"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Friday, April 20, 2012


It is very hard to teach an old goat new tricks.  Not only that, but old goats don't usually like new tricks in the first place.  And yet the world seems single-minded in its determination to foist change on us no matter whether we like it or not - force being the operative word here.  I am a strong subscriber to the theory that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Why change a good thing?  Just because somebody needs something new to do?  Just because some crank in the gears complained about some problem that was only relevant to them?  Or maybe it is because the world is money driven, thereby creating a false assumption that 'change' equals keeping ahead of the competition.  Proponents of change will tell you this is 'progress', but somehow those changes, more often than not, result in increased complications rather than greater ease.  Is that progress? Oh, what a tangled web we weave ...

So what's a goat to do?  Well, I've come up with a few solutions.  Maybe they aren't solutions, per se, but they may manage to make you at least feel better.

Rule No. 1 - Ignore the change.  This works pretty well.  For example, suppose you are merrily chomping away out in the pasture and some Alpine decides that your place looks like a much better place to eat than the one she is currently occupying.  She has decided that a change is in order.  One you aren't going to like.  Ignore her.  Turn the other cheek, so to speak, even if it is one of the rear ones.  As a matter of fact, one of the rear ones is likely the better choice.  Whatever you do, don't make eye contact.  She may lose interest because she can't see the intimidation in your eyes. On the other hand, ignoring doesn't always work because most of the time the ignoree is bigger than you and may choose brute force as an alternative.  Still,  unless the ignoree is an ignoramus, ignoring is still the best method to try first.  Plus, there is always this.  No one likes to be forced into anything.  Force often results in anger, which may, in turn, result in an additional charge of adrenalin, which may, in turn, grant you some of that super-strength you read about where mothers lift cars off their kids and that kind of thing.  Likely you could get a cape after that, the mere sight of which would remind them to leave you the hay alone.  At any rate, no matter what the change, always try ignoring first.

Rule No. 2 - Grin and bear it.  Although this is certainly an alternative when faced with change, I don't really recommend it.  First of all, where is your chutzpah?  Are you going to take this lying down?  Not me.  You see, goats really don't have a lot of control in their lives.  I mean we have to rely on someone to give out the Peanuts when they feel like it.  We are fenced in, in more ways than one. So, naturally, if you don't have a lot of control in your own life, change can really make you angry because it is yet another example of things somebody else decided for you.  Hey, I want to decide!  So if you take the tack of just grinning and bearing it, you are just perpetuating the giving-up-control scenario.

On the other hand, if, instead of grinning and bearing it, you say 'No!  I'm NOT going to do this!', once in awhile, those around you will grumble for awhile, but eventually they get used to the new and improved you.  For example, let us go back to that scene in the pasture with the pushy Alpine.  First you ignore her, but that doesn't seem to work, so she comes at you.  The thing to do is to whirl around and shout 'NO!' (or BAAAAAAAH! works too) at the top of your lungs.  That stupid Alpine will likely be so shocked you dared to defy her, she will probably stop dead in her tracks while her feeble mind tries to process what just happened here.  Then she'll turn and start grumbling under her breath to anyone that will listen about how you've never done this before, and what is wrong with you already?, and how dare you think of questioning her!  The point is, it will result in your not having to accept the intended change.  Yes, you could have just accepted it and gone on, but that would just result in more work for you and why should you always be the one who has to accommodate someone else.  This is why I don't highly recommend Rule No. 2.

Rule No. 3 - Butt it!  You may remember that this was the primary rule for when life gets in the way.  What can I say?  It's an all-purpose kind of rule.  It works.  You could apply this one to that pushy Alpine above, or you could apply it in a situation with any not-so-bright Nubian that happens to have sheer bulk on her side and can easily squash you if you don't get out of the way.  Or what about that short little Nigerian who tries to convince you he is smarter than you and therefore KNOWS that the change is good for you?  Meet them head on, I say!  You have rights!    Even if your reason is that you simply do not like change, it is your right to feel that way.  No one else has the right to tell you what you should or shouldn't feel - what you DO or DO NOT feel!  And if it doesn't work to meet them head to head, well, then slam them in the butt when they aren't looking!  (That's what that little smarter-than-thou Nigerian does.)

Okay, well, sometimes maybe it just isn't worth all the effort.  But on the other hand, how much effort are you expending having to make all those prescribed changes?  Why can't there ever be a status quo?  I don't want to stagnate, but I can certainly think of lots more fun ways to spend my precious time than in making unnecessary, unwarranted and unacceptable changes.  What about you?

"All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward." - Ellen Glasgow

Thursday, April 5, 2012

When Life Gets In The Way

We all know what it's like.  You have this list all made out in your head of all the things you want to do today.  Maybe you even have it written out on paper.  Yet somehow, when it comes right down to it, how many times do you actually accomplish what is on that list?  You reach the end of the day, you look at that list and you say to yourself, "I didn't do A, B or even C, for Goat's sake!  Why the hay not? "  Well, my friends, the answer is that life got in the way.  I think it is actually written down as a rule some place.  'If anyone has a certain amount of things they wish to accomplish in a day, only one is allowed, and that can NOT be something said doer actually wanted to do.'   The rule looks something like that.  In fact, if you really want to know, it's in the same book with 'bread slices are required to always fall butter side down', 'emergencies can only happen after hours, on weekends or on holidays', and 'all disasters, major or minor, must always occur in threes.'

So what is one to do?  All those unforeseen things that pop up and demand our attention, right NOW.  The worries that constantly taunt and tug at our thoughts.  Even the people that somehow seem to feel their priorities are so much more important.  Oy.  It's a wonder anyone manages to get anything done at all, let alone anything they might care to do for fun.  It is truly a dilemma.

Until now.  Enter Marigold, goat philosopher, here to show you a better way.  Goats know how to get things done, and, let me tell you, anything standing in the way of that simply doesn't stand a chance.  There are reasons for this, and I am about to share those secrets with you.  (Gee, this is beginning to sound like an infomercial.)

Rule No. 1 - The  first rule is simple.  Anyone or anything that tries to get in the way of what you are trying to accomplish, butt it.  I can not begin to tell you how effective this is.  Of course, an element of surprise is useful.  But even if they happen to see it coming, if you are fast enough, they can seldom get out of the way in time.  Butt them out of the way and get on to whatever it was you were trying to do.  Works every time.  Now that I think of it, this may cause one to experience a modicum of retaliatory behavior, but this will usually result in only minor setbacks.  No worries.

Rule No. 2 - And speaking of worries, don't do it.  Worry that is.  Worry will cause one to become mired at point A in the day and make it impossible to go any further.  In fact, you might not even make it to point A.  Someone once said that worrying is like rocking in a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere.  Now how true is that?  Remember that worrying is NOT one of the major food groups, so don't buy into it or it will consume you.  Better to buy Peanuts.  They ARE one of the major food groups, and they never slow you down or even get in your way.  Peanuts are Zen.  Worry is not.

Rule No. 3 - Remember that you are always in exactly the place you are supposed to be.  Trust me, I've had to knock this one into the Goatmother's head a few times.  If you remember this rule, you will always be in the present.  The present is the only place you can actually get anything done.  You won't be stuck back in the past someplace thinking about what you should have done, and you won't be off some place in the nebulous future dreaming about what could happen or what you could do if all these friggin' other things didn't keep getting in your way.  I've tried with the Goatmother.  I stand right in front of the door so she has to stop.  And I don't move.  That's because I'm trying to get her to stay in the present.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes she just ends up telling me what she's going to do to me in the future if I don't get out of the way.  Some people are just hard-headed.  But take my advice and try it.  Besides, it helps a whole lot with Rule No. 2.

Rule No. 4 - Don't think negative thoughts.  Thoughts have power.  They grow and take on a life of their own.  I mean look at me.  I have so many profound thoughts they have become like little mini-Marigolds.  Those thoughts have manifested themselves - insinuated themselves into peoples' lives.  If that isn't power, I don't know what is.  So if all you think are negative thoughts, then negativity is what gets manifested in your life.  And if you have negativity manifesting in your life, do you think you are actually going to accomplish anything positive?  Don't think so, Merle.  Nope.  If you want positive, then you have to think positive.  Send all those good thoughts out into the Universe and they will alight like little wind-blown Dandelion seeds.  Pretty soon positivity will be springing up all over the place (just like all  those happy little yellow faces all over your lawn).

Rule No. 5 - Always keep your imagination in check.  It is too little to be out on its own.  This is very important.  Just like properly controlled kids, your imagination can be a good thing.  It can bring you pleasure, help you dream your dreams, and even assist you in getting through your day because you imagined how it was going to be.  Haven't you ever heard that saying about if you can imagine it, you can do it?  That's true, but let that little sucker out on its own and look out!  There's no telling where it's going to end up.  So if you are prone to that futuristic mode of thinking I mentioned in Rule No. 3, your imagination is going to take the bit in its mouth and run with it.  A runaway imagination is a huge hindrance because everyone knows that any scenario it is likely to come up with is bound to be at least 90% worse than the actual event could ever possibly be.  If you think life was getting in your way before, just let your imagination out on its own and see what happens.  I can guarantee you won't be pleased.  I mean suppose I missed the rapturous taste of the Peanut I was eating because I allowed my imagination to run off and think about all those other Peanuts.  No, my friends.  One Peanut at a time.  That's the ticket!

So then, if life has been getting in the way of the things you need to do, and more importantly those things you want to do, I hope you can find some Peanut... er... pearls of wisdom in the secrets I have revealed to you here.  If you find some of them useful, that is wonderful.  And if you don't , well, then remember that life doesn't always go as planned. Divine Providence can only do so much.  After all, it has been written that the world was created in seven days, and on the eighth day God said, 'Okay, Murphy.  You're in charge.'  Truer words  have probably never been uttered.  In fact, I kind of wonder if it wasn't a goat that said them in the first place.