ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY

The hand-off

This is how Harry and Aussie play:

They’ve both rushed up the slope to protect the house from terrorists, i.e. deer, gophers, and wild turkeys. They come back down, job well done, and Aussie gets that glint in her eye that tells me a message has just come in from God. She makes eye contact with Harry, goes down on her belly while keeping her rump up (rump up!), and wags her tail madly.

Harry picks up a small stuffed turtle lying on the ground that squeaks when squeezed, and runs, Aussie chasing. They make the turn around the back, then Harry heads to the garage, jumps through the dog door into the kitchen, runs into the dining room, makes a full circuit around the table, then into my office and out the door to the back, Aussie at his heels, not missing a trick.

A couple of minutes later he turns to her, drops the stuffed turtle. She goes back down on the ground, rump up, wags tail madly, jumps up, picks up the stuffed turtle, and runs ahead, Harry chasing. Same thing: whirlwind rush around the back, into garage, through dog door into kitchen, round and round the dining table, into Eve’s office, and out to the back, Harry breathing hard on her neck.

A couple of minutes later, the stuffed turtle is handed off, or mouthed off (see above), again. New leader, new chaser. The only difference is that when it’s Harry leading and Aussie chasing, he does 2-3 circuits around the dining table from sheer exuberance (not to mention that he’s younger), while she pauses, takes a breather, and when he runs into my office and out the back she’s just inches away. Often they pause to wrestle a little before the next switcheroo.

What a civilized way this is of playing together, I think. Imagine that world leaders played by similar rules.

Xi Jinping: “Hey Donald, you’ve held the stuffed turtle in your mouth for almost a century. We’ve been chasing and chasing, so how about we switch places? We get the stuffed turtle and lead, for a change, and you chase us.”

Trump: “Good idea, Xi! Since I’m a little older and you’re up and coming, I’ll let you take a couple of extra rounds, no need to exert myself too much, but otherwise I’ll be right behind you.”

Xi: “Great. And we can switch again, say in 50 years time.”

Trump: “Wait a minute. How will I know we’ll really switch? Of course, I’ll still be in the White House—you won’t be able to pull the wool over my eyes—only not as young and spry as I am right now.”

Xi: “You’ll know because I’ll go down on my belly, push up my rump, and wag my tuches! It’s a universal language.”

Trump: “Of course! OK, here. I just dropped the stuffed turtle. Off I go to Mar-A-Lago–unless there’s a hurricane, of course—but after that I’ll be right at your heels.”

Xi: “Get ready, get set, go!”