It's your anniversary and you're on a cruise ship with your wife and your mother. The ship starts to sink and neither of them can swim. If you only have one life preserver, which one do you give it to?
The answer is of course...you'd give the only life preserver you have to your dog.
This joke may be intended to make you think about who's more important to you: the woman who brought you into the world, the woman whom you found attractive enough to want to spend your life with, or a four legged animal that drools on you, chews holes in your sneakers, and urinates on the rug. It could also be just another petty insult to women, something familiar to those who enjoy mother-in-law jokes. Or it could be a reminder that your dog might really be man's best friend. As readers are hopefully aware by now, I don't perceive the world the way most other people do. I see something else entirely when I think of this joke...
It's your anniversary and you're on a cruise with your wife...and your mother?!! Why is your mother there?
Is your mother so possessive and controlling that she has to accompany you and your wife on your anniversary cruise? Is she like the mother in Pink Floyd's, "The Wall?"
Mother's gonna screen all your girlfriends for you. Mother won't let anyone dirty get through."
Goodness...what could go wrong with that kind of parenting?
And what sort of woman would marry a man who was so thoroughly controlled by his mother? Is your wife so out to lunch that she thinks this is normal? Or are these two women good friends and you're just the sucker who brings home the money? Or...and this is just my opinion...is this joke just a thinly disguised story about three very sick people who share an extremely dysfunctional relationship?
I used to sell real estate many years ago. This allowed me to closely observe how people lived, how they managed their homes, and how they interacted in those homes. I routinely encountered some very sick, dysfunctional families. More about that later perhaps...
Did you catch the most important word mentioned so far? "Relationship" is a word you hear a lot on the Oxygen Channel and on daytime talk shows like Oprah and Dr. Phil. The word "relationship" tends to get shuttled into the category of petty female concerns, but it's actually quite important. The relationship you have with others determines whether you want to save their lives or watch them drown while you pet your dog. And since this weblog features people who commit some remarkably uncivilized acts, the kind of relationship that exists between men like Eric Harris, Timothy McVeigh, Adam Lanza, and the rest of humanity is probably worth devoting a little effort to understanding.
And now for the value of human life...
The primary reason for having laws against homicide is simple. People have to be intimidated into pretending that other people's lives matter because human life has no intrinsic value. If you don't believe me, just consider all of the thousands of people who die every day without affecting your life at all. As long as you have no significant relationship with any of them, their deaths simply don't matter. In other words, human life, like gasoline, cotton socks, and crescent wrenches only has utility value. And the utility value that any individual places on any other individual's life is a function of the relationship that exists between them.
I'll be adding to this post in the next few days. Until then, think about the sort of relationships that exist in your life.