Note from Ned on why “I’m such a simple man and why I love my dog.
da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM
A phrase came to me this morning while I was eating my grape nut cereal with blueberries and milk, not my usual breakfast but one I love nonetheless. “On what can you depend?” It came just like that. Not in the more colloquial, “What can you depend on?” but the more formal, “On what can you depend?”
I actually like the more formal version, not because I am a stiff grammarian—actually the current doyen of grammar, Benjamin Dreyer, urges us to end sentences with prepositions and forget the proscriptions to the contrary we learned in grammar school—but because of the solidity of the rhythm of the line: on WHAT can YOU de PEND; da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM.
Right then I could depend on my grape nuts, blueberries, and milk and the solidity of the line, which I liked so much I said it out loud. I was sitting by myself—no, not by myself, our dog, Max, was sitting on the floor next to me, and when I said it he looked up at me quizzically, so I said it again. Max made no sense of it so he went back to looking at whatever he’d been looking at before.
Da-DUM, da-Dum, da-DUM.
It’s good to have a dog. Yes, it’s GOOD to HAVE a DOG. da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM. It’s GOOD to KNOW your SELF. da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM. be WARE the IDES of MARCH. da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM. stand UP for THOSE you LOVE. da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM. be SURE to BRUSH and FLOSS.
I sat with Max doing da-DUM’s for quite a while. I was reveling in the feeling of solidity they gave me. It was heartening to know how much brick I could find in such a short time simply by looking for three iambs in a row.
Why I’m such a simple man
I’m such a simple man. I love my dog. And I love my grape nuts, especially with blueberries and milk. Likewise, I love the morning, especially with Max. I love that I have three children all in their 20’s who are thriving, thank God. Also I love Sue, my wife, of 30 years. I fear the things we all fear, and I fear not knowing when they will come. Which brings me back to da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM. I HOPE we ALL find PEACE and JOY. Ah-ha, I added another da-DUM.
The time had come for this simple man to take my dish to the sink, wash up, and say good bye to Max and my reveries. It was time for me to go to work. This meant driving out to my office in Sudbury to see the patients who were waiting for me out there.
The drive would give me a chance to get a new window, literally, onto the world, watching the wintry scenes as I drove past them, the snows still clinging to the now brown barked trees, the bare trees, buds barely popping in as yet, muddy patches in some fields where some melting’s come, the blue sky today replacing the heavy gray from yesterday, the sun ever brighter reflecting off the fields still filled with snow, a few horses seeing what they could forage today let out of their stalls into one of the fields, feeling on the precipice of spring with Savings Time just let in to provide us with more daylight or so the idea has it go.
I watch the nature I know so well, having grown up in New England, these rhythms run me now as they ever did then. Or I turn on NPR, then switch to sports radio then to the classical station then to the other station that has 60’s songs I like, I channel surf and try to pay attention to the road.
I look forward to seeing the people who are waiting to see me in the office. For that reason I feel grateful that I have a useful purpose to serve. I think to myself, I hope I do it well today. i HOPE i DO it WELL to DAY.