Sunday, July 13, 2008

I'll Be Watching from the Front Seat

As I approached hole #3 to take the stimp reading this morning, I noticed two geese swimming in the small pond in front of the green.

Always in the past, when Mulligan spotted geese on this pond he would go bounding out of the cart into the water to chase them away. Today, he hadn’t noticed the birds, so I stopped the cart in the fairway near the pond and pointed him in the direction of the geese. He looked at them, back at me, and decided to stay in the cart. His look said he didn’t have much interest in going swimming at that moment, especially if only two geese were in the pond. It didn't seem worth the energy.That’s the first time he has ever passed up a good chase.

Mulligan had been riding for some time, and I thought it was about time for him to get out and do something productive with his day. I finally coerced him to get out of the cart by throwing a stick in the water. That proved to be sufficient motivation. He thought he was going to play and went in after the stick. Coincidentally, he ended up scaring the geese away. When the geese flew off, Mulligan came back out of the water, jumped up in the cart, and sat there as if to say he had done his work and he intended to spend the rest of the day in leisure. I could work if I was so inclined, but he would be watching from the front seat.

I have two young sons, and my wife and I are always scrambling to come up with creative ways to get the boys to pick up toys, get dressed, eat peas, and so on. It’s interesting that both people and animals need creative coercion at both ends of the age spectrum.