Rachel was having a great time on her walk today, but for whatever reason, the footing was very bad for me and for people in general. Rachel sped along, her usual self, and when I told her I had to go slow, she told me in her happy voice that she had four-paw drive and wasn’t worrying about getting stuck. That said, she picked up a stick and bounced along. If I throw a stick, she won’t retrieve. She won’t even pick up the one I throw. After all, she tells me all the time, she’s not a retriever, she’s a pointer, and every morning she points to the park, and I’m supposed to take it from there.

Of course, that ‘s not what this is about. It’s about what we’re supposed to think and do. The dog has to go out and she’s my dog to take care of and so I have to walk her. In the morning, in the evening, before bed, ain’t we got fun. I know what I have to do and so I do it, and it’s simple. It’s not always easy because sometimes I don’t want to, sometimes I have pain, like lately my knee has been killing me, and sometimes I don’t feel well. So it’s simple but not always easy.

The older I get the more I like simple and not complicated. I like my phone, for example, because I’ve had it a few years and I know it. I know how to use the camera (somewhat) and how to do the basics and how to watch a movie or the news on it, etc. I don’t need something more complicated. My car has a USB port and you can put a playlist on a stick and run it in there and have the music you want. But I haven’t done it. I haven’t even programmed in my phone for hands free. Simple is better. Gadgets are nice and nice gadgets are cool, but simple and practical is usually best all around.

So, not too long ago I was talking to a Rabbi, not just any ordinary Rabbi, but a real learned man, the way Rabbis are supposed to be. Yes, he knows the prayer book by heart, and he can read the Torah without the vowels and not only does he understand it, but he has studied it and knows the commentaries and their interpretations and all of that. He was telling me about how sad it was that some people could never escape the influences of their fathers. More specifically he was telling me about people he knew whose fathers had died but who still lived as if they were being told what to do by them. Or, he was telling me how fortunate one was if one could escape that inner controlling voice and strike out for himself. We had started out talking about his move and mine both of which had happened not too long ago and which were to different places and were catching up on the in-between when we got onto this topic and he went immediately to himself and told me that the things he was saying were not just about other people but applied to him too and he was listening to himself so that he might better hear what he was actually saying about…yes he was talking about being free.

But no one is free. We all might like to think so but we’re not. Try not paying your taxes. Try not walking your dog. Sooner or later Rachel would be leaving me a nice package inside the house.

I’ve often thought about our movies and books and whether or not the forces running the entertainment industry are determining the direction we move in. Certain movies are key in this consideration. Mad Max and Escape From New York are the two that immediately come to mind. They kind of started the direction toward apocalypse we’ve moved in. Apart from selling movies, why does a rational reasoning species have to move toward self annihilation?

So, who is moving what? Why the apocalyptic direction toward Armageddon? If there are big forces out there controlling the direction, why not a kinder, gentler one? These are the sixty-four thousand dollar questions.