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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Looking for shit in all the wrong places

Watching my dog run and jump and chase the ball makes me very happy. At the risk of anthropomorphizing my little Australian Shepherd, Maggie: she looks so joyful when she’s outside.

And that makes me joyful.

But when I’m bending down to the ground, trying to locate her brown shiny turds on the brown shiny leaves of late autumn, I get frustrated.

Here I am trying to scoop her poop like a responsible pet owner and I can’t find it. I’m being thwarted by the frickin’ environment.

Then I get philosophical and start thinking about “shit” in existential terms.

When we look for shit (in the form of offense or things that piss us off--like lice), we often find it. It’s a the-glass-ain’t-just-half-empty-it-has exploded-into-tiny-shards-on-the-tile-floor-and-a-piece-just-got-stuck-in-my-foot kinda thinking.

My grandmother called it fault finding. You may have forgiven someone their trespasses against you, but you’ve always got your hairy eyeball out for the next transgression.

And most of the time, we get offended because we’re so egotistical that we think that a person’s sole motivation was to hurt our feelings in some way. More often than not, people are just doing what they’re doing to get by, but we misread the situation completely.

I like to say that if you walk around with your head in the toilet, you’ll always find shit.

But, when you’re looking on the brown shiny ground for the remains of last night’s Alpo, it’s nowhere to be found.

Sometimes, you just have to let things go.

After I resolve to locate it next time, I call Maggie and take that first step on our return journey. Then, there’s that squishy, sinking feeling under my shoe and the smell hits me in the nose.

There are two ways to interpret this situation:
  1. Sometimes even when you let go, the shit finds you, or
  2. When you surrender, you find what you’re looking for…sort of.


  1. "One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    Keep blogging, Patti!
    Best Wishes

  2. Thank you so much, Ian. Love the quote. This blog came about because of all our great discussions.