Road Rules

If we didn’t learn them in high school Driver Ed class – typically, taught by such credentialed experts as our gym teachers – we figured them out by experience.

When the ball rolls into the street, soon thereafter the kid follows.

Isaac Newton first described this physical law back in the 17th century. Along with other stuff about actions and reactions, all part of a much longer and more complicated discussion of things concerning theater and method acting.

And, because Newton’s is a law and not a rule, it was true then, is true today and will be true tomorrow.

Adult humans are gifted with predictive ability. Albeit, rarely for much that’s really useful, such as predicting tomorrow’s winning lottery number. But gifted, nonetheless.

Most kids eventually grow up and become adults. Even when it takes 30 years. Sometimes 40. But, eventually, it happens. Once achieved, predictive acuity for the ball-rolling-into-street phenomenon is a valuable knowledge set. Especially for the kid.

On the other hand, a 10-year old poodle I’m familiar with can tell time. Knowledge he’s had since he was one, maybe younger.

Promptly at 5 p.m. the whining (“squeaking,” in his case) begins. It doesn’t end until the two-legger gets up off his fat behind and fills the poodle’s bowl.

And don’t try fooling the poodle with any of that phony-baloney, made-up Daylight Saving Time business, either. Five o’clock is five o’clock. Period.

The fact that each meal is exactly the same as the previous one evokes no complaint. It’s not even worth mentioning, in fact. (And the only one who does so note it is the one who does not eat it.)

Not all critters are so smart, of course.

Just the other day, a fox peered from the safety of the edge of the forest across a heavily traveled street and toward my driveway. Seeing him (I really don’t know his sex, I’m just being awful), as I began backing my car into the garage, I flashed my lights: bright, dim, bright, dim.

Perfectly unhelpful. Didn’t register a bit with the fox. I doubt the flashing lights prompted more than idle curiosity on his part. One imagines the fox thinking: “Just what the hell is that bozo doing, anyway?”

As it happened, the fox trotted off, back into the forest, safe. At least for another few minutes.

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