Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Illusion of Freedom

One morning, about six months ago, I was out on my regular walk when I spotted a squirrel running around in front of me. I lunged for it expecting to only go a few feet before feeling a yank on my neck. But this time I kept going. In fact, in those few milliseconds I realized I was free and could probably catch that squirrel—WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. I was a few inches away from that chattering red fur when I thought I’d break my neck. A sharp snap reminded me that I was attached to something, but this was something new and different. That was my introduction to the stretchy leash. That is a cruel contraption that gives you the illusion of freedom but can be deadly.

I have very mixed feelings about it. True I can run around farther, but it is a carefully controlled farther. And if I find some leftovers or decide to see if a man running by would like to pet me, I can be reeled right in like a fish. And that thought does make me feel sorry for the poor fish who, even if he is caught and released like some illegal immigrant, must be traumatized by the whole experience. How can he trust bugs or food after that? I can’t even fathom the alternative. Won’t even go there.

If you turn around a few times before pooping wearing one of those things, you can get rope burns in some pretty awful places. And when I get together with a friends, if both of us are in stretchy leashes it can get ugly fast. Don’t try rolling around in the grass attached to that thing either. But who can remember? I live in the moment. Off I’ll go, only to be reminded of it in some unpleasant way.

I try to make the best of it especially when I’m on the grass. After many experiments I have worked out a system. I sit down and relax until the stretchy leash is almost ready to pull and then I can run past my owner until I’m all the way out in front. That way I get a long run and a long rest.

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