Don’t Play It Cool

When Honey sees someone she wants to greet, she starts off by slowly swishing her tail.

Honey the golden retriever hides in tall grass.

From my hiding place, I can look for people who need golden lovies.

If she gets the least little encouragement, she starts dancing in place. Front paw up, both rear paws hop.

When her new “friend” comes over to say hello, Honey explodes with joy. She spins around. She leans into the person. She lifts her paws over and over.

There’s no mistaking Honey’s happiness.

Occasionally someone is overwhelmed by Honey’s greeting so I make her sit down. But most people get a big shot of self-esteem from feeling so loved.

I’ve got to learn how to do that.

The Bad Side of Cool

Over the years, my husband has described me and some of our other friends as “cool.”

I thought I knew what he meant. We lean back and wait for things to come to us. We take our time to see if something is worthy before expressing our approval of it.

We’re like perpetual teenagers.

But cool has a bad side: an inability to spontaneously feel and hang onto joy.

Honey is never cool. And she has a blast.

Honey the golden retriever in a kayak.

Well, I’m kinda cool. You gotta admit it’s pretty impressive I have my own paddler.

Throwing Away Cool

Yesterday was a beautiful day.

We kayaked up our creek with Honey and a picnic lunch. We totally broke the law by pulling our kayaks up onto the shore of the lakefront park (no dogs allowed; but goose poop is in plentiful supply). And then we spent the day eating, playing with Honey, talking, watching the fishermen, and reading.

Normally I’d arrive home and say, “That was fun” before going onto the next thing on my mind. I’d play it cool.

But instead, I’m channeling Honey.

I keep telling Mike how much fun the day was for me and how much I enjoyed being with him and Honey. I look back and remember the perfect weather and pretty spot under the trees. I don’t think I actually danced, like Honey does. But I’ll try that soon.

I allowed myself to embrace the joy of a lovely day. And I’m going to try to hang onto it.

Honey the golden retriever stands in Fall Creek.

When I stand in the creek, you get two goldens for the price of one.

Dogs Express Their Feelings

Dogs are not cool. That’s more true for some dogs than others. But no dog hides his feelings behind a mask of cool.

You see how a dog feels by looking at his ears, his mouth, his tail. Heck, just look at how relaxed or stiff his whole body is.

Coming home to find a dog who’s happy to see us is one of the great joys of the world.

So why wouldn’t we humans want to give that joy to the people around us? Instead of trying to act cool all the time.

Maybe it’s time to stop playing it cool. And time to act more like a dog.

What do you think?

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  1. I totally agree. These two will great most anybody. Roxy will walk right up to anyone if you give her half a chance. She meets some great people that way,

    • Roxy keeps her dignity about her when she’s meeting and greeting. I’d love to send Honey to her for just a little bit of cool, sometimes. :)

  2. I am far from that definition of cool. If I am excited, I show it, and it doesn’t take much for me. I love seeing my dogs joyful, and exuberant is a word I frequently use to describe one of them.

  3. Very true. Bailie is especially uncool. She can’t contain her joy in meeting others or having fun. I have gotten a bit more reserved with age.

  4. I totally agree, it’s time to stop playing it cool and act like a dog. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to greet people with more joy! ( I think I’ll leave the goosing to my dog Zack, however.)

  5. Touche’ and by the way, looking at you in that kayak I think your SUPER cool!!

    • Y’know I suspect I sound a lot cooler as a kayaking, biking, sailing babe than I actually look hanging out in my kayak. But we can’t all be sexy, huh? :)

  6. I think you are spot on. I think the problem with not ‘playing it cool’ is that you are putting yourself out there for the world to see, and that means you stand a chance of being knocked back. I was having a conversation with my counselor last night and she asked about me moving on. I said I wasn’t ready to be that vulnerable again. She asked what I meant and I explained that (in my head) to love someone totally you give over your heart to them and trust them to keep it safe, and in exchange you protect theirs. Having been knocked down once I’m going to be cautious and take time to get back up. I think this is a lot like ‘playing it cool’ look at a toddler and how happy they are with everything in the world, but then, as they grow they start playing it cool because piers mock you for being too keen, or liking an uncool program so I think we learn to play it cool because it’s safer.

    • Interesting insights, Lauranne. I don’t trust other people very much. And playing it cool is probably a direct result of that.

      So what comes first? Learning to trust people? Or putting yourself out there?

  7. Can you do one without the other??

  8. Amazing how our dogs can teach us about life. They are true to their emotions and this is constantly a humbling experience for me. They are not afraid to express what they feel unlike me. I learned a lot from my 4 dogs and they are my reminder about life (also stress reliever). Thanks for sharing! Hugs to Honey!

  9. It’s always good to learn from our dogs! I’ve learned mostly from senior dogs, but lately I’ve been learning from puppy Zeke. It’s amazing how he finds everything fascinating and exciting. It makes me think I should be a bit more puppy-like. BTW, I think you and Honey are both pretty cool.