Lessons From Lucy

The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog

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Dave Barry has a dog. A nice girl named Lucy. I have a dog, a (pretty) good boy named Barney. Dave thinks he's learned a lot about how to live a better life from Lucy, and he compiled that learning into seven lessons, each with its own chapter. Spoiler alert, here they are:

  1. Make new friends. (And keep the ones you have.)
  2. Don't stop having fun. (And if you have stopped, start having fun again.)
  3. Pay attention to the people you love. (Not later. Right now.)
  4. Let go of your anger, unless it's about something really important, which it almost never is.
  5. Try not to judge people by their looks, and don't obsess over your own.
  6. Don't let your happiness depend on things; they don't make you truly happy, and you'll never have enough anyway.
  7. Don't lie unless you have a really good reason, which you probably don't.

Good things: Dave is best when he's being funny and observant of both his dog and his own life. There are a number of good yarns: about his awful band, the Rock Bottom Remainders; his work with the World Famous Lawn Rangers, a group whose members parade with a broom in one hand, pushing a lawn mower with the other; the reason he woke up in hung over in a hotel room with "NO SPLEEN" sharpied on his arm. And dog stories, of course.

But I have quibbles: the "lessons" are pretty much the ones you can derive dog-free, and dogs are optimized for dogginess anyway, not humanness. And, truth be told, when Dave is not being funny, he can be … a little preachy.

In fact, while reading, I was thinking: "Dave's a little preachy." When on page 184 I see Dave admitting that he's "maybe even a little preachy in places".

OK, all is forgiven, Dave.

And it turns out there's one last lesson. And this one is moving and pretty agonizing. I read Dave's blog, and he was absent for awhile. Ah, this explains why. Small spoiler: things turn out OK.