By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Life on Planet Earth can be cruel. Just when you think you’ve got it made, another’s greed can rip it from your grasp.
As a case in point, let’s take a dramatic little scene I witnessed on a recent trip to the bathroom.
As is sometimes the case on a trip to the john, there was a little time to kill. I began to look around and noticed a spider web in the corner above the vanity. I also noticed a fly buzzing around the mirror. No sooner had I noticed the fly than he bumbled into the web.
I thought to myself, will the spider come out with the light on and grab the fly or will the fly buzz around and get loose?
I had my answer in an instant as a little light brown spider with long legs nimbly ascended the web from the counter and began to wrap up the fly. The fly was as big as the little fellow’s thorax but caught in the sticky web, all the fly could do was buzz in panic. It seemed the little fellow had enough of a meal to last a good long time.
Then suddenly, a bigger spider rappelled from the ceiling down into the little guy’s web. A quick charge down the web toward the smaller spider, and the big fellow had swiped the prize. Later that night he had the fly all wrapped up and slung beneath him, the better to watch over his meal.
One summer we had a hummingbird feeder up and were getting lots of traffic from all kinds of hummers until one particularly irascible bird came along. He protected the feeder for all he was worth, running off droves of other nectar seekers.
I nicknamed the stocky little guy after a football coach I once knew, who had the same bulldog instincts and never knew when to quit.
I think that little hummingbird expended every bit of energy he received from the sweet liquid in defending his spot. But he wasn’t about to let anyone else have a sample.
One of my two dogs has some of the same issues. Dog trainers call it food protecting. He’ll growl at the other dog if he even glances in his direction while he’s eating. If the non-dominant dog even moves wrong at the dinner table he’s subject to a good dressing down.
The food protector will even defend stupid stuff like salad or vegetables if he fears the other dog might get it.
What lesson can we take from all this, other than I need to invest in some professional services, say an exterminator and a dog trainer?
Human animals often suffer the same type shortcomings. Thieves want other people’s stuff badly enough they’ll break into other people’s houses and cars to take it. We covet coworkers’ positions at work and we vigorously defend our own turf on the job.
Most of the time we don’t need the things we covet but that doesn’t stop us from wanting them.
If we worked hard for the reward we should enjoy it. The difference is we have the capacity to share what we’ve worked for. The question is do we share it.
Grabbing every last morsel can consume our lives. Enjoying the morsels we’re blessed with is where we’ll find the most happiness.