Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Dog With One Leg

I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
From "I am woman", Ray Burton and Helen Reddy 1972

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
Matthew 5.5 King James Bible

What do we want?
When do we want it?
The "Meek" (according to Eddie Izzard), on hearing that God has decided to change his Last Will and Testament.

Our Models Can Beat Their Models - Levi Ad, NY Subway
"Who would win the race? A rooster with a sore beak or a cat with a broken leg?"

This was the sort of question my son would ask when he was about four years old. "Oh," I might say, "the cat."

But he was not to be deterred. "Who would win, a cat with a broken leg, or a grasshopper with one eye?" And so it went. On and on.

I used to think that these sort of questions were unique to my son (we proud mothers are so biased). Then, on a message board somewhere a year or so ago, a woman posted about her own son who said the same sort of thing. He upped MY son with a, "Who would win,
a dog with one leg or a cat with no face?"

It must be a boy-thing ...

Strong - weak, winning -losing, aggressive-compliant. We are taught from an early age to win, to be strong, to do well.

But does this work out? Lately I've been wondering.

Of course it SEEMS to work in politics and business. But does it work in social relationships? Are the "strong" valued, appreciated, nurtured? I think not.

Australians love the underdog and are wary of people who they perceive as successful. I used to hear this said when I lived in Australia, and thought it a false sort of stereotype. But since leaving OZ, I've come see the truth of such assertions more and more.

My last Letter from New York - Touching Me, Touching You drew quite a few responses. Touching Me, Touching You was about Australian expats feeling a need to "phone home", to keep in touch, and many of us feel that it is left to ourselves to make the effort. In a way it was a cry from the heart.

Being an expat can be lonely at times. We'd like to hear from our back-at-home friends. Yet in many cases it is a one-way street. Phone calls are often not reciprocated - at least not on a one-to-one basis

But after publishing my post, instead of a flurry of calls from Australia, I received either a stony silence or emails complaining about what I'd said - but no details.

And so I thought about it. And this is my "take".

Expats are seen as strong. As survivors. We left and the very fact that we are still away, means that we are strong, invincible, successful. Ergo, we don't need that consoling phone call, that remembering, that affection.

Yeah, I get it now.

We are the dog with one leg.


nautiaussie said...

Yes - maybe, but one leg is better than none, strong - definitely, otherwise we wouldn't still be OS, invincible - hopefully, but not necessarily. But more than anything we are human beings and we miss the camaraderie, the affection, the laughter, and most of all the friendship, consoling, and affection if we are hurt over something..........We haven't changed that much as people, just our geographical location.

Terry said...

A perspective I had not considered, but maybe one that holds a germ of truth. I personally, have found this time of year to always be the most difficult to be away from family and friends.

Tim said...

The rooster with a sore beak and the grasshopper with one eye would both beat the cat with a broken leg.The rooster would then eat the grasshopper regardless of beak-pain.The cat with no face would beat the dog with one leg. A dog with one leg isn't much good for anything except stirring curry.

Tim said...

(dogs need a minimum of 3 legs to function)

Post a Comment