Heel, Sit, Stay


Contributing Editor
Walter W. Pickut

If you’re happy wherever you are, it doesn’t matter where you are.

Dogs know that better than we do. If your dog can learn the seven basic commands, it’s never going to hear a discouraging word. And your best friend will always be happy. That’s a kind of freedom.

Expert canine trainer Brandon McMillan, author and Emmy Award–winning host of TV’s Lucky Dog, says those seven basic commands are: Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Off, and No.

That doesn’t quite work for you and me, though, does it? After all, our lives and our big, fat human brains are a little too complex for that.

Trouble is, now that I’m thinking about it, maybe that really is enough. What if you were actually confident you were doing your life the best you could, respected and loved by those who matter most to you? That might be enough for any of us to be happy where we are.

So, now that summer is here, I’m wondering about vacations. Maybe our “best friends” have an idea worth considering. Would your good dog have to go someplace else to be more content?

That’s why this week your Jamestown Gazette invites readers to consider a staycation for your vacation, right here near home. You’re the one who brings contentment to where you are. It’s not where you are that brings you contentment.

Besides, with gas prices almost vying with mortgage payments, and resort costs comparable to space travel this year, why risk your contentment on a far-away vacation?

Author and inspirational speaker, Rob Hill, Sr., says, “My goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from.”

And what better time to celebrate home and freedom than July 4, 2022, Independence Day? Today, our nation is not a colony, a possession of another nation, and has not been since we said so—since we declared it so. That was nearly 250 years ago, but the notion of independence is still in question for many nations around the world. It’s still an experiment.

But independence is also a challenge for each of us. We invite our readers this year to take the Fourth of July personally. We all risk getting lost in the crowd of public opinion, herd-think, and conformity to so-called “right thinking.”

B. R. Ambedkar, who headed the committee that drafted the Constitution of India, had personal independence in mind when he said,

“Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.”

Happy Independence Day. Enjoy the fireworks, the good food, and all your great friends. And this year make it a day to declare your own independence. Be your own best friend. Choose your own contentment.

And of course, sit, stay, and enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.