Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why we have dog days

Rather than a trait, is courage an act? A verb? If so, I'd wager you don't know when you're doing it (Hey, last week I guess I couraged!), but you sure know when you're not (Shoot, today I'm not couraging).

But some people have a better handle on the courage thing than others. I know, I have brave friends and hide behind them on a regular basis. They sport the coveted hard psychological candy shell but have a sweet and soft center. We are not of the same species.

If I could change anything about myself, it wouldn’t be higher IQ. Prettier smile. Better backhand. It would be a here-I-am-and-what’s-it-to-you attitude towards life. It would be going toe-to-toe with anyone who challenged me. Instead, my preferred method of response is to disappear. Oh, it's not a physical danger that worries me -- worse than that -- I just don't want my feelings hurt.

In fact, physically, I'm close to fearless, and will walk down any dark alley with nothing on my mind but what's for breakfast. But if you call me out on a blog that seemed rude, I'll be up all night posting dog pictures. (Because my old boxer looks just like Grandma Moses and will eventually melt your heart.)

Courage is a strange and elusive animal. I can spot it on a mountain top or ski slope. It comes to me when called, but only when I'm high above the clouds and the sun is shining.


  1. "Why do we have People daze?", said the canine.

    Your actual response mthd is to smile & laugh. And, you'll walk down ANY alley in a daze after breakfast.

    You're OK, KB. Coming from this K9, it's a high salute 2 U. Now, I think I hear Albert barking 4 U!

  2. Courage has never been an issue with me.

    When people see a pair of stain-resistant, pleated khaki Dockers coming their way, they know to back off.

    (Now I must watch "Sullivan's Travels" on TCM.)

  3. I have courage when I'm rock climbing. Or traveling alone.

    But if I need to tell someone they hurt my feelings or really stand up for myself...yeah, I flail. I try to melt into the floor and it normally works. Even in online confrontations (that's a little embarassing to admit).

    Silly brains. That courage thing is right there with the part that hasn't quite figured out how to not care what others think of me.

  4. The last was for K.

    But Amy, me too. Maybe we need those dockers. I'm assuming he means they repel tomatoes.

  5. "There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan."

    And now its time for "The Palm Beach Story." (With, lest we forget, The Weenie King.)

  6. I went through a period of fearlessness that nearly got me killed. Ask me some time how I held off an anesthesiologist and surgeon in the operating room.
    Anyhow, with Mr.V's propensity for getting "involved" in volatile situations I figure we'll be going out in a hail of gunfire. Romantic huh? (btw: the park incident wasn't the first time)

    Yes, some days you wake up braver then others. Best time to channel Sekhmet.

  7. I think I know what you mean. Sometimes I just want to disappear, live in a cave where I don't have to see anyone or have regrets over something I did or did not say or do. If only caves had indoor plumbing.

  8. I'm a wuss and I think at my age there's no turning back. I care too much what people think of me most of the time and I'll apologize even when I know it's not my fault just end a confrontation or smooth things over.

    The Lion and I both need more "cuwage". Do they make Dockers for women K??

  9. Is there a difference, do you think, between courage and bravery?

    I always back off if confrontation looms; yet I dont see it as a failing. I see the need to stand up for oneself as a failing. Generally, I know the other person is "wrong" in some way - and that is their problem. I have the courage of my convictions. People who constantly call others on wrongs tend to have a hollowness inside which I don't have.

    To me bravery is physical; courage is mental and spiritual. Bravery is of the flesh; courage is of the soul.

  10. I know what you mean. I'm not so good at the couraging -- physical or otherwise. But I'm not sure I believe you, you're writing seems very brave to me.

  11. There are times I've got plenty of the "what's it to you" attitude. Makes up for the fact that I probably can't come out with a cohesive sentence of speech at that moment, and oh, that whole athletic looking thing like I could wrestle a Mack truck and maybe win. Maybe it has more to do with how much people have hurt me over the years---and how little I got to stand up for myself as a child. Am finally having my say at times.

    Given a choice, I'd hide behind the camera or computer and never let anyone hurt me ever again because yup, I'm a marshmallow inside---heck, I'm actually probably like the marshmallow goo in the jar designed for rice crispy treats.

    Don't belittle your "fail" as a tough one---we need more people who don't want to go toe to toe--then maybe we'd have less of what happened at the Holocaust Museum in DC yesterday.

  12. Well, I've always heard that fear is the companion of courage. That's a great motivator, then again, so is breakfast. Especially if it involves biscuits and grits to offset the eggs and sausage. My dog and cats are always fearless when we sit down to that meal.

  13. Trish,
    I had to come back and say that I'm really touched by your comment. I could have written something like that but fortunately you did it first and said it better.

  14. I'm askin', pa.

    Julie, I know you like to be precise. There is probably a distinction between the two, altho I use them interchangeably. Still, I don't think it's body vs spirit. But let me ponder that. I'm thinking courage might be a state of mind, a philosophical decision, and bravery is the outcome? So maybe I am agreeing after all.

    Trish -- Fluffernutter! Yeah, I kind of hated the powerlessness of childhood.

    PJ, I have a feeling you've got those stain-resistant dockers too.

  15. I like Julie. I think her perception of courage follows mine. I believe courage is a quiet, inner conscience that we might not even know exists within us. It reveals itself when needed, allows its tasks to be performed to the best of one’s self and then goes away. It is something perceived by someone else, rather than the person subject of that state of being. Bravery is, more often than not, a conscience action of someone who sees danger, but is not afraid to accept a challenge. It can be mano a mano and the best mano wins. When someone complements another for an act of courage, they often know the difference between bravery and courage. With courage, when it exists, I believe the person has an inner peace, and comfort that enables him or her to continue the task until it is done. Then, they look back, and perhaps see what has been done. I believe the pilot and crew of 1549 who landed in the Hudson had courage, though they might not have known they were exercising it at the time.

  16. So, Chris, I guess you're saying, courage is like Norton Anti Virus?

  17. Courage is what you need when you deign to take on The Hiker. You recognize the need to be in it for the long haul. This is not for the faint of heart. If it is a battle of words, she has strength, tenacity, and the will as well as desire, to outlive you. Norton Anti Virus, indeed! I was waxing eloquently and on a run! Brave of Heart, I am. However, courage has the option to give way when it considers the return on investment.

  18. San Diego FarmgirlJune 11, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    I didn't know where my 'phukem' courage came from until I met Yakpate for the first time. It's definitely genetic. Woo hoo!

    I'll walk down that dark alley, and I won't fear the mugger ... BUT, I do fear that I'll clumsily stumble in the dark, trip and break my ankle. I'm too chicken to ride a ding dang bike.

  19. I think it is nearly impossible for me to not stand up for myself even when my soft center quivers like a potluck room temperature flan.

    It's a messy business, life.

  20. I feel like homemade doots today but I'm going go walk the beach tonight anyway. No Dockers.
    If you want a profile in courage watch Frontline's "Tank Man", about the man who stood up to the tank in Tiananman Square. I watched it yesterday morning.

  21. I prefer Dutch courage.

  22. Quote of the Day*:

    But if you call me out on a blog that seemed rude, I'll be up all night posting dog pictures.

    *okay, its yesterday, but still quite beguiling.

  23. Once again, tryiing to get to the heart of this by looking at the concrete examples of the Hudson and Tienamen.

    To my mind the crew of the Hudson plane exercised bravery. They exercised self-control and they followed the patterns of behaviour expected under those circumstances. And they did a jolly good job.

    To my mind the boy with standing in front of the tank in Tienamen Square in 1989 exercised courage. He was following the dictat of his inner world that said this had to be stood up to. He wasn't forced to take this pathway. He choose to take this pathway. There was no rule book for him to follow. He followed what his inner being told him.

    I like the concept, though, of courage being the philosophical state of mind and bravery being the outcome. Maybe the Chinese lad is an example of this.

    I dont think the events in DC yesterday had anything to do with lack of courage, or standing up for oneself. They had more to do with insularity and weakness of mind.

  24. I was going to call you the Weenie K, but then I'd have to put up those dog pictures again.

    All right, Julie, we'll meet in the middle. Hereafter (or with or forth) I'll speak of someone having courage, being brave. I appreciate precision (in language only).

  25. I think your original post had something about being courageous when it came to standing up for other people. I was sorry you took that out.

    I'm like that too. Oh, you don't want to tangle with me in those situations because I will devour you in defense of a friend.

    But, if someone confronts me, I always feel I have to be a good listener and consider what they are saying. And then I'm filled with regret for not speaking out.

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  27. I love your extended metaphors. They are precisely right.