If you watch NCIS, you know what I’m talking about. It’s that silent, unsmiling stare former United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper, turned Special Agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Gibbs, uses when he is not pleased. I liken it to The Mommy Look.
It’s not a look of condescendence or arrogance. But it is a look of total control and authority. One that communicates extreme displeasure with words or deeds occurring, or being contemplated. It evokes total confessions from hardened criminals and insolent teens alike. It dissuades terrorists, hooligans, and other assorted bad guys from continuing in their wicked ways. In fact, on NCIS it stopped an armed attack on a women’s shelter. It’s a look that demands respect and corrective action, usually resulting in questionable or undesirable activities coming to an instantaneous halt. When performed correctly, the look is effective as a stand-alone—no words required. It’s a look of which most thinking people do not like to be recipients.
Bandit gave Moggy that look this past weekend.
It occurred during a quick trip to Houston to check on elderly relatives. The weekend was one of confinement to the close quarters of the car and hotel room. As you know, close quarter confinement can induce fighting amongst even the most loving of families. Our little traveling
zoo, I mean family, was no exception.
The Boys actually did quite well for most of the weekend. They respected each other’s personal space and played well together. They raced against each other to fetch the raccoon when I tossed it. Bandit retrieved it every time; however, because he had the competition of Moggy, he actually played fetch for more than his normal 1-3 retrievals before settling down for a good death shake and chew. Competition, it would seem, is the way to entice Bandit to play a socially acceptable game of fetch for a fairly extensive period of time—as opposed to his normal passive-aggressive game of, I’ll go get it, if I feel like it, and stop just short of your reach—if I decide to return it at all. The time I spent in the presence of The Boys was pleasant (i.e. no barring of teeth, growling, barking, pawing, or bloodshed). And then the inevitable occurred—one trespassed on the others personal space. As usual, the trespasser was Moggy.
I was impressed with Bandit’s restraint. He didn’t growl or bare his teeth at Moggy. He didn’t strike out and paw him. He didn’t yank anything away from Moggy—well except for the one time Moggy got a hold of the tip of raccoons tail—but, in Bandit’s defense, the majority of the raccoon was in his possession. Bandit didn’t sulk or pout. He didn’t hid or pee on anything of Moggy’s—except for the tunnel—but that was my fault because I was taking my time before taking Bandit outside—I became absorbed in writing an email at the time Bandit first told me he needed to relieve himself. I didn’t want to lose my train of thought, and I distractedly murmured “We’ll go outside in just a minute.” Bandit had been good all day while I visited the relatives. When Moggy started playing Pawsie with Bandits paws, Bandit decided he had had enough! And since he was fully loaded, he pranced over to the tunnel and hiked his leg. I was able to call him down before he soaked the tunnel—and I finished the email after we attended to Bandits facility-visiting needs. The next time Moggy got on Bandit’s nerves, and he was tired of Moggy’s incessant kitten-ness, Bandit could have become aggressive, or even passive-aggressive, but he didn’t. He simply stood stock-still and starred at Moggy. He gave Moggy The Look—and what a look it was! His stare down was worthy of any Mother, or even Leroy Jethro Gibbs himself.
And it worked.