The Dog Star: Not All Batting Averages Matter

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

Every single morning, Buddy Beagle attempts to take a toy through the kitchen door and out into the yard. He is not allowed to do this, since the stuffed animals are ruined in the rain and snow. But he tries every single morning, and there is a veritable zoo of inanimate animals gathered around the kitchen door, where they have been confiscated by my wife and me.

However, once every week or so, he makes it. He pretends to drop the animal but keeps it on the side of his body away from us, or drops an alligator and picks up a frog. Sometimes Koufax will bark and distract us, because there’s a squirrel in his sights. But Buddy does succeed, and his success rate clearly is gratifying and motivates him to continue trying. He has never, ever brought a toy back into the house from the yard. That is not the fun of it.

Buddy apparently is not concerned about his batting average or even improving his game. He’s simply involved in having some fun with us in the morning, and I’ve come to realize that, win or lose, he is simply having a good time. He wasn’t grumpy or upset when we grabbed the animal from him, and didn’t even fight to keep it (and he has tremendous jaw strength). Nor, when he managed to liberate a giraffe or skunk, did he sit there with it in his mouth in the grass, taunting us. He simply played the game for the fun and then moved on to other canine things.

Some things we should just do for the sheer delight, win or lose. We shouldn’t invest our egos, track the results on a spread sheet, or try to Google more advanced applications. We should simply rejoice.

I like to try to grow things, but I have varying degrees of success, from transplanted pine trees thriving at the pond, to vegetables that were devoured by forms of vermin I never even realized existed. I once had a huge electric train layout, and I don’t ever remember operating it for more than 20 minutes without a derailing, crash, or other failure (including one small fire). I love driving exotic cars, but every one I’ve ever owned has had a flaw or fault somewhere.

The point is to enjoy everything you can that needn’t be competitive or judged. There is enough in our lives to place us in competition and evaluation. When we try to extend metrics to all of our lives, we can never “win enough” or “be successful enough.” It’s like playing Angry Birds: There’s always another, tougher level.

Be happy with the sheer joy of life. Sometimes an accomplishment once every week is sufficient. Here I am, successful against Buddy’s habit six days out of seven, and feeling like I’m a failure! I need to get over that….

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “The Dog Star: Not All Batting Averages Matter

  1. Alan,
    I enjoyed this post especially when you said Buddy Beagle will drop the alligator and pick up the frog. I guess that’s his version of fake left and go right.

    Thanks for the insight.

  2. Thanks, Alan. Once again, you hit the nail on the head! (Were you using a hammer?) Success, not fun, is the standard by which most of us have been raised. And success is measured by the greenback. As I’ve now celebrated a birthday (7 down, 5 to go), I’m easing up on myself — much of it to your teaching. It’s time (it’s long overdue) to enjoy the daily pleasures I get. I’ve always sought to do this (usually with my cycling). But, there’s a difference between enjoying and rejoicing!

  3. Those are good points. There are people whose recreation and entertainment are actually “work,” in that they compete, focus on quantity and not quality, and don’t really enjoy it. One time I said with regret, “I have to work now” on a hobby I was involved with. Realizing the stupidity of the statement and sentiment, I put it aside for ten years. When I picked it up again, it was fun and enjoyable.

    The hobbyists who insist you follow their rules, from electric trains to bird watching, are really doctrinaire control nuts who want no one to enjoy themselves, just follow orders. Dog shows, for example scare the hell out of me, and it’s not because I’m afraid of dogs. These are the scariest people, outside of Mensa, that I’ve ever encountered!!

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