DUMB SMARTS

When I was a little boy, one of the neighbor kid’s older brother, asked me if I liked little baby chickens. I of course said yes and he told me to wait right there and he’d bring it down. We were about 8 years old and in the basement of the neighbors home. A few minutes later he came down with something preciously wrapped in a towel. He asked me if I still wanted the baby chicken and I of course said yes; who wouldn’t? Then he carefully unwrapped the towel and laid it on the floor. The older brother said that he just removed this egg from under a mother hen and it’s just about ready to hatch. All I had to do was sit on it a little longer and the chicken would come out. I carefully hover squatted over the egg, delicately trying to heat it up with just the touch of my warm ass and that’s when that kid’s older brother pushed my shoulders down and I fell right on top of the egg. All I could think about was how I just crushed the baby chicken and everyone else in the room was hysterical laughing, as I ran out of their house and all the way home, crying with egg all over the back of my pants, the yoke was on me.

Then I grew up, gigantically brilliant and in my 20s. In an episode where I was in search of a Valentines present for someone, I stumbled into a store with the big sign out front, “Rare and Precious Gems”, thinking I would surely find something special in that store. Again the antagonist of the story saw me coming. He, the shop owner began to tell me the story of a rare collection of Apache Tears that he had dug out of the ground in the South West. Apparently when the Indians were slaughtered and they cried for their loss, their tears fell into the dirt and mixed with the minerals to form these precious black stones. I was so excited to give the guy a hundred bucks for these little beauties, he even threw in the leather pouch for free. When I presented the gift to this woman, who was more mechanically inclined than most, she didn’t squeal in delight but pointed out the parting lines made from the mold that these little plastic pieces were made in. I thought she was gonna scalp me for sure.

PAGEYesterday, much older and determined to never be duped again, I was in a pet store, doing some compulsive shopping for “Page” the new puppy. My mission was more parental than as pack leader, for I wanted to get her a new bone or toy or some fresh prop of worship. The shop keeper said she had just the thing. She brought me to the back of the store where she had these long bone looking objects in bags. She said that they were deer antlers. They were naturally shed from the innocent heads of gentle deer and were recycled as the ultimate chew toy for dogs. I flashed back to the egg incident and the Indian giving only to return to the present with a bit of skepticism. She said, “no, really. I have one for my dog.” To which she promptly showed hers, gave it to her little poodle who was roaming around the store and I watched as the dog began gnawing on it like an old friend.

When I got home and prepared to give Page her deer antler, I halfway expected her to look at me like I was the ultimate idiot. As if she was gonna say, “you must be the dumbest person any dog has ever had!” But no! She loved the damn thing and has been crunching on it since last night and prefers it over all the other tributes I’ve given her over the past couple weeks.

I suppose we all have stories where we’ve done incredibly dumb things, focused on the benefit or the reward, only to find out there is no free lunch. I’m just glad the fear of being dumb didn’t make me so dumb that I’d turn that antler down. She freak’n luvs this thing!

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