TO KNOW OR NOT? PROVOCATIVE QUESTION 4 – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #4

Knowing and Not Knowing


Is it better to know or not? Well … don’t you think that it’s a matter of what you are talking about?

If the question is “what am I getting for my birthday, I probably shouldn’t know, though usually if I do know I can at least get it in the right size. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure it won’t fit. My beloved husband is sure I’m at least three sizes smaller than I really am. I appreciate the thought, but that sweater is NOT going to fit!

On the other hand, I really want to know if my chimney is about to fall down. I want to know if strange animals are taking up residence in my attic or basement. Because I have to fix those things. Not knowing will ultimately make the problem worse.

I learned several things over the past few days.

We do not have any more mice. They are all dead and gone. We have to keep after them because we have a warm cozy house in the middle of a cold woods, but for the nonce, no mice. Phew.

The ants are gone too. So are the stink bugs and those puffy weird many-legged things.

Duke the dog is the healthiest living dog on the planet and he needs to be walked, even though he runs like the wind most of the time. That’s definitely a Garry job and this is an unfortunate time to try to deal with it. It is getting very cold, very fast. It will be snowy before the weekend. We have no sidewalks, no lights, and no safe place to walk without driving into town to a park … and once it snows, they don’t clear the pathways. This may have to wait until spring.

Unless winter decides to not come at all and suddenly, it’s summer again. Which I would usually say couldn’t happen, but lately, who knows?

There are no seasons, there are no patterns. There’s just strange weather and more rain than we’ve had ever in recorded weather history, about 150 years.

Portrait of the beast

So the dog, having been to the vet, is healthy, very smart, and has a lot of Lhasa Apso and Boston Terrier in there … plus something else. All Asian dog DNA. Except for Tinker the Thinker, the Duke is probably our smartest ever dog.

We have to get him something called a martingale which is a low-level choke collar. Can’t put a gentle leader on him for two amusing reasons. First, his snout is too short. All that Asian dog flat-faced DNA … and because the vet says he’d figure out how to remove it in about 5 seconds. Maybe less.

Smart dog.

“Hey,” she said, “I rescued a whack dog too. He’d been returned to the shelter twice. If I didn’t take him, no one would. So he’s crazy, wild, and mine.”

I suggested maybe more Prozac.

“For you?” she suggested. I nodded. I don’t think anything will calm him down, but if I get calm enough, it won’t matter.


Despite my continuing attempts to make my life easier, I seem to be making it more complicated. Maybe “simple” isn’t for me. Maybe I need to be busy and mentally involved.

Each time I think I know who and what I am, I discover whatever I knew was yesterday’s information. By the time I know something, I’m already well on my way to becoming someone else. I am always becoming someone else. There’s no end to it and maybe that’s as it should be, at least for me.

To know or not to know?

I doubt there is a sensible answer to that. I need to know what I need to know. How can I know whether or not I need to know something — anything — until I already have enough data on which to make a reasoned choice?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

27 thoughts on “TO KNOW OR NOT? PROVOCATIVE QUESTION 4 – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I used to think that most people wanted to know what they needed to know, but now I think most people don’t want to know, either because they’re apathetic or ignorant. If they took the time to know, Trump wouldn’t be president.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly, you are probably right. Same goes for the Brits. When we visited after the Brexit Vote, (too) many of them said: You’re better informed than we were…. None of our friends (except the two sons of one of our friends – but we don’t even know them) voted for Brexit…. So maybe the Trumpists largely were left in the dark too? Just a thought of possible consolation?! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very logical – my preference also.

    As you say – ‘Depends’ … which gives us the greater benefit??

    The English poet Thomas Gray made a good point on the ‘general’ question: ( About one’s ‘Fate’)

    To each his sufferings: all are men,
    Condemn’d alike to groan—
    The tender for another’s pain,
    Th’ unfeeling for his own.
    Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
    Since sorrow never comes too late,
    And happiness too swiftly flies?
    Thought would destroy their Paradise.
    No more;—where ignorance is bliss,
    ‘Tis folly to be wise.

    I’m pretty sure Duke ‘Knows’. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He does. Mainly, we have to get him to realize he really IS here and no one is going to take him away. He has been moved around too much. He is like a kid in “the system” who has had too many “parents” and doesn’t believe he belongs anywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. He may never be entirely “normal,” but that’s what you get when you take in a rescue. Sometimes, the din of the barking really begins to get to us, but they trigger each other, so it really isn’t entirely the Duke’s fault. Bonnie is a wicked barker too and she was NOT a rescue. I just need him to stop worrying that every other thing in the world is endangering his position in our world. He’ll get it. Eventually. I hope.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Simply LOVE this post! Agree with all of it. Tiny story of my VID (NOT VIP) = VERY INTELLIGENT DACHSIE: One of the times she had to wear one of those cone collars, she managed within minutes to find something to squeeze herself through, tail and backside first and then going backwards to have the two wooden pillars ‘shaving’ it off her head…. her face was a bit squashed for a moment AND we brought her back to the vet who fixed a cone so big that she nearly pulled it along the ground but couldn’t get rid of it any longer!!!! Such fond memories! She looked a riot too and she was very ashamed to show herself in such undignified circumstances! 🙂

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    1. Well, if you can’t calm down the dog, you might as well calm down the people! He really IS a good dog. Not a biter, not fearful … just frantically desperate to be sure HE is the MOST important dog in our world. He’s practically velcro-ed to Garry’s legs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Duke sounds like he has a good temperament apart from being excitable and somewhat needy. It makes you wish they could talk and understand what we say better. I know it has been hard for Cindy since David has been gone. She was very attached to him. He was the one who took her to the dog park and let her sit on his lap. She was used to someone being at home most of the time and but when I do my volunteer job I have to leave her for several hours on those days. Usually she settles down but some days when I’m waiting for my ride I hear her crying and I feel so guilty but I have to go because it’s an obligation attached to my social services payments.

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