Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Counting butterflies and other ethical issues

Bessy chased a butterfly as Felix and I sat drinking our tea. Felix, in his understated manner, said she'd start world war three. I disagreed but, to be on the safe side, called Bessy and put the lead on her. Butterflies have a way of pitching up in unfamiliar contexts, though whether that concerns them or not is something I honestly don't know.

As we were removing a wisdom tooth this morning, Cookie removed her wires and asked if by removing the tooth I would be destroying something intimate within Joe Farfar's mouth. Since the tooth was already half way out of the socket I felt a twinge of guilt that, with all my experience, I had never considered this possibility. To be honest, I wasn't sure what Cookie was talking about but ceased the procedure out of politeness to her and her opinion. Seeing that I was waiting for her to build on her premise, she swiftly put the wires back in and said no more, leaving me with the ethical dilemma I wouldn't have had, had she not said anything.

I considered the options and decided that a tooth - like most people - has to find itself all out alone at some stage in its life, and now was as good a time as any. Joe seemed less than chirpy when, having spent the lunchtime deliberating the issue, I finally removed the tooth. I warned him that the wrong decision might have started world war three. He asked if I had made it. That posed another ethical issue so I didn't answer.

Cookie, I suspect, is seeking intimacy with the white rectangle she is always walking around with. I suppose these things must be possible in this day. It makes me wonder if it is possible for Bessy, instead of chasing the butterfly, to snuggle up and tell it secrets too. For the sake of the ephemeral thing they call world peace, I hope so.

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