In which Rufus the Wonder Dog and Raffi the Dog of Destiny agitate four chirpy, flyey things.

The time: last week in the Dixon house.
The scene: the dining room.
Raffi the Dog of Destiny trots by the sliding glass door to the back yard. She looks outside to see four sparrows hop around in the grass just a few feet away. She calls to her older brother, Rufus the Wonder Dog. English translation follows:
Raffi: “Oh! Oh, Rufus, could you come here for a moment?”
Rufus: “Certainly, Raffi. What is it?”
Raffi: “Look. On the other side of the invisible barrier, just a few dog-lengths away — several of those chirpy flyey things hopping about in our grass!”
Rufus: “Chirpy flyey things! In our grass! Well, I must have some words with them!”
(Prepares to bark.)
Raffi: “No, Rufus! Your words, if you speak them loudly, will frighten away the chirpy flyey things even through the invisible barrier!”
Rufus: “But Raffi, I thought the entire goal was to make the chirpy flyey things leave our grass!”
Raffi: “That is the ultimate goal, certainly. But wouldn’t it be so much more enjoyable to startled the chirpy flyey things by leaping out at them and seeing them fly away in disarray?”
Rufus: “Obviously that would be preferable.”
Raffi: “Perhaps if we call to our humans quietly, one will come to our aid and move aside the invisible barrier so that we may leap at the chirpy flyey things and catch them unawares.”
Raffi: “Hello, humans.”
Rufus: “Er, ahem, humans.”
Raffi: “Could one of you humans come here, please?”
Raffi: “We’d really appreciate it if one of you humans would move aside the invisible barrier, please.”
Raffi: “No, really. We would.”
Rufus: “Honest.”
Raffi: “Hello, humans.”
Rufus: “Er, ahem, humans.”
(A human, hearing the dogs wurfing and growling, goes over and slides the glass door open. The dogs lunge outside as soon as the door is at all wide enough.)
Rufus: “Go away, chirpy flyey things!”
Raffi: “Go away! Go away!”
Rufus: “Go away! Go away!”
(The sparrows, astonished and agitated, leap into the air and fly to the nearest electrical wires.)
Sparrow #1: “The nerve!”
Sparrow #2: “What ruffians.”
Sparrow #3: “Fools!”
Sparrow #4: “This is an outrage.”
(The dogs take their victory lap around the back yard, trotting sprightly, tails wagging.)
Rufus: “Until we meet again, chirpy flyey things!”
Raffi: “Ha ha!”
. . . . .
Last Tuesday, I followed four teenaged boys into the Red Cross blood drive at the National Guard armory.
It turned out one of the boys was a first-time donor, and two of his friends were there just to show their support.
One of the volunteer ladies asked a supporter if he’d be interested in donating, too. He was honest enough to admit that he couldn’t handle the needle.
The volunteer lady agreed that was fair enough. Some people spend their entire lives not being able to stand the sight of blood or needles. It’s not something you have much control over.
Everyone involved was being throughly decent. Blood donating tends to bring that out in people.