As you know if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, these stupid expensive Chuck-it balls have gotten me into a lot of trouble. I lose them, get pissed off about losing them, but still I go out and buy more because the dog likes them a lot. However, today, as I dug one out of my carefully-hoarded stash, I found myself wondering if she maybe likes them too much. She loses all control at the sight of one of them, like a coke addict catching a glimpse of a little silver spoon. She takes so much pleasure in chewing on them that it’s a huge hassle to get her to drop them so I can throw them. With the green tennis balls that’s never an issue. They’re not as much fun to chew, so when I tell her to “drop” she does so immediately. As we’re walking, and I’m having the customary struggle to get the ball away from her, I’m thinking, maybe I should switch back to the green balls. But nah. The dog really likes the orange balls. Why should I deny her what she likes?

Then, we’re at the field, and I’m throwing the orange ball for her and it hits a tree. This it by no means an uncommon occurrence, but usually the ball just bounces through the branches and falls to the ground. This time, however, the ball bounced *into* the tree and landed in a crotch 20 feet up. There’s no way to climb the tree, the trunk is too thick to shake it down, so that’s that for that ball unless I bring a 20 foot ladder to the park someday.

So of course, I’m just totally bent by this. Only I could have such bad luck! I could throw that orange ball a million times *trying* to get it stuck in a tree and I wouldn’t have any success. Dog and I continue the walk, sans ball. The mood is grim.

Then, after a few minutes, dog nudges me with her head and drops something at my feet. It’s a green tennis ball. Some other dog’s ball that got left behind, apparently. So I begin throwing that one. She doesn’t give me any hassle about dropping it when I tell her to. We have a gay old time.

Now, I’m enough of a pathological narcissist to believe that this whole thing is the Universe trying to deliver a life lesson to me. (Yes, the Universe and I are like *that*. Me, and my personal learning experiences, are all the Universe thinks about. The Universe sits around all day, wondering, “how can I help Mary make sense of her life today?”)

So anyway, what is the lesson? Hmm. Something that seems better may not actually be better? Or there may be subtle benefits to things in life that we need to keep our eyes open for? Or something that seems less desirable to have in your life may actually more desirable simply because you attach to it less and don’t worry so much about losing it? I have no idea. I’m reaching. If the Universe wants to give me lessons, I’d prefer them in textbook form, thank you.

In other, non-life-lesson-related news, my reading of Merrie Haskell’s story “Sun’s East, Moon’s West” is up on Podcastle. Have a listen, I hope you enjoy it!

8 Responses to Orange balls, life lessons

  1. madeleinerobins says:

    I buy the stupid expensive Chuck-It balls because they bounce high and Emily loves to levitate after them, and because Emily cannot chew through them. Most of the time this works well–but sometimes the wretched dog decides that someone else's ball is Way Cooler, and steals it, and you know what happens at the playground when one kid steals another kid's ball. Especially then the “kid” in question bounds around gloating: “See! I have the Cool Ball! I took it because I am fast and sneaky. You may all admire me and chase me, because I have the COOL BALL!”

    Sigh.

    And I lose the damned things because every time a child winsomely asks “can I throw the ball?” I say yes, and the child miscalculates where the height of the fences around the dog park and it goes over and then I have to be soothing and bright and cheery and say, No, No, it's all right that you just threw the brand new just-bought-$6 Chuck-It ball, don't worry your pointy little head….

    It's okay. The Universe, in attempting to teach my daughter a lesson last night, made me the fall guy instructive object. Ow.

  2. M.K. Hobson says:

    Yeah, I winced when I read about your fall down the stairs! Last time
    I did that I busted my tailbone and it's still all messed up over a
    year later. I think stairs are dangerous things. We should all have
    escalators in our homes.

  3. I was thinkin' maybe teleportation. No moving parts (except the teleportee) and no Gravity Works life lessons…

  4. hazelwindows says:

    The Universe has spoken:

    God wants the orange ball for reasons that are vast and mysterious. (He gets tired of tennis balls.) You and the dog will have to make due with the green tennis balls now. He tried to guide you to this decision earlier, but you persisted in placing the dog first and have thus felt the Mighty Catcher's Mitt of Himself intervening in your affairs. Try to do better next time by following Cookie's lead.

  5. rstefoff says:

    Sugar Cookie sounds like a sweet dog who just likes to chase a ball. Probably any ball. Good doggie!

  6. JuliaR says:

    Wow, I just got one of these for my dog Maggie Moo after I read your post today. She loves it, she took it over in her corner and nommed on it like mad.

  7. M.K. Hobson says:

    I've never met a dog yet who didn't totally go nuts for the chewy-
    osity of those orange balls …

  8. Serge says:

    “how can I help Mary make sense of her life today?”

    As the Universe asks itself that question, so does yours truly.
    At least you didn't dunk your cell phone, this time.

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