The Dog & the Fire Hydrant

While doing some research on clichés for my Valentine’s Day post a while back, I came across one that didn’t quite sit right with me:

Sometimes you’re the dog; sometimes you’re the fire hydrant.

It’s not that I didn’t get it, I just thought it left so little to the imagination. When I Googled it to see where it came from, I found this article that tried to offer some context by comparing it to Mark Knopfler’s song, “The Bug”:

Sometimes you’re the windshield
Sometimes you’re the bug
Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes you’re just a fool in love
Sometimes you’re the Louisville Slugger
Sometimes you’re the ball
Sometimes it all comes together
Sometimes your gonna lose it all

Listen, I get it, they’re just clichés. And trust me, I love clichés. I love that they offer a creative way to say something ordinary. Plus, in knowing my grandpa, my dad, and now my brother, I hear them all the time. But this one…it just doesn’t do it for me. It makes us all sound so two-dimensional. As if we’re only ever going to be the dog or the fire hydrant; the bug or the windshield; the bat or the ball, when the truth is, we have the potential to be an infinite number of things in between. In fact, it’s that healthy blend of the in-between that makes life so colorful.

So I say strive to be more than the obvious. Don’t box yourself into the possibilities that seem most plausible. Check “maybe” instead of “yes” or “no.” Be grey instead of black or white. Be the fire truck instead of the dog or the hydrant. Be the windshield wiper instead of the bug or the window. Be the pitcher instead of the bat or the ball. Have it all together, lose some of it, and then find more than you thought you ever could. Don’t be this or that, be you.

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