In my last post I mentioned the Doc deliberately watches things on TV that drive him a little crazy. It’s not like he’s watching something he enjoys and somehow accidentally hits the wrong button on one of those gadgets he uses and something annoying pops up. That happens more often than you might think. He’ll pick up the gadget, point it at the TV, push a few buttons, and the next thing you know people are speaking a foreign language. He talks to the TV, pushes more buttons, and, if he’s lucky, the food people come on. If he’s not so lucky, something else comes on and he starts yelling at the gadget. Eventually things work themselves out, the yelling stops, and we all calm down.

That kind of craziness is understandable. You want to relax, you try to put on something relaxing, then all of a sudden people start speaking a foreign language loud and fast. Not relaxing at all. But that’s not the kind of craziness I’m talking about. There are times he pushes the buttons and something comes on where people are talking, three or four of them, all at the same time, loud and fast, but in English, and he sits back and watches. How, I wonder, can this be relaxing?

Well, the answer is that it can’t be. How do I know? Because he starts talking to the TV. Arguing with it. Yelling sometimes. Again, not at all relaxing, certainly not for me. From what I can tell he goes out of his way, sometimes, to watch things that make him nuts. This doesn’t seem like a good idea. He’s a little nuts to begin with. He doesn’t need the TV to reinforce his nuttiness. So on our walk this morning I asked him about it.

It was cold, which I like. Partly because of my genetics, and partly because of the aches and pains I get in my shoulders and hips. I mentioned that before. The vet said it was arthritis. She gave the folks some medicine they think they are sneaking into my food at dinnertime. They cut it into pieces and try to hide them near the bits of chicken they put in the bowl as a kind of treat. I pretend I don’t notice and eat them. Sometimes, when I’m in the mood for more chicken, I’ll spit a piece or two back into the bowl or onto the floor. They’ve learned that if they give me more chicken I’ll eventually eat the medicine. It took a while to get them trained but it was worth it.

Anyway, the cold weather takes some of the sting out of my joints, but I still have a bit of a limp some mornings. I wake up a little stiff and it takes a while to get things in proper working order. That was the case today. We were about half way into the walk when he looked at me and made a comment.

“Hey, Ky, feeling a little sore this morning?”

“I’m fine, thanks, but enough about me. Let’s talk about you for a minute.”

“What about me?”

“You do weird things. You get out of bed when you’d rather stay in it. You go to work when you’d rather stay home. You watch stuff on TV that makes you crazy…”

“Whoa, wait a minute, what TV stuff are you talking about?”

It was as if none of the other weird things even registered. Whatever. So I told him about the TV people yelling and him yelling back, and about how I, and none of my pals, would ever do such a thing. “We don’t go out of our way to make ourselves miserable,” is how I put it.

He was quiet for a minute. I figured he knew I was right and was trying to come up with some feeble explanation. Nope.

“Actually, you, and your so-called pals, do all sorts of weird and unpleasant things. Well, maybe not you, exactly, considering you have the life of Riley, (one of my guys from the park was named Riley, but he had his life and I had mine. Huh?), but the rest of you do.”

“Huh? And who’s Riley?”

“Never mind Riley. Remember that show we watched on the Animal Channel a while ago? The one about migration?”

I did, and I began to see his point. Normally the Animal Channel is very relaxing and informative. This particular episode, though, gave me nightmares. There were giant herds of buffalo or something in Africa walking for miles and miles, birds flying practically from the north pole to the south pole, whales doing the same thing but in the ocean, and, worst of all, these fish called salmon swimming up rivers, trying to get past dams, being ambushed by bears. It was tragic, until I learned the reasons why they were doing these crazy things.

The buffalo, (actually wildebeest, I learned) were moving from place to place to follow the weather. Apparently it can get really hot and dry in Africa so they move around to find food and water. Not a great existence, especially considering all the other animals know where they are going and try to eat them as they pass through. Same with the birds, though it’s safer than being a wildebeest.

The whales follow the weather, too, but it’s so they can have their babies where it’s warm. Then they go back up north where it’s colder, and, I guess, more fun if you’re a whale. The salmon, unfortunately, are just doomed. They spend a few years having fun in the ocean, then go back to the rivers where they were born to have their own babies. I’ve heard that most of them never see the ocean again. I’m pretty sure a lot of them never even get where they’re going. It was my turn to be quiet.

“So, we all do what we have to do to survive. Including me. I get up when I’d rather stay in bed and go to work when I’d rather pull my own teeth out in order to make the money we all need to live the way we do. I watch crazy, annoying, things on TV so I can stay informed and I yell at the TV people because it makes me feel better, since there’s not a whole lot else I can do to change things.”

“And,” I said, feeling a little foolish, “I have the life of Riley, whatever that is.”

“Hey, sorry about that wisecrack. You have the life of Kaya. It’s exactly the way it should be. You make us happy. We don’t need you to go to work or start roaming all over the planet. Being Kaya is your job, and you’re killing it.”

O.K. So I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant by that, but the tone of his voice suggested whatever I’ve been doing all this time I’ve been doing well. It hasn’t felt like a job, but maybe that’s what a good job feels like.


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