Some feedback on my last posting about the park got me thinking. There were a few angry comments about dog discrimination, (no surprise), complaints about leashes in general and why people don’t use them on their children who come running at us and pulling our tails from out of nowhere with no concern for our well-being, a few suggestions from dog walkers about legal off-leash parks available to us, (right, so we can get into even more fights with the dogs they don’t supervise or with the other dogs belonging to weirdos and psychopaths who seem to enjoy the chaos), and one self-righteous remark aimed at me and how it sounds as though I live in a pricey neighborhood, live a life of exceptional privilege and therefore have nothing at all to complain about. (Whoever wrote that didn’t leave a name. Probably some rich liberal feeling guilty and trying to foist it off on me.)

This last bit of idiocy aside, I realized there was a common thread running through the feedback—a preoccupation with rules. Everywhere you look there is some sort of rule or regulation dictating what you can or cannot do, when, and to whom. The humans have rules for everything. Walk here, not there; cross the street between the lines; keep the dog on the leash; don’t smoke; don’t water the yard; eat this; don’t eat that; park the car here but not if it’s Tuesday between 11 AM and 1 PM, or if you don’t have a permit, or for longer than an hour. How does anyone keep track?

People seem to think they are evolved creatures because they live by the Rule of Law. In other words, if there weren’t about a million rules controlling every aspect of their lives they would be running amok, killing each other for no reason, burning their own houses down, stealing, raping and pillaging. Well, they have, in fact, done just that from time to time but I’m not sure creating more rules is going to make them any less crazy.

I’ve even heard some people defend their alleged superiority by referring to us—the non-humans—as being subject to the Law of the Jungle. How primitive. Except I’m not sure what they are talking about. I mean, I’ve never been to the jungle so I’m not sure what sort of rules they have there. I like to watch the nature shows, though, and whenever I do I see mostly a lot of non-humans living their lives more or less peaceably. They aren’t starting fires or running amok. Generally speaking.

So I gave it more thought. If there is such a thing as the Law of the Jungle, what, exactly, does it say? And, is it one rule or a zillion rules like the humans have, bundled under one heading? I don’t know about my pals in the jungle but I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t be able to remember a zillion different rules any more than I or my pals here could.

So I asked the Doc, my adopted dad. He knows some stuff, (not quite as much as he thinks he does, but still…), what his take was on the Law of the Jungle. His answer was a bit of a shock. He said the Law of the Jungle was ‘Kill or be Killed’, or ‘Eat or Get Eaten’, something along those lines. I was speechless.

As far as I know he’s never been to the jungle either. Where did he get this goofy idea? He said it was common knowledge. ‘Common’, maybe, but it seems to stretch the definition of ‘knowledge’ past the breaking point.

Like I said, I watch the nature shows. I see what goes on in the jungle, or at least I see what the humans put on videotape. And yes, there is some killing and eating, but those aren’t the only things happening out there. They are just the ones the humans find the most fascinating. (We can get into that some other time.) What I see is survival, home-building, child-rearing, relationships, dispute settlements—all sorts of things necessary for life to go on, and nowhere do I see some giant book full of rules dictating how all this is supposed to be done.

So, if there is such a thing as the Law of the Jungle it is probably something simple. Something that everyone can understand and apply to the various problems and situations they encounter on a daily basis. My guess is it’s something like ‘Don’t Be Stupid’.

For instance, if you happen to be a wildebeest walking around the savanna and you see a group of lions up ahead, turn around and walk the other way. Just to be safe. If you come to a river during the rainy season and it seems a little bigger than usual, think twice before trying to cross it. Especially if you know crocodiles live there. Don’t be stupid.

The humans make all sorts of rules and they think that as long as they do what the rules say they will be all right. Like ‘Cross in the Crosswalk’. That’s good, but don’t assume the guy driving the car sees you. Or ‘Share the Road’, which means ‘Don’t Run Over People on Bicycles’. Which is also fine but it doesn’t mean you should ride your bicycle through a stop sign without stopping, or on the shoulder of Sunset Boulevard during rush hour and expect not to get creamed. Wouldn’t ‘Don’t Be Stupid’ make a little more sense? You know, a yellow metal sign with the outline of a guy on a bicycle, wearing a dunce cap instead of a helmet, with an ‘x’ through the dunce cap and in bold letters underneath, ‘DON’T BE STUPID’. Even your average bicycle rider should be able to understand that.

And the whole obesity thing. I mean, c’mon! When was the last time you saw a fat lion in the jungle? Never, right? And he’s the king! He could be as fat as he wants. But he isn’t. The only fat kings are human kings. Do you really need a rule telling you not to drink two gallons of soda a day, or eat cheeseburgers for breakfast five days a week? No. If you do, maybe you need to spend a little time in the jungle.

Of all the peculiarities humans demonstrate, their need for someone telling them what to do, constantly, is the most difficult for me to comprehend. They go on and on about how intelligent they are, how superior, how the human brain is the greatest expression of evolution, or the greatest gift from God, whatever. But, as soon as you ask them to actually use those exalted brains the first thing they do is make a rule. Do this, not that. Don’t even think about it. No questions, please. Move along. Try telling that to a chimpanzee, or a dolphin.

It’s bad enough they feel the need to control each other. It’s their business, I guess. Not that it seems to be working all that well. But when they force their rules on us it’s time to draw the line.

OK. If we are living in their houses, eating the food they pay for, and are otherwise acting like slackers on welfare I suppose they can tell us what to do. Most, let’s face it, all of my pals are perfectly fine with this arrangement. I, myself, am guilty as charged, despite the fact I’ve been known to catch a squirrel or three and could, conceivably, fend for myself if it came to that. But like I said in an earlier post, I have no interest in working for a living. If that means walks on the leash instead of runs at the park, so be it.

It seems there are some humans, lots of them, apparently, who want a similar arrangement. No work, living on the dole, expecting someone else to support and care for them. Fine. As long as there are enough people willing to do the supporting and caring. (Why they would want to is something I can’t begin to understand. Maybe you have some ideas.) Anyway, for that bunch, the human ‘pets’, having a zillion rules to keep them in line might not be so bad. If they don’t want to think, then their ‘owners’ will have to do their thinking for them.

But for those who actually want to live their lives in full, use their heads, make their own decisions, it seems there’s really only one rule they need to live by. The Law of the Jungle. ‘Don’t Be Stupid’.


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