Running Interference

I have this theory of the universe that states, if you are in a certain place and you see something bad happening, you’re there to interfere.

For instance, if I’m walking my dog and I see an exasperated father putting up Christmas decorations saying to his young son, “Stop crying. You want a whomp sandwich?” I will purposefully pause and let my dog sniff around while I admire the display.

The presence of stranger is often enough shake most people to their senses. I need not say a thing to change the situation.  Being there, being witness, affords the moment of interference, the second of disconnect that is needed to separate the momentarily angry man and his anger and force him to remember himself, and his love for his son.

Sometimes more active interference is required. A well done swoon at a party between two squabbling people is very helpful — the man will usually catch you. Hiccups are a great humorous interference in a store aisle near a vexed parent and her crying child. A gestalt scream, outdoors at the park, will certainly stop someone about to hit a dog or throw a rock at a squirrel or set something on fire.

I interfere in other ways too. I’ll stop and pick up the dying wild rabbit that was just hit by a car right in front of my eyes, and I’ll wrap it in my scarf and give it a loving passing. Or if I see an injured orphan bird or kitten that’s in need of rescue, I figure that’s something that needs my help or maybe I’m supposed to adopt it.

I’d be an awful wildlife documentary maker, because I’d rarely let “nature run its course.” I’m not against wild animals killing each other. But if I saw a lion cub with a broken back, dragging i’s back legs, struggling after its mother and I saw that mother leave it to die, I would certainly collect the lion, take it to a vet, and see if it could be saved and released back into the wild.

Even though I’m a writer, there’s simply no such thing as “observer status” in my world. Like Schrödinger and his famous Cat , I am a part of the great experiment. There’s no avoiding it. And if there’s no avoiding it, I might as well go the whole nine yards and change the situation for the better.

I’m afraid no one will ever convince me running interference is anything but a respectable and necessary pastime. So, if you see me running your way . . . trust me, you want to let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

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