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?