The Charlie Bravo Story

My dog FRAPS in public.

Dad here; one of the pleasures of having a pack of goofy dogs is the chance to watch them engage in a fit of the “zoomies”. The technical term is “FRAPS”, or Frenetic Random Activity Periods, of which Charlie is the queen. She will suddenly take off tearing around the yard in wild abandon, fleeing in mock terror from an unseen pursuer, only to instantly switch from hunted to huntress, at least in her mind.

This confuses the other dogs, who find it more than a bit disconcerting to be chasing the Charles only to find themselves suddenly in the cross hairs of a sleek black torpedo. I attribute her condition to an inability to contain the joie de vivre, the “joy of life”; she can only keep it pent up for so long before it has to come bursting forth. Whether its riding the motorcycle, flouncing around in the mountains, or even hunkering in the back yard, Charlie is the Queen of Wild Abandon.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah described it as “the fire shut up in my bones”; as we humans age and “mature”, I wonder at the effect to out mental and physical health when we don’t occasionally FRAP right out loud, even in public. If you have that fire shut up in your bones, one of two things must happen: it has to find a way out, or it will burn you up from the inside. Could this be why older people sometimes have a more dour outlook on life? The joy has been suppressed for so long that it no longer burns, but has been burned out?

Imagine a motorcycle engine: air is taken in, and is mixed with fuel and fire; the resulting explosion creates compression, which causes the pistons to move. This power is transferred to the rear wheel via the drivetrain, and the result of this reaction is that Charlie gets the thrill she lives for,to go rocketing through the curves like a mad dog, ears popping and lips peeled back in the wind. But you can take the most finely tuned engine and restrict it’s exhaust, giving that byproduct of combustion no place to escape, and the amazing piece of freewheeling engineering is transformed into just another lump of metal parts bolted together.

Joy has to come out to result in a prime case of the zoomies.

The old saying goes “dance like no one is watching”; if we’re going through life not doing at least slightly embarrassing things, then I would submit we’re probably doing it wrong. Sometimes those actions go awry and you might find yourself on the ground, but you can still rise like a phoenix from the ashes. When I had my wreck, resulting in a ruptured colon and a few months spending time pooping where one has no business pooping, DOWN MY SIDE, into a BAG!, it didnt surprise me when many asked the inevitable question:

Are you going to quit?

What did surprise me was the the look of relief on their faces when I said no, but was definitely thinking “Hell, no!!!”. I then realized how many people live vicariously through the actions of others, and our actions may be the only release that they will ever dare. This is why we share our adventures, not as a way of “showing off”, but to whom much is given, much is required. While a musician is also playing for their own sanity, ultimately it’s their responsibility to reach an audience that matters; a gift is meant to be given, otherwise it’s just a box.

So the next time you’re laughing at your dog zooming or shovel-heading around the house or even chasing her tail, pause and consider: you’re the one watching your dog chase her tail; you might want to try it some time.

But chase your own, not the dog’s; doing slightly embarrassing things is a good thing, but there is a place where it just gets weird.

Charke diem!

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