I didn't know quite how ignorant I was until I met Kihei, our Samoyed. He has begun my real education.
He has taught me the Zen of Ball.
To start learning the Zen of Ball, you must first give in to the primacy of The Ball.
It is all that matters. You do not have chores. You do not have responsibilities. You do not have work. You do not have hunger. You have no thirst. You only have Ball.
First commandment of the Zen of Ball: Ball never ends.
Cesar Millan, TV's "Dog Whisperer," may have taught us all the importance of maintaining your leadership of the "pack," a household's pecking order of humans and their faithful four-footed charges.
Well, Kihei has taught me where in the pack I reside. I am the Ball Thrower.
Not Dad. Not Alpha Male. Not even Mom's "friend." I am the Ball Thrower.
I may think I am leader of the pack because I pay for the dog food and the four walls. I am wrong.
I pay for the dog food so Kihei can be strong enough to chase The Ball.
I pay for the mortgage so he can have walls to bounce The Ball off.
And Kihei gets excited every night I come home from work to my main job - to throw The Ball.
He also gets excited when I bring friends or co-workers home. It means I've brought him more Ball Throwers.
If I stop throwing The Ball, it does not signal an end to Throwing The Ball. It simply means I need a new Ball. Which Kihei quickly will provide from his endless supply in Kihei's Toy Box. He's very generous that way.
Time stops when Throwing The Ball. Thus, Throwing The Ball is an exercise that never stops. Throwing The Ball knows no end. There is always the next Ball. See First Commandment above.
And all Balls must squeak. Loudly. And if the squeak stops, it simply means that The Ball is dead. Time for a new Ball.
You wonder why dogs generally don't like cats? Simple. Cats don't throw Ball. Cats don't understand Ball. Thus, cats are stupid. Chasing cats is training for Chasing Ball.
Balls will hide. They are sneaky. They must be found, wherever they land. Under cushions, behind couches, under desks, inside bags, etc. Unless it's Over the Fence. That's where old Balls go to die.
Although you may look at your floor and see many balls, there is only one Ball. The one you are throwing and he is chasing. There is no other. Unless you lose the Ball. Then there is the Next Ball.
There is no end to the Next Ball, either. That is the Way of the Ball.
Chris Campos (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the assistant business editor for Bay Area News Group.