Sunday, September 25, 2011


We've all been there...done something that others just don't (or frequently won't) understand. Perhaps you're new to the area and don't speak the local language. Do we care? Sometimes. Not always. But, sometimes it just gets to us. We can't help it...we're human...emotion driven. And, EVERYONE wants and needs a friend, to be accepted, to be understood...even by just one person. It doesn't feel like we're asking much. "What's wrong with me?" we ask ourselves when things aren't going right. The answer: Not a thing. It's the other guy who has the problem. Not you. She, or he, hasn't bothered to get to know you. Really know you. If she did, she'd find out that you are really no different from herself. A barrier would be broken and true friendship would be born. As for the rest of the crowd? Well, they'd be left to stand around the pasture fence wishing for what you've discovered.

For example,"There was once a cow that went OINK.  The cows that went MOO laughed at the cow that went OINK. MOO-HA." As poor cow's luck would have it in The Cow That Went Oink, everyone else in the barnyard Cluck-ha'd and Meow-ha'd and Baa-ha'd at her in her attempt to make a friend. Nothing like being in a new neigh-borhood at not able to speak the language. Sheesh. As if moving weren't tough enough, making new friends is even tougher. Cliques and circles are already formed and frequently hesitant to admit new to speak. Why that is has yet to be formally answered. But, I have a pretty good idea as to the reason: Change.

Yep, it's that simple. Change. No one likes it. Anything new pushes us out of our comfort zone. Unfamiliarity scares us. We clutch. We run from the door because the kids on the other side of it are rumored to want to turn us into stew. We're convinced from the moment we lay eyes on someone (or something) that there's absolutely no way whatever it is that's new is going to be any benefit to us. We know what works. Why fix it if it's not broken? Nevermind that it might actually make us better or that the other person involved may be just as terrified...if not more.

Stretching is good for the soul. Millions of people engage in simple stretches at the end of the day, yoga, tai chi, and other similar relaxation techniques for any number of personal reasons. But, they all have one thing in common...they help us tune in to the body and relieve tension. Well, the mind needs similar attention. Otherwise it experiences to one similar to that of a muscle accruing an abnormal supply of lactic acid, "Doink!" In other words, it seizes up instead of seizing the day.

Trying something new, reading in area or genre we're not familiar with, taking a few extra minutes to get to know that "new kid on the block" all stretch us mentally and leave us feeling better about life and ourselves after we've done it. The brain cramps begin to disappear, the neuro-lactic acid melts like a popsicle on 100 degree day. It isn't long before we find ourselves wondering how we managed without this new thing in our lives. It just seems so normal and natural.

Fortunately for the oinking cow, it wasn't long before she met a pig who...wait for it...yep, you guessed it...a pig who could moo. They spent quite a bit of time teaching each other how to moo and oink with attempts ending in hilarious results. It's not like "OINOOMOO" and "MOINKOO" are quickly found in Webster's Dictionary. But, they persevered, never giving up on mastering that new yoga contortion until they finally could both OINK and MOO...much to the consternation and jealousy of the rest of the barnyard.

Anything worth having is worth working for. Moink.

The Cow That Went Oink by Bernard Most
Published by Harcourt Brace & Company, 1990

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