I look for meaning in things.
When I would play basketball as a kid, I had to make the last shot before I put the ball away.
When the Cubs were in the World Series in 2016, I stood with my hands on my knees because they seemed to play better when that was happening.
I see symbols in nature. I make connections between events. This way of life has its advantages. It certainly makes writing more fun. It also causes me to beat myself up when I do something that upsets the balance of power.
Which I did this morning.
I yelled at my dog.
I yelled once, and then I yelled again. Then I threw my bag on the couch and shook my head in his direction so he could feel the weight of my disappointment
Why did I yell?
He ate my oatmeal.
Writing it seems like such a silly thing to be angry about. But I was running late and it was the last of my blueberries.
He didn’t seem to care that I was yelling. He was still licking the anti-oxidants off his lips. He was like, “Yell all you want, I just rocked my daily supply of antioxidants.” It reminded me of the last scene of Inglorious Bastderds when Brad Pitt would rather get chewed out than have the Nazi go free.
What was I expecting? I left a bowl of oatmeal where he could get it. Millions of years of evolution have trained dogs to be scavengers, and I think that’s supposed to go away because he’s got a bowl with his name on it?
I was angry. I got in the car angry. I listened to The New York Times podcast The Daily angry. I was angry at the dog, yes, but I was also angry at myself. What if anger causes cancer? That was my thought as I waited to pull out of my apartment complex. That’s ridiculous. But… anger causes stress, and we know that stress can be harmful. What if me yelling at my dog for eating my oatmeal renders the chemotherapy obsolete? Or what if me having that cookie spikes my insulin numbers and that makes my cells mutate out of control? What if me not running today doesn’t get enough oxygen to my cells? I ate pork last night. Does ingesting meat just perpetuate a cycle of death?
Nihilism would be so much easier! Fuck it. Who cares. And maybe that's the way of the world. Maybe nothing means anything. But I'm still buying my dog a bone on the way home. Just in case it does.
And buy my dog bone on the way home.