Everybody to his own taste, the old woman said, as she kissed her lap dog.”

My granny used to say that whenever she disagreed with other people’s choices. I recall it often, and prefer it to the rhetoric that we hear daily from pundits, or even at the coffee shop.

I recall it today because Tara would like to be a lap dog and slather us with kisses. She’s been banned, of late, because of her choices, and has experienced more baths in Dawn soap and sprayings with Skunk Off in the last week than all of her prior life. Something is dead out here, and she persists in rolling in it.

Bruce toured the pastures on his ATV and disposed of two carcasses; a red tail hawk and one of the barn cats. Thought we had that solved for a day or two, but no. She now hides at the sight of a spray bottle and her collar is fading from all the scrubbing. You people in town who have pets in a fenced yard don’t know how fortunate you are. Being anywhere near Tara leaves me feeling the same way I do after spending time watching cable news, which is just another way of rolling in stink.

Why animals glory in a carcass is beyond me. Earnest Thompson Seaton wrote a lot of books about dogs, and I read them all, as a youngster. He claimed that dogs hate the smell of our perfumes and lotions every bit as bad as we do their carcass choices, but they put up with our stink in the name of love and devotion. Sorry, but I can’t love anyone that much—it’s bath time again. I do have to say Tara endures the cleansing docilely but with a hangdog look, so to speak.

There’s no mystery about why humans revel in gossip and denigrating their neighbors and leaders. It makes us feel superior to our fellows and enables us not to look at our own foibles and failings. This habit ranges from politics, to religion, and race, to just plain bullying. We categorize people and discuss them as a group. Even if we don’t use mean spirited words, you can hear sarcasm and disrespect in voices. “Those Democrats are up to no good.” “What else can you expect from a Republican?” (Catholic, Conservative, Liberal; take your pick of categories, it’s all the same conversation, often accompanied by eye rolling.)

The stink of this kind of talk permeates the airwaves, the atmosphere in any room where it happens, and rubs off on all who are present, whether or not they participate. I beg us all to refrain; it’s getting hard to go anywhere that doesn’t smell to high heaven. And elections are looming; it’ll likely get worse.

I can banish the dog to the outdoors until her odor starts to dissipate but I enjoy her company too much, and besides, she complains. Then too, she will continue rolling in the stuff until it completely disintegrates, and who knows when that will happen? No; best to confront the issue and insist on improvement. Can we maybe try that with the folks who insist in rolling in it? Say something positive, courteously agree to disagree, and refuse to participate in the discussion, honor all of us as God’s kids. At the very least, remove yourself and go outdoors to blow the stink off.


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