Happy New Year, says the Owner.
What is New About It? I ask.
It is 2021, says the Owner. We have said Goodbye to 2020.
I am not ready to say Goodbye to it, I say. I always Knew you would Deceive Me in the End, I say. You have Funny Eyebrows, I say. I bet you have Put it in the Bin, I say.
I have not Put it Anywhere, says the Owner. 2020 is Over, says the Owner. Now it is 2021, says the Owner. Move On, says the Owner.
Not so fast, I say. I have not Agreed to 2021, I say. As Far as the Moral Dog is concerned it is still 2020, I say. December 32nd, I say.
There is no December 32nd, says the Owner.
I cannot believe you would Cast Away December 32nd as if it were of No Consequence, I say. In the process December 33rd doubtless gets No Attention At All, I say. They may be among 2020’s Greatest Days, I say.
I do not understand, says the Owner, why the Moral Dog is so determined to Hold On to 2020. It was the Year of the Shrinkage of Society and the Isolation of the Vulnerable, of Trump’s attempt to Undermine Democracy and of Federal Executions, of Brexit and Populism, of Trolls and Twitter, of Conspiracy Theorists and Islamic Extremists, of the Deriding of Liberal Values and Rational Science, of Intolerance in China and Catastrophic Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang and Belarus, of Right Wing Intolerance across Europe and the Loss of Many, Many People we have Loved in conditions of Loneliness and Fear. It was a Year of Disaster and Sorrow which has exposed the Great Limitations and Vulnerabilities of Humanity to, Above All Else, Ourselves. It was a Year of Great Loss and Pain and We Hope Not to see the Like of it Again.
There were also Good Things in 2020, I say. It was not All Bad, I say. You cannot Cast it Off like an Old Cardigan, I say. You must Hold On to All that is Good about it, I say.
The Moral Dog is Right, says the Owner. 2020 brought us Captain Tom and the Sofa Singers, Love and Solidarity, Cheering for the NHS and Zoom Cocktail Parties, Postmen Dressed as Fairies and Nonprofit Vaccine Development, Brave Sir Keir Challenging the Hapless Boris and recognition of Care Workers as More Useful than Billionaires, a Reduction in Global Carbon Emissions and an increase in Working from Home, same-sex Marriage in Northern Ireland and the Greatest Ever Voter Turnout in the US, Black Lives Matter and the Toppling of That Statue, Marcus Rashford and Free School Meals, the Announcement of the Abolition of the Tampon Tax and the Eradication of Wild Polio in Africa. The Moral Dog must have Meant all These Things, says the Owner.
I might have done, I say, accurately (albeit a little Misleadingly since, whilst I love the Sofa Singers I have no idea what Tampon Tax is and I suppose a Billionaire could be Quite Useful if he had made his money developing Cheese.)
Those things are all here with us in 2021, says the Owner. Hurrah, says the Owner.
I am more interested in the things that have not come with us to 2021, I say. The Things you have put in the Bin with 2020, I say. Owing to your Arbitrary Choice of December 31st as the last day of 2020, I say. Failing to recognise that the change from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar in October 1582 removed eleven days from the life of the world, I say. I have Eleven more Days of 2020 I say. Give it back, I say.
I cannot, says the Owner. Only the Present Exists, says the Owner.
That seems difficult to reconcile with the Theory of Relativity, I say. Relativity eliminates the concept of Absolute Simultaneity since Observers in different Frames of Reference obtain different measurements of whether a given pair of events happen Simultaneously or at Different Times, I say. In other words, I say, either there is no Physical Basis calling any Particular set of events the Present, I say or the Present and the Past and the Future can all Coexist, I say. Either they all Exist or None of them Exist, I say. And if None of them Exist there is no possible Explanation for the Existence of the Owner and the Moral Dog, I say. So I prefer the Latter Option, I say. In which 2020 is still Lurking under the Sink, I say. Give it back, I say. I know you have Put it in the Bin, I say. I can Smell It, I say.
2020 does not have a Smell, says the Owner.
Oh yes it does, I say, because I left my Cheese in it, I say.
That Cheese was No Good, says the Owner. Look, is has Green Bits on it, says the Owner. Its Use-By Date was the End of December, says the Owner. 2020, says the Owner. See, says the Owner.
Exactly, I say. It is Perfectly Edible on December 32nd, I say. Everyone Knows Green Cheese is the Best Sort, I say.
That Cheese is Positively Unhygienic, says the Owner.
I bet that’s what you said to 2020 when you threw it Casually Away, I say. All those Hopes, I say. All those dreams, I say. I cannot believe I have the Kind of Owner who would Arbitrarily Reject an Entire Year just to Prove a Point in the name of a Circular Argument regarding the Edibility of Cheese, I say.
I cannot believe this Entire conversation has been about Cheese, says the Owner.
The Moral Dog settles down to Enjoy his Green but Not-Yet-Expired Cheese from the comfort of December 32nd 2020. Clearly the Owner does not yet know her Moral Dog very well at all.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.