Wednesday, October 11, 2006

missing the point

[For anyone who logged in yesterday and saw the beginning of this post hanging lonely out in cyberspace, that was the result of one distracted blogger hitting "Publish Post" instead of "Save as Draft."]

In logic class yesterday, we continued our discussion of relevance and fallacies of irrelevance (like ad hominem).

But what I really learned about relevance yesterday I learned from my Spanish professor and then from my sister's dog.

The Spanish Class Story

The discussion in Spanish class yesterday was how to solve the world's problems. My professor likes to come up with ways to solve the world's problems, so it's a topic that comes up with relative frequency (e.g., at least once a week). So he solicited from us problems to write on the board.

All the textbook standards were there:

la pobreza (poverty)
el odio (hate)
la falta de comunicaciĆ³n (lack of communication)

Having participated in this discussion several times not only during this semester, but last semester, too, I thought it would be worthwhile this time to throw in the real one.

me: Pecado!
(Note: The word for "sin" in Spanish -- pecado -- is dangerously similar to the word for "fish" -- pescado. But my teacher knew all along what I was saying)
Spanish prof.: [with a look of incredulity] Pecado?
me: Pecado.
Spanish prof.: [intoning "so you actually want to say this?"] Pecado?
me: Pecado. Sin.
Spanish prof.: [shrugs and writes it on the board]

He went on to say that the solution for the world's problems is implementation of international projects like this one. The funny part was that every time he went back over the list on the board, of problems we were trying to solve, he read the others and skipped mine.

It'd be interesting to see how the UN would address the sin problem . . .

Then, late yesterday afternoon, it was Cuddles's (No. 2's terrier) turn to teach the lesson.

The Little Dog Story

Cleaning out the refrigerator yesterday, I found a package of kind of dried out hot dogs from the OBCLAA beach party that seemed appropriate for canine consumption. So I opened the back door to consult with our two dogs, whom I will here address respectively as "the big dog" and "the little dog."

I fed the big dog hers without incident. But, seeing how closely the big dog was eyeing the second hot dog (this does have a kind of cannibalistic feel to it, in writing), it seemed best to invite the little dog inside the house for hers.

The only problem is that she's a really stupid dog.

If you can have a conversation with dogs, this is what mine looked like:

me: C'm'ere Cuddles. Come inside.
Little Dog: Inside? Huh? What?
Big Dog: Inside. Hot dog inside. Hot dog inside!!!!!!!!!! [Big Dog starts to come inside]
me: [wrestling with Big Dog] No, you, Cuddles, you moron! Get inside!
Little Dog: Inside? Huh? What? Hey, do I smell something?
Big Dog: HOT DOG!!! [shoves head inside]
me: [breaks off piece of hot dog and throws it outside]
Big Dog: Hot dog in the yard!!!!!! [runs off]
me: Come inside, Cuddles. This is your chance.
Little Dog: Hot dog in the yard!!!!!! [runs off too, far too late]
me: Cuddles!

By this time Big Dog is back at the door trying to get in again, and Little Dog is off sniffing the place where the piece of the hot dog landed, trying to figure out how she'll ever be able to get more of this good thing, and wondering why Big Dog always gets all the special treats.

So . . . my point in all of this is to say (1) that it was all pretty funny, and (2) that it really made me wonder how often I do the same thing with God.

On one hand there are the big picture things, like "how to save the world" where we're tempted to give the same trite and useless answers as everyone else. And on the other hand, there are those blessings -- His good gifts -- that I'm missing out on because instead of being obedient to come inside the house, I'm out in the dirt sniffing for a hot dog piece that isn't even there anymore.


J said...

Hey Emily, what are you now, a lawyer, author, professor, student, and a comedian? :)

mle said...

Here I was thinking it was all serious.

But, now that you mention it, that's not such a bad combination. And don't forget beach-party-thrower. ;)

Anonymous said...

Last night I was reading _Blue Like Jazz_ instead of Jungian Psych, and I came across Miller's epiphany about sin nature in the middle of an anti-corporate rally. (Do a seach for "20" and read that page. P.21 is also good because he uses a short poem from Lewis about narcissism. Miller is post-modern/emerging church, but he tries really hard so I'm giving him a chance.)
Anyway, the whole thing reminded me of your neat little story about the "liberal"(socialist) approach and the dogs.

Now, being the man that I am, I have to ask: does your story about the distrobution of leftover frankfurters to your canine family members constitute a statement about the proper role for international aid organizations? If it does, what does your action toward the big dog say about your stance on the use of military action in said aid operations?

Okay, real question: why don't you use the real names of your family members in your 'blog entries? Are you trying to discourage stalkers? Is it simply the natural result of having so many family members to keep track of?

mle said...

If it's between emergent church and Jungian psych, I think I'd go with Miller, too.

Dan, maybe you should take a nap. No literary critcism on the blog, please! ;)

The numbering system started with No. 3 (in real life, not just online). I forget when. And a little more anonymity never hurt anybody. The funny part is the people who used to call us by our real names who now follow the blog numbering system.

I am also heavily influenced by the blogging of another overachieving erstwhile child lawyer at