A retriever of sorts.

Most domestic animals serve very little purpose beyond making humans feel happy and needed. At least this has been the case with both of the awesome dogs I’ve had in my life.

But Woody (current four-legged friend), surprised me last night. Rather than killing the random cat that wandered into our massive, messy backyard, he cornered the animal and then came to my side to let me know something was amiss. A few minutes later, the cat, too frightened to move, was perfectly positioned for quick retrieval by the owner. Turns out, the poor fur ball is an indoor-only creature and made a break for it earlier in the day.

It was a heroic move for a Missouri pound dog, in my opinion. Everyone went home intact and feeling a little better about the world. Of course, because Woody had the self-control to skip the kitty snack, he was rewarded with lots of hippie lamb treats and a generous belly rub.

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On patrol in the wilds of Alameda County.

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Around the bend.

Little kids crack me up. Sometimes I even admire their unruly, uncontrolled behavior. When they’re uncomfortable, they let the world know with a wail. When they don’t want to go somewhere, they drop to the ground. Best of all, when they’re happy they show it.

Adults on the other hand, seem to adopt a tired complacent approach to life as they get older. Strapped by bills, routines and a perpetual cycle of compromise, we generally fall in line and try to act professional. It’s a consequence of growing up and pretending we enjoy putting up with other people’s shit. It’s how we get by.

The craziest part of living a calm, obedient existence is that no matter how careful you are there’s no way to know what’s coming next. Ambitious employees get fired. Good drivers get run off the road. Healthy, cautious people slip and fall on the stairs trying to take out the trash. Life is an unpredictable mess of coincidence and circumstance.

So as a very nutty 2016 draws to a close, I’m pushing for more tenacity in 2017. I’m not suggesting adults act like children, I’m simply suggesting a more honest approach to the universe. Laugh until beer comes out your nose. Eat leftover pork ribs for breakfast. Stand on the back porch in your underwear and play fetch with the dog if you feel like it. Less faking and more fucking. Or whatever you’re into. After all—as long as no one gets hurt—a little misbehaving could be good for you.

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Grab the last cup of coffee. Jealous that the burner on the stove has done its job and gets to take the rest of the day off.

Check my phone for emergency emails. Envious of the charger that just gets to hang out the rest of the afternoon.

I pass the pictures in the hallway. Resentful of the fact that my poor man’s artwork gets to just hang around, day after day.

I see the smoker perched in the backyard. I think of it just sitting there in the sunshine all afternoon, taking in the view and waiting for the next round of pork products and apple wood.

Off to work. To read and write. Where I’ll sit at my desk and worry about being busy until I return to my lazy home, full of my beloved, lazy stuff.

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Risk free.

Up around 5 AM. Confused by 6.

Drawn to drama, but always leading a cheer for optimism.

Slow songs and defeat are a few of my favorite things.

The only way to understand is to try it yourself. The slop and slack.

Tempt fate—invite trouble along for a ride. Give the security detail the night off.

Sacrifice the clean lines to the thrill of crash and burn.

And start all over again the next day.

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The train came to an abrupt stop as we approached the platform. We grabbed our bags and adjusted our coats. Everyone walked like zombies. The smell of rot and urine was apparent as we made our way toward the exit. The whole depressing scene was interrupted by the magical sound of a cello echoing through the cavernous underground structure.

The turnstyle set us free and we saw a busker in the distance. He was dressed well and played with his head down. I noticed an impressive collection of singles and random change in his instrument case and considered making my own contribution but we were running late. Onward.

Halfway up the stairs we heard a furious howl as the music stopped, “motherfuckers, fuck you, that’s the second time today.”

The busker had been robbed. Again. Something tells me he won’t be going back to the 16th street station again.

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