The little pocket gopher

Once upon a time there was a little pocket gopher named Kipper.  He lived as all pocket gophers do, under the ground.  He had just the right claws to dig, just the right eyes to see, just the right nose and whiskers, and all that, you understand; all that  he needed to be a  a great pocket gopher. Although his life was filled with struggles finding food, providing for his family, and earning a living, he was happy as any little pocket gopher could be.

And as time went by he got old.  He aged. He became confused, not in any demented sense, but he was unsettled about himself, although he didn’t know it at the time. Until one day he met someone who opened his eyes to himself and his past. So he sat around in his burrow and re remembered his youth, his youngster-hood, his teen years, and all the rest of it. His life changed.

Things that were confusing or dark became light and clear with new positive meaning for the little pocket gopher. His spirit soared with the eagles, as Chief Dan George said in the movie, “Little Big Man.” He began to write his stories and soon he was writing his feelings, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry.  He wrote them on scrolls and left them in the main tunnel for other pocket gophers to read and understand his journey.He believed he had new insights into himself and felt a new pocket gopher was emerging, a happy, positive, optimistic pocket gopher.  His friends and family remarked on the change.  “You are renegotiating your life,” his spouse said.  “You have found your voice” his new friend said.There was something his daughter said also, but he forgot.  It was along the same lines.

So the pocket gopher thought he had found his GIFT, the one that the Great Spirit had given him and he set about to use it to help the old ones to tell their stories.  He felt great. He felt on top of the world. New interests abounded.

And then he got caught in a pocket gopher trap. Well not caught exactly, snared would be more like it. Snared by the opinion of others.  His family.

When he felt good about himself, he wanted to try new things. But they said, “Don’t go out and look at the beautiful birds,” said one, “they’re dirty and if anyone sees you looking at them, they will come and paint you red, and everyone will know what you have done.  What would your children think? or your grandchildren? or your great-grand children? I have to ask you not to do that anymore. And stop wearing feathers into the house.”

And another said, “Why did you paint such an awful picture, why did you copy such a hateful thing and post it where others can see it.  Don’t you know how hateful it was? What were you thinking? Please take it down, now.” and her sister agreed. They felt it necessary to control the little pocket gopher’s behavior with stern criticism masked by affection and caring.

And a third said, “Please don’t post things you know nothing about.  We didn’t say that, and you caused us a great deal of stress by saying that publicly in one of your poems. From now on restrict your thinking in the future to yourself, if you please, and think before you speak or write or anything.”

Finally, his favorite cousin wrote, “You have written on the wrong wall. Remember this is my public wall and not my private wall.  Remove it before anyone sees what you have done.”

He was hurt and confused.  Had he gone too far?  Had his new personality led him to irresponsibilities?  Should he quit or merely restrict his behavior?  Didn’t they have the right to say so when displeased? Then why was he hurt by their comments.  Could they have said them better? less critical or less damning?  Was he hypersensitive in his new skin? Who else but those who loved him would tell him if he made mistakes?

And when the little gopher went out into the big deep dark tunnel to think quietly to himself, he recognized the feelings :anger, hurt, rebellion, pride, and hostility that were in him.  He gave himself time to let them cool and he wrote this story.  He knows they were right, but he was becoming.  How do you take criticism from others when you are running way from a life of criticism toward yourself?

“Fuck it if they can’t take a joke!”, Murphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

[This story will never be posted due to fear of criticism.]

4 thoughts on “The little pocket gopher

  1. Gosh, if all gophers posted only stuff they know about, the blogs would be kind of scarce. I think we gophers know a little about a lot of things. So, I would tell Kipper not to get too out of sorts. Randall P. McMurphy has it right and the cuckoo’s nest is not limited to a building. Kipper should just keep sharing his opinions and inviting of others and he is ahead of the game. Great work, BTG

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The interesting things about self expression and freedom of speech , is for it to be real and true freedoms it applies to everyone Even critics. Put ourselves on display opens those freedoms up to others. As one person said if you don’t like it don’t read it. I would beg to ask how do you know you don’t like it until you’ve read it? Reading your poem about AWESOME the point was made that nothing can be awesome if everything is awesome.

    Truth be told people will have those criticisms whether they post them or not. The fact that they post them is probably because they respect you enough to provide feedback and doing so publicly also educates others on the topic.
    Critics have a right to their opinions as does the writer they may be criticizing. The power of those comments to inflict pain is when we (the writer give that power away) or let what other people think weigh more heavily on us or change our opinion of our own work.
    The gophers journey is his own, the whys and how’s and for whom only he can know. If he’s doing it for public approval that will have one outcome. If he’s doing it for personal healing and taking up his rightful place on the planet only he can judge if that’s been attained. That he had the courage to go in the tunnel and reflect sounds like it added perspective. Only he will know if it’s beneficial.

    It’s hard stuff sharing creative work publicly as there are so many ways to interpret. Add to it if there is some deeply personal and therapeutic components those can be even more raw with emotional triggers.
    The gopher needs to do what works for him. Knowing also that the hovers family and friends bare the same rights and responsibilities in doing what works for them.
    Great writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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