Max has this bad habit of eating anything he comes across that does not smell like air. So, I have to keep a close watch on him to make sure he does not go eat something he shouldn’t.
This is an all too accurate depiction of our walks (we alternate between who acts like Buddy)
But sometimes he is so determined or I am so distracted that he gets his tasty surprise. And fairly often it makes him sick. He has a weak stomach anyway, but I really think that a lot of it has to do with him eating random stuff off the ground.
I’d like to use this paragraph to make a meaningful, metaphorical turn, but I realize that I still need to learn this lesson along with Max – that we simply are not suppose to consume whatever random stuff we find.
It wasn’t as big a problem when I was in high school and college and my stomach could handle it, but now there are just more problems than it is worth.
But, I also can’t resist the turn. Max has taught me to watch what I consume, even the stuff that seems so appealing, like the enticing TV shows and music and gadgets that are lying around everywhere.
If I’m honest with myself, my physical acts of consuming are not the worst. My mind seems to be the most voraciously consumptive organ in my body, seeking out and taking in just about anything it can.
Don’t get me wrong – I like my shows and gadgets. And most of them are not really bad. In fact, I’ve found it very important and meaningful to relax in front of the TV (especially with other people), laughing and crying with made up characters in moving stories. It not only can be restful, but also often awakens my imagination.
But sometimes, just being in that consumer mindset makes me sick. My head is down looking for the next surprising treat that I fail to be fully aware of the beauty and life around me.
I’d argue that the true root of life sickness lies not in overconsumption itself (though that is definitely a strong branch of the problem), but rather in not taking full advantage of opportunities because of some prevailing distraction (as Buddy so aptly proves to his dad in Elf) – even if that distraction is looking for the next treat.
Max has taught me that everything we consume has some effect on us – even the act of seeking things to consume. Thus, it is important to refocus on what is really meaningful and valuable every once and a while. And this includes both the various media in which I indulge as well as the literal food I consume.
So, thank you Max, for teaching me not to eat whatever I find on the ground, and to refocus on what is really valuable so as not to get stuck consuming the latest treats and miss the joy of life all around me.