|The smartest dumbest dog on the block.|
In Catch-22 Joseph Heller described a character who's been to the best schools, earned the highest degrees, and still does incredibly stupid stuff, as someone with "a lot of intelligence and no brains."
Rita Mae Brown once wrote that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
And here we see Dickens, digging frantically for the tennis ball that just five minutes ago I pulled out from under the deck where he drops it about once every half-hour. I put a piece of firewood in front of the edge of the deck, but by now he's moved so much dirt that the ball rolls right under it. When this happens he digs and barks and dig and barks. Neither of these strategies has ever rewarded him with the ball except indirectly, when I get tired of the digging and barking and reach in there and get it. Whereupon he grabs it from me, runs around the yard joyously, and eventually goes right back to the same spot where he drops it again. And barks. And digs.
Dickens has learned so much in the short time he's been here. He sits without being told when I put his food bowl down, and when I open the door to the back yard. He heels nicely on a leash, and sits when we stop.
So why can't he learn not to drop that stupid ball down the same stupid hole every half hour?