On a bad day, confronted by a supercilious, condescending, misguided “Do-Gooder,” who took his impression and assumption for fact and accused a dog walker of undue anger in relating to his dog, the dog walker was, in fact, using his voice to let the dog know his displeasure. The dog walker was also tugging on the leash attached to a harness in the front of the dog at the shoulders thus rendering the tug harmless to the dog and the dog temporarily halted in her tracks. It was all good — tone of voice, no physical hitting and a harmless but authoritative tug. All good, that is, except for the “Do Gooder.”
The man, stopping his vehicle, then decided to psychoanalyze the dog walker in the parking lot of a local grocery store. The dog walker who had been frustrated by the behavior of the dog and the dog’s misguided desire to run out into traffic, really did become angry when erroneously called out by the pompous passerby, which, of course, played right into the hands of the uppity driver of the late-model Range Rover with, making the encounter that much more irritating, a peace sign inscribed on the plastic frame around the customized license plate which spelled out “PEACE.”
The driver, anything but a peacemaker, obviously enjoyed his “Gotcha” encounter. He seemed thoroughly to enjoy watching the dog walker’s anger rise. After a few confrontational words, the dog walker, anger continuing to grow, said, “I’m out of here,” turned on his heels and walked away with the dog in tow. The dog walker could have taken the time to explain exactly what was transpiring with the dog, but he didn’t think he needed to in light of the misguided interrogation and just wanted to get on his way. It probably wouldn’t have done much good anyway. The dog walker could have flashed a sarcastic “peace” signor, perhaps, even the single finger universal sign of peace, but fortunately, he didn’t.
The dog walker carried that experience with him for a day and then read vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit in a meditation. Gleaned perhaps from the Oracle of Delphi, Carl Jung had etched it above his door and followed it with a quote from the Psalms. The writer of the meditation paraphrased it as “…in the long run, whether you call on [God] or don’t call on [God], God will be present with you.” Jung had added, “Awe of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom,” Psalms 11.10.
The dog walker wished in the subjunctive tone, otherwise known as hindsight, that if he were able to relive the situation, he would have called upon the presence of God as something other than the swear word he had used.
He thought to himself, Ah, the subjunctive, wishful thinking, golf’s “mulligan.” If we thought more in the little used subjunctive, the “if it were” instead of the finality of “it was,” then the next time that subjunctive might just become the objective indicative or the non-reactionary imperative or, at the very least, a legitimate interrogative, as in, “What’s happening here?” and I might have seen the face of Jesus in the Range Rover guy in spite of his smartass, “holier than thou,” accusitive attitude. And that would have been wise and beneficial for me and the rambunctious Chocolate Lab if not for the guy. Or perhaps I just should have ignored the guy and walked away remembering the imperative, “Avoid a fool in his folly.”
Now, about that irritating proclamation in capital letters on the license plate on a Range Rover of all things…. Wouldn’t it (he thought in the interrogative) be better suited to an old, beat up Volkswagen camper?