My dog, Bill Belichick and me

I knew something was wrong when I found myself scolding my dog for her lack of “situational awareness.”

Holly, the lovely impediment to my ambulatory progress

Actually, at least two things were wrong. First, it was clear I’d watched one too many Bill Belichick press conferences. Second, I had grossly overreacted to my dog’s tendency to pause whenever she crosses a threshold or otherwise stand in front of wherever I happen to want to go.

“Situational awareness!” I shouted as I nudged Holly with my knee, perturbed because it was taking an extra second to move into the kitchen. Then I started laughing at the absurdity of my actions. Later, though, on our walk with her brother, Buddy, I thought about what could be winding me up so tightly. (Still haven’t quite put my finger on it.)

I also thought about Belichick, his lexicon and his adroit verbal aikido during the press conferences the New England Patriots head coach clearly doesn’t enjoy.

“It is what it is,” has become a ubiquitous, impossible-to-refute mantra applied to any situation around these parts. Though Belichick certainly didn’t invent the phrase, he has popularized it. (See also “Football players play football.”)

In fact, I’ve contemplated fashioning a nifty bingo card from his nonresponses to reporters’ questions after each game. Just trying to compete … what’s best for the football team … all three phases of the game? Bingo!

Of course, some smarty-pants types at Harvard have already done me one better, writing a computer program that can spit out Belichickian responses in a variety of situations.

Situational awareness. The aforementioned program has it, so why doesn’t my dog?

Why don’t I?

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