Have you ever been glad that you didn't miss the opportunity to say no to a job
which would have turned out to be the pits? I have. I think all of us can look
back on life and realize that we all have had this type of experience as well as
similar others, though I wonder if you have ever given them much thought. Recently,
I have. While none of mine are earth shaking, I still derive pleasure from being in
a time and place where I missed some experiences which I had thought were good,
but in reality, came to realize they were not.
SEA WORLD. One Sunday many years ago when Sea World was still in
Aurora, Ohio -my two sisters and I thought we should see these great captive Orcas
My two sisters are like two peas in a pod. Their lives seem to mirror each other
in many ways. They both married and had 4 children. Sadly, each lost a child in
their 30's. Each bought new homes. I stayed in my small immigrant parent's home
and was content to remain in the city of my birthplace. I was the middle child and
obviously so very different from both of them. So, when we had some sort of spat
this particular Sunday -which I don't even recall what it was about, it was decided
that they would go off without me. I did little to object as I was probably in the
Years later and becoming so very disillusioned about keeping these huge mammals in
captivity, I was glad that I never paid a dime to see them in this terribly wrong place.
They belonged in the ocean where they could swim and fish and do whatever the
Creator meant Orcas to do.
Some years later, Sea World left Ohio. I was not sorry to see them go. As for my
sisters, I don't know if they want to list Sea World as one of their fond memories, but
I know that I was glad that I can't.
LOBSTER DINNER. This remembrance is hazy, but I remember that for some
reason I missed this invitation to a lobster dinner "treat." Maybe at the time,
I might have been looking forward to it and even kicked myself for missing
it, but today I'm glad that I missed it.
There are different thoughts about whether the lobsters suffer or not when immersed
in hot, boiling water. For me, I believe that they do indeed suffer. Maybe their pain
receptors are not as refined as ours, but if they suffer any pain at all, I'm so glad that
I can say that I personally never caused it. And of course today, I have no desire to eat
lobster at all.
MAKEUP. I seem to have resented in my tween years that all the girls started
wearing makeup. I just couldn't understand the need to "paint" our faces. Was it
because I felt the Blessed Virgin Mary didn't wear makeup or was it that I believed
that we were just fine without it? It may have been a combination of both thoughts,
though it was also probably true that this plain Jane couldn't be much improved by
using them anyway. My sisters were the beauties - not I.
Then many years later when an adult, I found out about the cruel cosmetic testing
being done on innocent animals. So, I have always been grateful for my decision to
not use cosmetics. That primarily dogs were forced to ingest cosmetics in the 50/50
test until half of them died from what must have been agonizing stomach pain, was
horrible and cruel to me and others.
That rabbits were immobilized and had eye cosmetics smeared on their eyes must
have been agonizingly painful. I remember the small pain I felt after getting
something in my eye and wishing to get the irritant removed as soon as possible.
In their case - it was no small irritant but caustic substances. They also shaved some
fur from the side of their bodies and brushed their raw skin with other cosmetics. This
certainly too had to be horribly painful. The more I learned about how corporations
and research labs used innocent animals, the more despondent and angered I became.
CIRCUSES. What youngster didn't always dream about seeing a circus? I guess
I was no different. Seeing the circus coming to town - parading their clowns and
animals down a main street indeed looked interesting and fun. I'm glad though
that there was no extra money in our family budget for this kind of "fun." Today I
would not attend a circus which featured animals even if I was given a free ticket. When
I learned about how many of the circus animals were being treated, I was horrified.
I think the elephants particularly suffer the most. They are forced to perform unnatural
acts with the help of an ankus, a long instrument curved sharply at the end, which the
animal handlers prodded the elephants with to make them perform these acts. The
elephants also must have suffered a great deal while being transported from venue to
venue in tight train quarters in all types of weather. I read that in distress, many of them
would sway back and forth. I am deeply saddened that we pay money to see these poor
animals suffer. I am also saddened that circus promotions are often used to raise
money for benefits.
FISHING. I almost forgot about this one. It was the 70's and my Cousin Tom, through
marriage, had been helping me with the million and one things needing to be done
in my house or any house for that matter. He was very handy, very kind, and oh so
generous with his precious little spare time. The whole extended family depended on
him for household repairs, and I don't think he ever refused anyone who needed his
Then one day, out of the blue, I asked him to take me fishing. He didn't outright say
no, but I sensed that perhaps it was not his favorite time away from work. Sadly,
whether he ever intended to take me fishing or not, I'll never know, because on the
coming 4th of July, he suffered a fatal heart attack at his daughter's place- playing
some sort of physical sport - maybe volley ball. I can't recall. A tragedy indeed for
all of us who depended so much on him and certainly his family was grief-stricken.
Of course, coming to terms with death is hard for most of us as we try to find something
positive about someone dying so suddenly and at a relatively young age. But yes, for
people of faith - we felt certain he was heaven bound. I did envy him that. One day
I believe that I will see him and all my family - both human and animal again. And, I'll
search him out and say -thanx Tom, for not taking me fishing!
Today I would never want to harm a fish in anyway. I believe there is cruelty involved
in this endeavor. I understand that if you use live bait, the worm has to be pierced and
hooked unless you use the artificial bait. And when the fish takes the bait, the hook cuts
into his mouth. This must be painful. Once out of the water, I imagine the fish gasps for
air until he dies. Anyone who has breathing problems knows the feeling all too well.
Since I was lucky enough to never go fishing - these are my impressions about it - right
or wrong. Not saying that there weren't times in the past when people needed to fish to
survive. I am only saying that at one time I had looked upon it as a fun experience. I
was wrong. And since I haven't eaten fish for the past 30 years, I certainly don't need
fish to survive.
RODEOS. I shutter every time on TV I see a promotional re rodeos. Again, we are
using these poor animals to do our behests - no matter the discomfort or cruelty we
mete out to them. Here's another venue you could never entice me with a free ticket
to attend. Somehow, when I think of rodeos, the image of a frightened calf being
chased down by a man on horseback who finally lassoes him down to the ground
with a crashing halt. Sometimes the calf suffers broken bones and this must be
extremely painful to him as the cowboy ropes him up - jarring those broken, bleeding
I remember reading someone's take on the rodeos, and she wrote that it is a pity that
that after all the noise and hoopla has died down and the venue is emptied, those
exiting patrons don't go behind the scenes and see the suffering animals with their
bleeding wounds and broken bones. Some will have to be put down and sold for
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