I wish humans had tails.
Sure, there would be some disadvantages to the tail-ifying of mankind. Clothing corporations would have to cut a small hole in pants, and it might take time for everybody to get accustomed to the new look. In the end, however, these few pitfalls are really more like speed bumps on the road to a more genuine society.
If people had tails like dogs, emotions would always have to be true. Tails would mean an end to our flawed system of emotional communication. Smiles can be faked, but a wagging tail is a sign of genuine happiness, an attribute that could be useful if brought into the human world.
A human tail that would react to emotions unconsciously, like a dog’s, would promote healthier and more honest relationships, assist in the protection of the lonely and depressed, and look fantastic when properly groomed.
I love my dog, Zola, and there are many things I appreciate about her, in addition to her marvelous tail. There are various aspects of her personality and lifestyle that I can apply to my life to make me a better person — no genetic mutations or dramatic surgeries necessary.
Of Zola’s talents, the one I appreciate most is her ability to listen. My puppy doesn’t bark much, and I’ve never heard her talk, so she is constantly listening. Zola most likely understands very little of what is said to her as her ears are scratched, but she has helped me understand that comprehension is secondary to attention.
Her loving eye contact and wagging tail is response enough, something I may have to remember when a friend tells me a long-winded story and I can’t relate.
I have been surprised to discover, through Zola, how functional someone can be while talking very little. She’s almost always completely silent and completely happy. There’s a lesson in that.
When I leave town, I’m (only slightly) ashamed to admit that I will probably miss Zola most out of everyone in my family. While a large part of this may be the aforementioned lack of talking, there are countless other reasons why it’s a joy to be around the pup.
Zola is always the first one to greet someone at the door, and she does so with unbridled enthusiasm.
She’s always willing to play; she never holds a grudge. She forgives quickly, sleeps soundly. She waits for permission to come down the stairs, rings a bell on the door when she needs to go outside and relieve herself, and never fails to show her passion for nature and wildlife, most notably squirrels.
Most importantly, Zola loves her family, completely, unfailingly and unconditionally. She lives the selfless agape love that I learned about in religion class more fully than any human I know.
If everyone had these qualities minus, perhaps, the bell-ringing, I can guarantee the improvement would be obvious. I can guarantee that if everyone had her exuberance and her capacity to love, the world would be a happier place. And there would be no better way to display this genuine joy than, of course, with tails.
(Jacob, a Dominican High School, Whitefish Bay, senior is the eldest of the four Scobey-Polacheck children.)