"Learning to live and living to learn"
Yesterday was a beautiful evening and as we walked around the village, the hint of Spring in the air was palpable. It’s almost time to say goodbye to the dark, wet, cold winter months, take a “chill-pill” and feel reborn again. I love the Springtime, it’s a time when everyone, regardless of species, is in the mood for love, or so we hope!
This set the tone for the conversation after dinner with the wife and I, and of course Lily, (the dog who must be adored), reclining on the couch, feet up on the footstool, just shooting the breeze. We got to talking about how different people are, in the way they respond to the demands of a situation and express their emotions accordingly. For instance, some people respond with calm and consideration, particularly when under pressure and then there are others who take a more authoritative approach, animating their discourse with raised tones and a facial expression that would outdo the most ardent despot. And then of course, you have a variety of degrees in between. Lily, who had been listening with intent, chipped in at this point with a story which sent shivers down my spine and, I kid you not, the wife’s teeth actually began to “gnash”.
There is a small coastal town about 30Kms north of Dublin city called Skerries which used to be a very vibrant fishing village in times gone by. Today, Skerries, or Na Sceirí, for those of you who speak the language of the Gael, is a lovely quiet town where everybody knows each other and the arrival of a casual visitor is often prone to bring the traffic on main street to a standstill. There are many hostelries in the vicinity since the wild people of Skerries like a good “knees-up” but next door to one of these libation dispensaries dwells a skittish micro-dog by the name of Lop-sided Lil.
Lop-sided Lil, or “the lobster” as she is known to those with a fishing heritage, has a fiery temperament who loves nothing more than to dispense rough justice to all who dare to “cross the line”. If you find yourself at the business-end of Lobo-Lil’s fire and fury, you may stand startled, routed to the spot, uncertain as to why you have been singled out. However, you will be left in no doubt that you have crossed the line. But be rest assured, only Lil knows where that line is drawn.
Now, apparently, on hearing this story, people usually respond with two questions. Firstly, why does this creature, with a temper hotter than hades, like to boss everyone around? The answer, it would seem, is that she has learned the behavior from her humans, both of whom, like to “lay down the law”. I’m told that they are particularly strict on the lobster when it comes to what she can and can’t do but they do so for purely for training purposes. And Lobo-Lil is a keen student in art of discipline who believes that “practice-makes-perfect”.
The second question asked is, why is this fire cracker described as “lopsided?” The answer is without doubt. It is the direct result of living next door to a pub. We can all identify, I’m sure from first hand, particularly from our days of youthful exuberance, the lopsided effects of regular overindulgence in the company of John Barleycorn, on both our attitude and behavior. In fact, it has been suggested, although nobody as yet has been able to verify the hypothesis with empirical data, that Lop-sided-Lil’s penchant for authoritarianism is but the behavioral manifestation of a hangover. We wait for confirmation.
We can only hope that with spring in the air, and the sound of birdsong all around us, that Lop-sided Lil, and those of us who bear similarities, will relax, take a chill pill, and perhaps find other avenues of excitement than to be a “bossy-boots”.