When I was growing up in rural Virginia, we didn’t name our farm animals. You don’t name animals you might eat.
Once I recall we took an un-named cow with us to town in the back of our two ton truck (us four kids in the front, no seatbelts, hanging out of the windows, chewing gum full of sugar). While we went Christmas shopping, my father took said un-named cow to the slaughter house. When we were done Christmas shopping, said un-named cow came home with us, flash frozen and wrapped in cellophane on Styrofoam trays.
We also had a dog, which we did name, in fact, he was named after my mother’s brother who was persnickety. Mother instilled the fear of God into that Godless animal for he would rather have chewed his front right paw off than come in our house. He knew that to enter the human home was certain death. Father, although he loved William, was fully supportive and kept William’s residence in the yard.
Things have changed over the years…
Now, my father has indoor animals. Not cats and dogs but indoor FARM animals, and indoor wild animals. And they’re named. They’re on the couch. On the bed. In the kitchen. There is:
- Dud the rooster (named after a favored brother-in-law)
- Frances the chicken (Dud’s wife, my father’s sister)
- Ruth the chicken (another sister of my dad’s)
He really does love his sisters. I am thinking he just likes saying things like “Frances, get that bug!” or “Ruth, you did NOT doodle in the house!”
There has been multiple wild turkeys and even a fawn. My dad has dog pillows now… for the two canines that live with him. This is the same man who fought with my mother over whether to buy a mattress for the oldest child or to get a new plow! He wanted the plow.
What’s interesting about his transformation is that my dad laughs more, says “I love you” more, and just generally lives more.
Business is changing too…
I remember when it was normal to work really hard and expect a certain reward. Today, at least for a lot of us, it’s different. Jobs are not taken for granted any longer, business relationships are formed or kept based on a new set of criteria, and budgets are examined like a kid’s head for lice.
And expectations have changed. Buyers want product below net because that’s what their client expects. Well, I have to say, most of this, well, it just really stinks. BUT, like the appearance of the stray giggles from my father and stray animals in his home, I do find I notice some good stuff happening too.
Now, people are assigning value based on, well, value, instead of perceived value created by marketing people like me. (Whoops. That slipped out. Sorry. I fear marketing people will become the new…shudder…lawyer.) Suddenly, people are asking harder questions, wanting better answers, and knowing they have got to deliver answers to their clients.
People are beginning to “see”… beginning to say, “Yep, the emperor is slam buck nekkid.” Maybe I’m being annoying and stupidly optimistic, but that can’t be all bad. Something good has GOT to come from awareness, right?
Still, habit and deep-learned lessons are hard to shake. I still loathe the idea of having an indoor animal. I can’t do it. It’s not because I feel that animals are creatures “beneath” me, it’s because they don’t wear underwear. Don’t laugh! If your brother-in-law came over to your home and wanted to sit on your couch naked, would you really want to sit there after him? Or take a nap on it? Ok then.
But really, in retrospect, I’m still working hard, expecting a normal payout, wearing underwear every day, but, like my dad, I’m becoming aware of things, and placing value on stuff now too. Like laughing, in my underwear, on the couch, while watching the squirrels OUTSIDE the window.