LOLA GOT’S LUTONG BAHAY IN AMERICA: The Cone of Shame

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HENDERSON, Nevada (MindaNews/28 October) — A month ago, our baby puppy was neutered. This is a requirement here in America. When he came home from the vet, his head hung low, his eyes looked liked he was saying, “You’ll never believe what kind of day I just had.” And, without stopping to greet us with so much as a paw on the knee, he purposely walked quickly to the bedroom, jumped on the bed and with a great, big sigh of what seemed like relief, closed his eyes to take a snooze. The anesthesia was still in the system, we guessed.

With this most momentous event in the puppy’s life, he had to wear a cone around his head, to prevent him from being able to lick his crotchety wounds. We tried to capture the look he gave us when we put that cone around his neck. Truly heartbreaking, sad and made us think that he must know what just happened to him.

Mr. Frazier says that this thing he had around his neck was called The Cone of Shame.

It made us think of who was supposed to be ashamed, in actual fact. The reason being that, Maru, our baby puppy, did not choose to have himself neutered. It was his humans that decided he had to be.

We always had the notion that, to be ashamed was the result of some bad choices we made. That, if we had made better decisions, the sense of shame would hardly be an outcome. In short, we make our own bed.

The realization of having made our own bed, though, does not always come. For many, we believe, it kind of hovers like a black cumuli above their heads. Getting heavy like a burgeoning storm cloud, forcing to zap the uninspiring head with a lighting bolt to jolt it to its senses.

The world around us seems to need that zap of thunder and lightning. To jolt it out of its chaos and formless politics. Here, or there, the changes have not been what was hoped for. Instead, a sense of fear and froth is encouraged out in the open, to thrive in the bliss of its ignorance, of consequences farther than itself.

The root of our own self-centered awareness – the thought that we have better faculties than others. We like to think that our experiences are worth more than others. What we went through is more life-changing than some, or that we know better than those we, however unintentionally, implicitly judge. Our lives being less superfluous than those around us.

We really cannot totally rid ourselves of our own biases. So embedded in our psyches, like a cancer, spreading its vileness even after we think the operation was a success. Exceptions, though they happen far less than we always hope for, do come forth once in a while.

These are the ones we must continue to enshrine and lay up to our children as something to emulate, to look up to as characters of inspiration. Understanding our own weaknesses; that we are not better than anyone else; that we are indeed humans, and as such so prone to errors and foibles, will, hopefully, spur our children to a better view of how things should be. Not just follow the crowd. Or, let the crowd dictate our paths. And later, point a finger at something, or someone, when things do not go as it was thought it should have gone. Because, even ‘going with the crowd’ is a choice. Because, in the end, it all falls back to us.

Thankfully, the baby puppy (Maru) did not need to wear that Cone of Shame for more than a day. He kind of knew, we thought, that if he did go down there and try to appease the shadow of his nether regions, that, he would have to suffer the inconvenience of the dreaded cone. He learned enough not to make the same mistake.

Which we, it must be confessed, has not really learned enough of yet. Even at this age. And, continues to hope, that even if we find our fading memories slowly tumbling away from us, we will continue to have the strength to at least remember to try to go on learning, even if it’s only to get off having to wear our own private Cone of Shame.

And, as Mr. Frazier has said to me so many times, when we had to ask the question why, “Things are what they are, Miss Margot. We do what we have to do.” (Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Margot Marfori is an author and visual artist from Davao City. She is currently based in Henderson, Nevada.)

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