delusional’ were words I was able to make out.
‘Idiot’ I understand perfectly well. According to the Doc there are scads of them, millions is what I’ve heard him say. Hundreds right in our own neighborhood. He points them out sometimes. The woman with the cell phone fits the description.
‘Irresponsible’ is a little harder for me. I mean, it’s relative. Irresponsible for a human might be perfectly reasonable for me or one of my pals. For Instance, we have a keen sense of territory and an even keener sense of smell. We mark things, you know, pee on them, to let our friends, and enemies, know where we’ve been. Keeps everyone informed. No surprises. Very responsible, if you ask me.
Humans, on the other hand, have a different view of territory and practically no sense of smell whatsoever. No point in them peeing on anything because they would have no idea whose pee it was or why it was there. Peeing on something just for the sake of peeing on it is irresponsible. Better for them to just build fences. They do that quite a bit. It makes us a little crazy, but that’s another story.
‘Delusional’, though, is something I didn’t understand at all. I thought about it a while but couldn’t figure it out. Finally, I just asked and this is what he told me, more or less.
There have always been delusional people, and only people have the ability to be delusional. It involves believing in things that aren’t there, or maybe seeing things or hearing things that aren’t there. They have medicines for these delusions, and some of them actually work. Being delusional was always considered to be a bad thing, or at least not normal or healthy. I understood this immediately. I, and the other non-humans I know, have our hands full with real stuff without having to worry about stuff that doesn’t exist. Even squirrels don’t seem to be delusional.
Humans are different. The Doc said that a lot of them go out of their way to be delusional from time to time, for the fun of it. Huh? Yeah, there are other drugs that make you delusional, and some humans take them so they can be crazy for a while. This was getting a little too weird for me. I mean, can you imagine one of us going out of our way to be crazy, even for a few hours? I asked him to knock it off with the drugs and get back to the main subject. I didn’t ask him if he was one of the ones who liked to be crazy for fun. I’ve heard my mom say he’s crazy even when he isn’t having fun, so who knows?
Anyway, according to the Doc something happened about eight or nine years ago that changed everything. That was right about the time I was born, so that changed everything for me, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t have anything to do with whatever he was talking about. He said that instead of just a few people being delusional, either for fun or some medical reason, our entire society became delusional. People started to believe in a world that didn’t exist.
In that world your dogs don’t need to be on a leash, because your dogs are perfect and would never get into a fight or start trouble. Never mind that perfect dogs are dogs, and dogs are going to get into it with other dogs from time to time. So while your perfect dogs are strolling around off-leash, they are sooner or later going to come across one on-leash who will take exception to them.
In that world you can step off the curb in front of on-coming traffic and everyone will come screeching to a halt because pedestrians have the right of way. You can ride your bicycle anywhere you want without worrying about getting run over because cyclists have equal rights to the road.
I was following him so far. I’ve seen people do those things and wondered why. Now I knew. Then he started getting into stuff a little murkier. He said only people suffering from this grand delusion could vote twice for someone with no life achievements and expect him to be a competent president. Only in the delusional world can you get people who have hated you forever to like you by simply being nice to them.
This is where I cut him off. I don’t vote and unless the president starts coming after dogs I don’t really care that much about who he is or what he does. As for people liking me, I have a pretty good idea who my friends are. I live in the world I can see and smell. I don’t need delusions.
“When,” I asked him, “is this grand delusion going to end?”
We were just about home. I’d had enough philosophy for one morning. It was time for breakfast.