Dogs and the Joy of Anger

We got a German Sheppard puppy a couple of months ago. He is approaching six months now, almost full size. He has an established hierarchy of people around him.
  1. I am number one because when he was little I would play with him and pet him and talk to him whereas everyone else would just play with him and tease him. He follows me everywhere, and if I stop, he lies down nearby to wait patiently for me to move on. He’s a very excellent shadow.
  1. My wife is number two because she feeds him and takes him on rides in the motorcycle cab, mainly to visit the veterinarian. He seems not to connect her with the shot in the butt he gets there.
  1. Our kid is number three because he must be put up with. The dog seems to understand that, even though the 3 1/2 year old mainly whacks and grabs at him.
  1. The maid is number four, although the dog couldn’t care less about her. He just doesn’t bark at her.
Everyone else is a potential threat and the dog defends us against them. Never mind that some of them live on our property in a different house (my wife’s mother, younger half-brothers and half-sister).
Not only does the dog have a list. It has well-defined territorial rules for those who approach.
  1. If you are within  50 feet of me, my wife, or kid, you will be warned away with barking. Unless you are carrying something, then the barking starts at about 100 feet. The dog holds his ground.
  1. If you get within 25 feet, the dog will close the gap about one-third, and the barking will intensify. Unless you are holding something, then that happens at 50 feet.
  1. If you get within 10 feet, the dog will be directly in front of you, barking loud and furiously. You have been advised and are ignoring his advice . . .  And if you are holding something you’ll never get that close.
  1. If you try to get any closer, you put your arms, legs, or ass at risk of laceration. Or face, if you are short enough.
It’s interesting. The dog ENJOYS defending us. He ENJOYS getting worked up, getting angry, showing his fangs. He is completely happy once the threat has gone away (inside the house or off the property). He has done his job, and he knows it. He trots gaily over for his strokes.
That got me to reflecting on how, sometimes, I enjoy getting into arguments. Enjoy getting angry, in a wicked kind of way. Like the days before I got tossed from Get Real Post, I actually got some kind of perverse joy at getting under Ilda’s skin so easily, enjoyed being angry at the thugs and slapping back, and enjoyed getting benigno so riled that he tossed me. And even today I ENJOY angrily but accurately characterizing him as a blowhard hypocrite of low intellectual integrity. That is NOT an ad hominem insult. It is a fact.
I must also enjoy getting into little arguments with my wife because we do it often enough. And I know I enjoy getting angry at stupid drivers on the road because I laugh when I give them the bird (from behind dark tinted windows because I don’t carry a gun and they maybe do . . .)
I think many people get joy from messing with other people. That’s why politics in the U.S. has turned so nasty, and why Americans have become angrily polarized. People ENJOY hating what other people stand for.
It is why sensationalist media thrive. People ENJOY watching other people’s lives deteriorate, like Rupert Murdoch’s or Brittney Spears’ or John Edward’s or Ex-Chief Justice Corona’s. They love being spiteful toward people whose lives are collapsing. It’s why people gossip like crazy, pointing out the flaws in other people’s living. They LOVE stirring up trouble and putting others down, often angrily.
It is the Jerry Springer syndrome. The stupider and more hurtful you can get people to be, the higher your ratings go.
The trouble is, the enjoyment attached to anger is a lot like the anger itself. It is emotional, meaning apart from rational.
So nations engage in self-destructive wars, with the joy evidenced in patriotic hurrahs. And belligerent people beat the shit out of each other, incurring great pain in the process, whilst pinning a certain pleasant macho medal to their egos.
Ahh, the pleasures of hating.
Alas, in any serious conflict, there are usually two losers and no winners.
Now I don’t have any particular place to go with this blast of personal enlightenment. Perhaps it is just to exclaim the obscure notion that hate generally comes with joy attached.
As we go on a drive for governmental transparency, perhaps we also ought to go on a drive for personal transparency.
There is probably a benefit somewhere down the line of knowing that we enjoy hating.
Like, maybe we can decide to find our joy in some other way.
Or we can accept that we are an angry species because it is so much fun. And stop expecting harmony. Then we can just be just like U.S. Democrats and Republicans and perfect our ability to be nasty.
I’m personally doing a little of both.
18 Responses to “Dogs and the Joy of Anger”
  1. brianitus says:

    Hey, Joe.You're starting to sound like Darth Sidious. Give in to hate. Give in to the dark side of the force.Kiddin'. Just bein' a Star Wars nerd for a few minutes.On the serious side of things, hate the right things worth hating.

  2. "Darth America", nice ring to it. Way before you were born, there was a little movement in San Francisco by those generally young people opposed to the war in Viet Nam. It involved love in the extreme, active switching of partners, kids outside of marriage. And pot and strange clothes and groups forming communes in the middle of the city or isolated in the mountains. You'd be amazed at how the elders hated these beatniks, these irresponsible hippies floating about in a drift of hallucinatory good will. Blasting established values all to hell.Then a few years later, the hippies were running corporations and scowling at their kids who were rapping out.Hate is a river, a lot like love. Flows strong then ebbs. Invariably it gets left behind.Time to brew a cup of that fine Filipino coffee I stocked up on for typhoon season . . .Peace Bro!

  3. andrew lim says:

    Hilarious, Joe. I thought for a while there that you have become similar to Get Real Post, hating ad nauseum with no alternatives presented.For me, hating is a valid activity to engage in, but it should lead to something positive or constructive. In short, it should lead to specific courses of action.But if all you do is hate, and there's no clear direction on where to go, like your friends at Get Real Post, then it's useless.

  4. Anonymous says:

    From: Island jim-e (aka: the cricket)From my rocking chair: 1. I recommend that everyone should have and learn how to keeppets, especially dogs! When I was knee-high I can recall the first dog I was privledged to know! I have learned much fromwhat they tell you if you are willing to just take a time-out to listen to them! Most of all, I can still recall someof my "heavy petting" daze!2. Anger if made productive and constructive is good! Mostpsycology books, experts tell us that we should vent as longas it stays creative! I have no problem with my two leg brothers and sisters in venting as long as it does not becomeviolent. Bottom line is that I qualify by degree–the useof violence should never, NEVER be necessary if, and…unless..IF the education,research, communication and third party intervention has been exhausted. 3. As we are but 3 degrees in gene differance between thegreat apes and the human specie we need to take a page fromDarwin….adapt or die! The trick is like a tight ropewalker (mind over matter) to become part of the solution toassist in position improvement for our families, neighbors,community, nation.4. As regards our island, I would pray that enough good,educated people get "MAD" enough to move the populationinto a change-position to get on the "scoreboard"! Todo whatever it takes to improve, grow, and survive!I hope I see more infastructure improvement sooner than later (and before I drop dead)!Happeeee daze! from the cricket…!(Just catching up…been off-island since last friday–wish there were more we could do to make a contributionto seeing more urban renewal and development).

  5. Ah, Andrew, don't mind my occasional ravings or rantings if they don't seem to fit the real picture. Sometimes I look at things through one of those cardboard tubes they wrap toilet tissue around, as do many of us outsiders. It makes for an article, as I pursue a goal of cranking out wisdom and its opposite once a day. Eventually I put the tube down and see what's really there.

  6. Welcome back to your patch of land here in the big blue sea dotted with lots of bags of plastic and not enough turtles. You sure its as wide as 3 degrees?

  7. chohalili says:

    Thank goodness there is blog! or where will be your termites!

  8. Ah, those termites, such troublemakers, them and facts and other lies. Did you know the total mass of all the termites in the world exceeds the total mass of all the cattle in the world? Now that's A FACT.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Joe,Such a lovely dog story."Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools." Albert Einstein This is a compliment. I know you understand both sides of the coin.Its Jack

  10. Nice quote. Dogs are good people.

  11. brianitus says:

    Oh, I have an uncle who was a leftover from that era. He thought he was superman a number of times. He's now a pastor. People get old and mellow down or they can get angrier. 🙂

  12. chohalili says:

    Hi!:) I wonder whos house-broken the husband or the dog, jok ahihihihi

  13. So true! Glad your uncle found his way through the fog . . .

  14. The dog seems to get better care, some days . . .

  15. chohalili says:

    Hi Mr. Joe,I like to compare the termites as the "agiw" or alikabok of your mind. I find your blog interesting though thanks.Cho

  16. chohalili says:

    I love dogs…I always post them on facebook..titled "Dog Day Afternoon"

  17. Anonymous says:

    The cricket speaks: Yep! According to a science channel documentary and the next in line is supposed to be the octopus….(but other tool utilization is also exhibited further down the ladder, exhibitsgenerally revolve around food or escape needs….)!What a wonderful world we live in!

  18. Wonderful, indeed. And you are a veritable font of refreshing and uplifting knowledge . . . we could use some of those sucker things on our arms . . .

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