Why Does Everyone Else’s Plate Look Tastier?

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

That’s turning out not to be true at our house.

My 15 ½ year old dog, Darla, so sharp, she’s taught herself.

Do I sound pleased?

Because I’m not.

This trick involves the cat.

Darla has lived every day of her life with a cat.

She’s never shown any interest in the dry cat food I leave down for the diva, I mean, the cat.

A couple weeks ago, something turned on in that bionic dog nose or a switch flipped in her mildly senile dog brain.

Darla discovered the cat food.

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She now looks for any opportunity to tippy toe over to that bowl lick it so clean it looks like it just came out of the dishwasher.

So, now I have to pick up the cat food.

I would tell you what the cat has to say about that, but this is a family newspaper.

Have you lived with a cranky cat?

Exactly.

Not that cat is innocent in all this.

She insists on eating the dog’s food.

As soon as Cat hears the dog food can snap open, she flops herself down on the kitchen floor like a fish out of water, bellowing her longings like a washed up opera star until she gets just a little nibble. And if I don’t hold her, she’ll make a beeline for the dog plate as soon as I feed Darla.

Pisa, the 3-legged cat, will sleep on the kitchen floor just to be in place should any dog food appear.

Pisa, the 3-legged cat, will sleep on the kitchen floor just to be in place should any dog food appear.

Oh, but there’s more.

I’m talking the humans who also live under this roof.

Husband says he wants a healthy dinner. “No carbs or cheese,” requests the reincarnation of Jack LaLanne.

The kids say the more pasta and cheese, the better.

Fine.

Salmon for him.

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Mac n’cheese for the kids.

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I watch dinnertime in amazement as Husband digs in for “just a few bites” of mac n’cheese and the girls devour the salmon that they could never admit they like, at risk of losing their Teen Card.

Dear Reader, I have one simple wish.

Can everyone just eat their own food?

Keep your eyes on your own plate, people!

Between juggling plates, it occurs to me that a bigger force might be at work here.

We all have our eyes on someone else’s plate, don’t we?

Do you find yourself thinking what someone else has on their plate looks so much better?

Do you find yourself thinking what someone else has on their plate looks so much better?

I can be so guilty of this.

A glance at that person’s marriage.

A peek at how someone else’s career is doing.

The way those people are raising their kids.

They all seem so happy.

So much happier.

Just when it’s tempting enough to want to shout, “I’ll have what they’re having!” a reminder slaps my straying fork back.

The perfect couple announces they’re splitting.

The super successful professional shares he’s miserable in his job.

Those kids have serious mental health challenges.

It’s just enough to retrain this old dog— I need keep my eyes on my own plate. There’s plenty to enjoy right here.

Have I shared how much fun it is to watch my old dog hunt for the missing cat food?

 

Please catch my weekly newspaper column in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.

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Why Does Everyone Else’s Plate Look Tastier?

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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