The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.


Posted July 11, 2014

 

Communication

A Guest Article

By Maggie

 

Just like Lucy, I will start out by introducing myself.  My name is Maggie and I am, as Uncle-B would affectionately refer to me, the half-breed of the bunch.  While I definitely look, act and think like a BC, I have the build and short hair of my BH (Blue Heeler) heritage.  Dad says I am an ’05 model (I have no idea what that means, maybe Dad thinks I’m a car since old cars is what he mostly thinks of)…anyway that makes me pretty wise due to my age.  With this level of wisdom, I can’t quite figure out this communication thing.

 

I asked Mommy to look up “communication” on Wikipedia (since she always has the laptop and Dad hasn’t seen it since they bought it), and she said she was too busy looking at light fixtures and to ask Dad.  Well, after about 2 weeks, Dad finally found the laptop while Mommy was gone and looked it up.  I would have done it myself if not for this danged opposable thumbs thing I got going on….  Anyway, what he told me makes me wonder even more about how I can communicate so CLEARLY and the rest of you folks (including Dad, Mommy and Uncle-B) have so much difficulty with it.

 

According to Dad, Communication[i] requires a sender, a message, a medium and a recipient, although the receiver does not have to be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver understands the sender's message.

 

So really, how hard can this be.  I mean, I communicate very well with Dad when I need something.  I need to go pee, I sit at his feet and stare at him until he lets me out; I’m hungry, I sit at my bowl and give him my best I’m starving look.  Oh, and I will take that squeaky thing he calls a bone and put it in my bowl to let him know even though Uncle-B thinks I’m overweight.  Dad even put me on a diet because he got the complex; I like being fat and sassy!  Anyway, I have a message, Dad sees me communicate that message and he reacts….boy do I have him trained….Mommy, not so much (she operates on her own schedule unless it’s that dang cat that wants something).  Mommy is really challenged on the communication thing.  She tells me she’s saying Kitty, but all I hear is “Pretty” and I come running every time. 

 

But back to topic.  On this communication thing, I send Dad the message through my visual cues and he reacts.  Even if he’s not in the feed room when I get ready to eat, I know he’ll be there within a few minutes because he has to go right by there to get to the beer fridge (See, I’m smarter than you think…)  And don’t get me started on “cookies” and those yummy heartworm pills.  I know exactly where they keep them and I can stare at that cabinet door for hours.  Of course, that door doesn’t automatically open like Dad responds to me staring, but remember, it’s an inanimate object (that means it ain’t alive and breathing for you verbally challenged folks).

 

Now I realize Dad and Mommy are a little stressed with trying to build a house, but I can’t help but think that some of that stress is because of communication.  I hear them say that building a house is one of the hardest things that a couple will do together, but I’m convinced that if they worked on the communication part, it would be a heck of a lot easier.

 

For example, Mommy has so many things in her head that she can’t always tell Dad what she is thinking without leaving words out (I think her brain works faster than her mouth can keep up).  When she gets done, Dad looks at her with that look that the Buppys are always giving Uncle-B…..if he had bigger ears, they would be raised, his head is usually cocked to one side and he has this look like he’s thinking that he knows she is talking to him but for God’s sake he can’t understand a word she is saying.  It’s like he’s sittin’ in the middle of Mexico trying to ask for directions and where he left his pants and all he knows is “una mas cerveza por favor senorita”[ii].  It’s obvious that Mommy has a message, she’s the sender, her medium is words and Dad is the intended recipient.  But he just don’t get it, thus the communication is broken.  That interweb site said that the communication process is complete once the receiver understands the sender’s message.  Sometimes our house is like playing a football game where every play is a Hail Mary pass[iii] to Dad, and his hands are full of beer cans.  He sucks as a receiver.

 

Now this ain’t all Mommy’s fault either….Dad has his own challenges at communicating.  But this usually occurs following Mommy’s attempt to verbalize her thoughts at a pace that ain’t up to speed with the turning of the cogs.  This part of the communication is usually started with the words “What the hell are you saying” coming out of Dad’s mouth.  Without chasing the rabbit too far into the woods, suffice it to say that at the end of their banter, I’ve headed for the nearest spot where nobody can see me (kind of like when there is thunder or fireworks…remember Gall and her Astraphobia story) and Dad has resolved to pouting or being really pissy.  By this time, it’s usually a couple of days before Dad wants to talk about it and that means that Mommy can’t work on a final decision which puts the whole construction process in the circle pattern waiting for a safe place to land.

 

Now how does this affect me……I could care less.  I still stare at Dad when I need to pee, I still lay by my bowl when its meal time and I still expect Mommy to pet me when she yells “Kitty”.  All I can say is, I’ll be glad when this house is built and Dad and Mommy can take some time to work on their communication. 

 

Uncle-B usually has some good quotes to follow the Buppy’s articles, but I’ve exhausted every ounce of story-telling philosophy that I can muster.  All I have at this point is:

 

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate![iv]

 

 

 Ms. Maggie



[i] From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication)

 

[ii] Song from the album Me On The Jukebox, performed by Tommy Alverson and co-produced by Alverson and Lloyd Maines

 

[iii] From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_mary_pass) – a very long forward pass in American Football, made in desperation with on a small chance of success….

 

[iv] A quotation from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke

 

 

 

 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Great article Ms. Maggie (love the endnotes!)!  Thank you for being our second contributing author!  We really do appreciate it.  For those of you that don't know Maggie - her dad and our dad have been buds for probably around 18 years (though there was a gap in there ... but there were some intense <good> times in there too!).  The scary thing is ... they both do think alike ... not sure if that's a good thing or not!!  Our dad has been pushing your dad to publish your thoughts for quite a while ... after he submitted your article, our dad texted him and said "Pretty damn therapeutic isn't it??!!" and your dad replied "It is therapeutic.  Already started the next one."  You know, visiting with our Buppies is good, but allowing them to vent some of the stuff out into the "semi" general public somehow feels soooooo much better!!!!  It really is amazing!  Dad has the "Save A Life" link at the bottom of each page, and he truly believes in that! -- but there is a double meaning to the link ... this site really helped him hang on to his sanity over the past several years.  Maybe, that's why the stories have slowed down ... Sanity is in the grasp!!!!  You know, as Ernie said:

 

I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

Ernest Hemingway

 

Well, since Ms. Maggie didn't have any quotes (except the well known one from Cool Hand Luke), the webmaster feels compelled to provide some (just to round things out!!):

 

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

 

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

Mark Twain


Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.

Jim Rohn

 

and most importantly in relevance to THIS article …

 

(for mommy)

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.

Winston Churchill

 

AND MOSTLY ...


(for dad)

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.

Peter Drucker

 

 

 

 

 

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