Pigeon-Holers Progressive?

BY PAUL READ

I have learned so many new words and phrases in recent years but ‘progressive’ could be my favourite. It’s a great word but, unfortunately, one that has been adopted by a certain group of people who like things to fit into nice, neat little pigeon-holes. After all, if you’re not progressive, politically, then you must be regressive, obviously. Regressive is bad, progressive is good is the presumption. The problem with that is that it’s a Utopian stance, real-life is not like that. Our best inventors, scientists, musicians, engineers, artists etc. didn’t fit in nice little boxes.

In fact, by far the majority of people who make a success of their lives tend to be lateral-thinkers, they think outside the box and refuse to be constrained by such limitations. As Captain Kirk said, “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario”, nor do I. I built both a career and a business by thinking outside the box and I’m not ready to accept such constraints any time soon.

That said, I don’t mind if others do, I do mind if others expect me to toe their line.

That brings me nicely to education, a hotbed of lines to be toed and pigeon-holes to be filled these days rather than one of investigation, learning to think and drawing sound conclusions. It’s not rocket science but progressive rockets would never get off the ground, they would be festooned in regulations and warning notices.

I first noticed this when my vet turned up to look at one of the horses, not that I have any issues with my vet you understand, he knows his stuff. It was the newly-qualified vet he had in tow that caused concern. I should point out at this juncture that my daughter knows about horses, quite a lot about horses. Anyway, we’d called the vet out to look at a relatively minor issue, I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say treatment required prescription drugs and the vet normally wants to examine them before prescribing. The conversation went something like this:

Daughter: Hi

Vet: Hi, what’s the problem?

Daughter: Touch of ***, a short course of *** should sort it

Newbie: That’s not the preferred treatment for ***

Vet: Listen and learn, the lady knows her stuff (examines horse)

Vet: I concur (hands over medication)

A simple case of real-world experience over academic-only rote-learning.

A similar thing happened with one of the dogs, a blond Labrador from a Crufts-winning line. They’re bred to be pretty, rather than robust, so there are often invisible defects. Not that we had time to consider his lineage as we took him in because his owner’s family were splitting up. It turned out he was epileptic so a visit to the vet was arranged. The same vet as above plus the same newly-qualified vet.

The required medication was on the tip of the tongue for the newly-qualified vet. I am not unfamiliar with epilepsy in dogs so I suggested, given it was minor, I would like to try a different approach. That didn’t go down well with the newly-qualified vet, my vet asked questions. The problem with epilepsy medication is once they’re on it, it’s forever. I wanted to monitor, record frequency and severity of fits and review in a few months. Managing a dog during a fit is not hard provided the fits are minor.

We found the frequency to be around four weeks and the severity always minor but the most interesting part was discovering a ‘trigger’, being woken from deep sleep would almost certainly result in a fit. Most fits coincided with the postman arriving so, when we saw the postman approaching, we gently woke the dog. Just a change in environment made all the difference, he’s never been on medication and his fits remain minor and manageable, unlike his brother.

His brother went on medication immediately the problem was noticed, he’s dead now, a grand mal fit saw to that. It wasn’t the medication though; it was his new owner’s refusal to manage the environment to suit a highly-strung animal.

For this and other reasons I am deeply suspicious of anything ‘progressive’ these days. Still, when they screech ‘educate yourselves’ on social media it brings a little smile to my lips as I imagine them screeching to themselves in a mirror.

They truly do need to ‘educate themselves’.