Lucy In A Bind With Pancakes
We have two dogs, Andy and Lucy. How a family in which the wife does not much care for dogs came to have two of them is a long story, like the story of how we came to have four cats; suffice to say that it is a testimony to the power of motherly love. Andy is small and cute, while Lucy is large—really too large for our small house—and smells bad unless she’s been washed in the past few days. Accordingly, Andy is allowed certain liberties, such as getting on the furniture, which Lucy is not. It’s clear that Lucy is jealous of him, and from what I know about the social life of dogs she is well within her rights: not only is she five times Andy’s size, she was here first, so she ought to be the top dog.
Yesterday morning my wife and daughter cooked pancakes for breakfast. There were a couple left over, sitting out on the kitchen counter. A couple of hours after breakfast I ate one of them and decided to give the other to the dogs, who were already hovering around. In this situation I usually give Lucy her share first, partly in guilty compensation for her other indignities and partly to keep her from trying to steal Andy’s. So I tore off about two-thirds of the pancake and gave it to Lucy.
Instead of darting off to a corner to gobble it down, which is what she usually does with a treat, she stood staring at me, pancake in mouth, eyes going back and forth between my face and the remainder of the pancake in my hand, while Andy jumped up and down beside her.
In order to get Andy’s share of the pancake she would have had to drop her own, in which case Andy would have gotten it. And she would in fact have ended up with less. She couldn’t enjoy what she actually had in her possession because she was too concerned about getting more, and could easily have lost what she did have.
The applicability of this to human life needs no elaboration.