Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dressing Guinea Pigs


It's one of those things that stop us killing one another.

When people ask a direct open question, they invite answers. I'm quite active on the forums at Etsy, where buyers and sellers discuss various issues. One of the sellers asked if anyone had ever owned a guinea pig. She was interested in selling clothes for them.

I was going to simply click "X", and file that one in "Everybody needs a hobby" or possibly "None of my business", but she did ask. She ASKED. So, tactfully, I replied, that yes, in fact I had owned many guinea pigs in my time, but that I had never dressed them. And left it at that.

I am a walking contradiction, as anyone who knows me can testify. I seek to be kind. It is my objective every day, because I believe in kindness not just as a type of etiquette, but as a real force in the Universe. A special type of love that is totally unconditional and is offered to strangers for absolutely no reason other than it is the right thing to do. I believe deeply and passionately in it.

At the same time I have an intellect and sense of humour that sees the absurd in the most ordinary things, so when I come across something that is rather more absurd, I am unable to ignore it. I can force myself to be tactful, yes, and I did. I desire to be kind, yes, and so I was. Kindness overcame the urge to say what I was thinking, and all was well.

I know I have no need to explain this, because you are thinking it too. But before any of us have a little chuckle, remember - we all dress guinea pigs. When you remember this the kindness and tact become much easier.

We all dress guinea pigs. I say this because I'm using the term as an analogy. All of us, you, me, and him over there, we all do things that don't actually serve any practical purpose whatsoever, but make us happy. Everybody. No exceptions. In fact, some people do far more absurd things. At least dressing guinea pigs is a relatively inexpensive and harmless hobby - so long as the guinea pig doesn't mind too much, and I daresay he appreciates the attention.

Other hobbies are more costly, and possibly involve some harm to other species, one way or another. We don't laugh at them, or give them a funny look, despite this. Why? Because they are mainstream hobbies.

Consider games. Probably the number one hobby these days. The vast majority of people play video or computer games. The time, money, and power resources could all be put to far better use, and if you wanted to you could put a case that gaming is damaging not only society, but the planet as a result. But that would be an incredibly unpopular idea. Dressing guinea pigs would come out far better, ethically, and in quite a few other ways, but it has no mob to support it.

But we chuckle at the idea because it's not our hobby, don't we. We actually have to catch ourselves before we say something derisory about it. We even pout at the suggestion that it's wrong to make fun of people who make clothes for guinea pigs. Spoilsport. We are abashed.

Ongoing active kindness and fairness is awfully difficult, isn't it. It requires so much thought, and it's easier not to think.

I'm not suggesting for one moment either that you give up your games, or start dressing guinea pigs. Each of us must spend our spare time in our own way. But that's all it is. Our way. Your way. My way. Her way. There is no right way, or best way. We could instead spare a moment to be grateful for having spare time at all.


  1. Very well said! Grateful to have the spare time to answer, and appreciative of your literary skills, my friend. ~ Blessings! :)

  2. Sometimes somebody has to state something that people will say was obvious. Exactly because it is so obvious to so many that we never give it any thought. But what if we did?