Who Is Living off of Whom?

Recently I was at my older son’s house and commended him for how nicely he had trimmed his bushes. Then I pointed out a pet peeve of mine and suggested that he do something to keep the rose bush from encroaching upon the sidewalk where people approach his front door.

It’s something I’ve observed for all of my adult years, at least. We plant bushes or trees so that they will please us. Then we let them take over so that we have to yield to them.

I see it in pet ownership, too. The animal is supposed to serve the owner, but the owner allows it to make him (and me) miserable.

When the Clampetts mistakenly got the message that all of their money was gone, they thought they must have been spending it too freely, so they began tightening the belt every way they could. In one scene, Elly Mae comes into the kitchen with a possum on her shoulder, saying that she needed some feed for her critters. Granny exclaims “That’s the problem right there: back home, we was livin’ off the possums; now the possums is livin’ off of us!”

Some people, such as animal hoarders, are just sick and psychologically twisted, and they are beyond helping themselves. For the rest of us, though, there is an ongoing need for clear thought as to who is supposed to be living off of whom.