Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Going to the dogs

     For a supposedly smart guy, I can be pretty thick sometimes. I suppose that's true for everyone, in one situation or another. But each specific instance nevertheless comes as a surprise. Our private defaults must assume we're perfect. No wonder life can be so disappointing.
     I was trucking to my gate in O'Hare a few weeks back, heading to Colorado, and I passed this gate.
     Gate K9. Like the K-9 corps in the Army, thought I.
     Established in World War II. Known as "Dogs for Defense." Training German shepherds and sheep dogs and such for sentry duty. The hope was to also use dogs to sniff out wounded soldiers on battlefields, but that never worked out.
     Also in police departments.
     And here I had the thought that I can't quite believe.
     I wonder how they came up with the designation "K9"?
     Why that particular letter and number? What was their significance?
     I chewed on the puzzle for only a moment.
     And then it struck me.
     Oooooooo. "K9." CANINE. Latin for "doglike." Now I get it.
     How could I not realize that until now? It seems almost impossible. Maybe I did realize it but then forgot. Which might even be worse. Either way, I don't see any harm in admitting it here. In fact, I see a benefit. Admitting mistakes is important, because even though we all make them, many people just can't seem to do it preferring to cling to error, out of habit, despite overwhelming evidence. Because they think that makes them look better, to be in the Never Wrong club. I refute that. Like any skill, admitting error should be practiced, as a kind of intellectual exercise, to keep our minds limber. 


  1. I'm not sure realizing a failure to grasp the obvious is a mistake . Believing that the K9 corps consisted of cats would be. Your head slap , duh moment happens to most of us and yes we are often rue to admit it. I am mistaken so often I lose track.

  2. If you're always right, you never learn a thing.

    Still, I like being right.


  3. Funny you should mention K9. I came to a similar revelation from the opposite direction, in a way, back when I was in grade school and we were first introduced to the concept of Latin names for things, such as Canis or "canine" referring to dogs. Thus I was amazed when Officer Friendly brought his police dog to school one day, and I noticed he had arrived in squad car K9. "Wow!" I thought. "Canine! K9! I wonder if anyone has ever mentioned that to him?"

    My own massive, adult-era "Duh" moment came when I idly mentioned to my wife that, all the way from childhood, I never understood that sight gag in the closing credits of the "Flintstones" cartoon, when a carhop at the drive-in diner hangs a big curving thing on the side of Fred's car that causes it to tip over. "You mean that slab of dinosaur ribs?" she said. (Pause while 45 years of baffled ignorance by Yrs Truly comes crashing down.) "Oh, yes, ribs. Thanks for that..."

    1. Wow. Today I Learned, as they say. Ribs were not in my family's wheelhouse. I don't know if I ever had a slab of ribs before I was about 30. I also "never understood that sight gag in the closing credits of the 'Flintstones' cartoon, when a carhop at the drive-in diner hangs a big curving thing on the side of Fred's car that causes it to tip over." It didn't make a shred of sense, but I thought it was a chaise lounge, or piece of lawn furniture, or something. What it's doing at a drive-in, and why Fred is salivating over it just didn't register. "Big curving thing" describes it exactly as I would have. D'oh! Oh, yes, ribs. (Which clearly get a shout-out on the drive-in's sign, now that I review the footage...) Uh, thanks for that, Andy!

  4. I clicked one of those internet click baits saying if you were over a certain age you wouldn't get the message in some company logos. Like the Amazon A to Z, the FedEx arrow and the Baskin and Robbins 31. I see it now once it was pointed out but I didn't see it before. K9 makes sense, but I wouldn't have thought about it if you didn't point it out. I'll never look at it the same way again.

  5. I'm a Leo, an August lion. My former vanity plate was "LEO 9"--as in "leonine"...

    Only because I couldn't get LEO 037...as in...Leo right-side-up AND Leo upside-down.

  6. LOL, the only time where stupid me knew the origin of something before Neil Steinberg.
    That's the fun of having some intelligence, realizing what a dope you are sometimes :)


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