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Animals are stylized characters in a kind of old saga -- stylized because even the most acute of them have little leeway as they play out their parts.
Animals used to provide a lowlife way to kill and get away with it, as they do still, but, more intriguingly, for some people they are an aperture through which wounds drain. The scapegoat of olden times, driven off for the bystanders sins, has become a tender thing, a running injury. There, running away is me: hurt it and you are hurting me.
City people try to buy time as a rule, when they can, whereas country people are prepared to kill time, although both try to cherish in their mind's eye the notion of a better life ahead.
Many divorces are not really the result of irreparable injury but involve, instead, a desire on the part of the man or woman to shatter the setup, start out from scratch alone, and make life work for them all over again. They want the risk of disaster, want to touch bottom, see where bottom is, and, coming up, to breathe the air with relief and relish again.
Men greet each other with a sock on the arm, women with a hug, and the hug wears better in the long run.
The question of whether it's God's green earth is not at center stage, except in the sense that if so, one is reminded with some regularity that He may be dying.
There often seems to be a playfulness to wise people, as if either their equanimity has as its source this playfulness or the playfulness flows from the equanimity; and they can persuade other people who are in a state of agitation to calm down and manage a smile.
To relive the relationship between owner and slave we can consider how we treat our cars and dogs -- a dog exercising a somewhat similar leverage on our mercies and an automobile being comparable in value to a slave in those days.
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