‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’

My wife and I were exhausted. We had a busy week and were enjoying a quiet weekend, so we decided to take a short nap. When we woke a short while later, I couldn’t get The Hollies and their 1969 song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” out of my head. 

A song with meaning

The song goes: 

“The road is long,

With many a winding turn,

That leads us to who knows where, who knows where,

But I’m strong,

Strong enough to carry him,

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

The song was on repeat in my brain because I felt like I was carrying a 7-ton African Bush Elephant on my back. I’m suggesting an elephant, but it could have been anything heavy, a meteorite, rocket ship, skyscraper, boulder, my entire family. In reality, I wasn’t carrying anyone or anything. Instead, Nittany, our Llhasa Apso – Bichon Frise dog, had decided to jump on the bed, while we slept, and had curled up in the warmest spot, the crook of my legs. 

Time to cry ‘uncle’

Most days, Nittany weighs in at anywhere from 15 to 20 pounds. When she lays on you, though, she magically adds another 100 to 200 pounds to her fluffy, petite body. You fall asleep stretched out and relaxed, you wake up feeling like you’ve got this enormous weight on you, like you’ve been knocked out in a Mixed Martial Arts Championship Match.  

But here’s the challenge: I could have done without the extra weight (and the smelly dog-breath and dog-stinkers) on my body, but when Nittany looks up at you, a mixture of sleep, sadness, and complete and utter trust filling her eyes, it’s hard to get too angry or to say no.

Oh, okay, okay, stay where you are Nittany. When I get up, I’ll just hunt down that damn bottle of Advil again!

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