Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life
It was the bigness of ourselves that gave the stories their weight, the importance of ourselves to ourselves and to each other that made the morals important. The universe didn't have to be in jeopardy to keep our interest because there was enough universe in each of us to make any story interesting.
There was time to smile and laugh and tragedy didn't always mean that life could only end in death. It was a more complicated time because we were a more social race then. We were smarter and had to be better educated in order to survive and thrive in a world were madness only burbled over a distant horizon, instead of at our doorstep.
One such movie I can always quote is "Soldier In The Rain". It doesn't follow all of my guidelines but it's still pretty indicative. It starts out a light hearted military comedy but then, for a period grows dark. The dramatic impetus is the death of Steve McQueens dog, Donald.
We never see Donald in the movie, except for a small snapshot, but he is an overriding presence in the story, a thing that is real but also encapsulates all the hopes and dreams of a man, because that is simply what dog's do.
Loaded with grief Mcqueen retreats to his local bar to have a beer because that is what men do to swallow their grief. There, a few bar flies begin chatting him up trying to hustle some free drinks. McQueen talks about Donald and the bar flies give unconvincing support. McQueen talks in sad rapture about Donald and then orders a round for the barflies, He stands up and smiles then says, "Mister, you never had you no dog."
It's a scene from a moire that stayed with me since I was 8. A good scene that made a kid think about the awesomeness of a dog's love and the depth and capacity of a man's ability to love.
And today it reaffirms how much I love my little puppy.
With the Republican party leading the charge to try and tell us how we have to live instead of just giving us rules to co-exist by with each of us free to choose how to live I remain eternally grateful for dogs and the innocence of amateur sports.
My puppy was eight years old on Tuesday. I look at her and I still see the skunky little puppy who demanded obedience and treats.
First time we met she bit me. Drew blood. She bit me and glared at me defiantly, from then on we were best friends. Shortly thereafter she got rejected by her mother and she ran to me for protection and an explanation.
When we were separated because of my heart attack and my eternal grief with governments we met again after six months. Six months where we were never permitted to say goodbye. She looked at me with terror and she bit me. When she was convinced I was not a zombie she leaned against me for pets.
A dog looks at you without prejudice. I love my wife but when she looks at me I know that she sees me through her lifetime of pain, hurts and joys. It's the only way we can look at anyone. We're only human. But dogs can look at you with nothing but love.
For eight years I've been blessed with a puppy who did anything she could to please me. She made me laugh. She commiserated when I was sad. She showed me that I could be more than I had any right to be.