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Doggie and me

Lila and me

I protect, even revere, my books. After reading one I sometimes leave it by the bedside. Lila, being who she is, grabs it up without haste and cheerfully starts tearing off the cover and chewing away pages and binding. (Most recently, she’s managed to chew off the cover and liner pages of The Deptford Trilogy, which I was enjoying very much. Thankfully it’s still in legible condition.) Now, she’s a dog, and she’s only doing what she knows, what she does. So, I wonder, who is right and who is wrong? Am I right to revere my books and belongings or is she right to destroy them without discrimination?

It’s a silly question of course, but it led me to a broader and more serious question: Is there something we can learn perhaps from animals’ lack of concern for things artificial? Their cold eye of indifference to things Ford or Mercedes, and Bic or Mont Blanc? What are they concerned about? Food, shelter, and warmth. I know it’s said that what separates us from animals is precisely this ability to care about more than just the bare necessities, but my interest starts where this separative quality breaches the line of sensibility and becomes ridiculous. I wrote a few days ago, on the eve of my birthday, that everything is going to end one day – and I wasn’t trying to sound depressive or ominous (I thought my tone was rather upbeat, in fact), so it feels almost silly to me when people fight over money and things, and deceive one another to attain something a simpleton like a dog wouldn’t even shit on (they prefer grass for that).

As I write I’m thinking of Bernie Madoff, who just got caught for a scam on the scale of billions, and the Raju brothers of Satyam Computer Services of India, who admitted to having cooked their books for years. I haven’t seen it but CNBC has a television show with I think one of the most representative titles of our time that I’ve heard, American Greed.

Back to the doggie, it’s eye-opening and even educational for me, everytime I see her contently sitting on the floor, chewing her bone (on a good day) or what used to be a shoe or a belt (on an average day).

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