Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The lovely wife is now walking dogs with me.   We rise.  We get the chip off the old block son off to school which is like dragging a burro out of a barn and now, because she feels that Juneau, the canine horse collar and Mully, the canine garbage disposal, also deserve exercise, she’s decided to come with me when I walk the idiot doodles. 

She considers it a date.  

A date means I’m expected, not unreasonably, to engage  in human interaction.  And so, while my mind, as usual, careens around the video arcade that is my brain pan –

- do NFL players actually enjoy beating the shit out of one another? --- why do we consistently spend more than I make? – why do I find my reflection in the screen of my Kindle so disconcerting as it boots up? – as I approach sixty why am I still getting skid marks in my underwear -- – why is that dog pushing a large rock across the field with its head?–

- the lovely wife chats and I pretend to listen.  And because she’s smart and knows me well, every so often she’ll suddenly turn to me and say – you’re not paying attention, are you – of course, I am, I’ll say – what did I just say, she’ll say –

And because I have this weird ability to remember words  but not their meaning – probably developed during college years when I’d cram for a test two hours before taking it and then to the fury of my roommates, pass it – I’ll recite not just the last thing she said but the last three things she said.

She will still be suspicious.  As mentioned, she knows me too well.  She knows I have the ability to be present but not present at all.  

Walking with her is a challenge in that I walk fast and she walks slow.  I walk to get it over with, she walks to enjoy it.  The lovely wife is consistently in the moment.   I’m either brooding about my past or being anxious about my future. 

On a walk, I yell at the idiot dogs to bring them to order.  She coos at them.  I find it annoying that they listen to her.   

On a walk, I am oblivious to physical space.  More than once I have almost hip-checked her into the bushes.    You must have been a heck of an actor, she’ll say.  I was never an actor, I’ll tell her, I was a star.   

As a star, I also find it annoying that the lovely wife expects me to clean the dog’s feet when we get home.  I am used to throwing towels on the floor and books on the furniture and then ignoring them, my duty done.   She wants doggie feet hosed and towel dried.

She doesn’t seem to realize that I have work to do, things to read, brilliant things to write.   She’s proud of what I do but still, she often seems to feel that I procrastinate for a living.   She doesn’t understand that when she comes into my office and the TV is on and I’m watching the tennis channel, I’m actually filling my creative tank.   You must be running on empty, she’ll say.

Like I said, she knows me too well.

But back to the dog pushing the rock across the field with its head.  The dog is a bull mastiff named Daisy.  She is 90 pounds of solid muscle.  Her head is as big as a basketball.  Her owner tells me that she is pushing this enormous rock around the field with her head because she likes to.   Some dogs fetch, she pushes mini-boulders.  She especially likes it when there’s a hill to push it up.  That way when she gets to the top – oh, joy! - it will tumble back down again.  And then she can push it up again.  And so on.  And so forth.

In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a trickster punished by the gods to do the same thing - roll a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down.  He had to repeat this throughout eternity.

Sisyphus, philosophers will tell you, is a metaphor for man’s existence.   You push the rock, you push the rock and just when you think you have it where you want, it fools you and rolls again.

Like Daisy, all you can do is use your head and enjoy it.

I enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Have a Dream

It goes without saying that holidays - any holiday - are a big deal at my house.  The lovely wife has elegant and tasteful decorations for every occasion and the chip off the old block son's favorite holiday is the very next one - especially if it constitutes time off from school.   As often as not our favorite decorations are the ones my children have created over the years, especially when they were in grade school - paper snowflakes and ceramic god-knows-whats and colored greeting cards and gold sprayed pine cones, etc.  The lovely wife keeps every one and each one has a memory associated with it.

Yesterday was Martin Luthor King Day and as is often the case, I didn't notice the day's decoration until it was being taken down this morning.   It was made by son when he was in second grade.   It is a piece of construction paper with a rough but recognizable crayon drawing of the Reverend King on it.   To me what makes it special are the words.

My dream... is that the world have more berries.

I think MLK would agree and approve.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Doggie Toys

Two very large, stuffed doggie toys came our way this Christmas, one a St. Bernard, the other a sheep dog, both of them plump and soft and cute and filled with the best artificial stuffing one could buy.   The idiot Vishlu, Juneau, immediately took them as his. 

Juneau like every other idiot dog in a house of all male dogs, is fixed.   Gonads were removed at four to six months to prevent wandering, aggression, lust and testicle licking.   To the vet, short nap, wake up, look down and go – wait a minute, what just happened!?

If Juneau is any indicator, I’m not sure the process works.   His idea of playing with his new toys is to grab them by the neck, toss them violently around, then throw them down on the floor and hump the heck out of them.   Sometimes he throws the two of them down together and humps the heck out of both of them at once.   And when he’s finished, he picks one of them up – by the neck again – and drags it over to you as if to ask if you want to take a turn.   It’s actually sort of inspiring.

People have told me time and time again that all this indiscriminate humping is not a sex thing with dogs, it’s a dominance thing.   (Hmmm...)  And of course, the lovely wife has been told by those who should know – trainers - that it is an “excitement” thing.   (Duh!?)   She tells me that when she takes Juneau to service dog training, the puppies get so excited they all hump each other.  To which I ask - are the females humping the males?   To which she hesitates and says -- uh… no.

I rest my case.

The idiot doodle, Napoleon, is also a humper.  This is to be expected, he is French.  When on the walking path, his objects of affection are usually small dogs. – Pugs and miniature poodles.  They skitter and dodge around his feet.  As often as not he doesn’t seem to notice he is happily humping thin air.   I’m sure there any number of women who would tell you this is true of men in general.

The uber-idiot, Louis, doesn’t seem quite sure what all the ruckus is about.  He’ll watch.  His brow will furrow.   He’ll occasionally sneak up on an unsuspecting dog and give it a furtive try.   But his approach is all wrong, his technique is lousy and he’s often forced to turn and run with his tail between his legs.   I’m sure there any number of women who would tell you this is also true of men in general.

(As a sidebar, I’ve long suspected that he went to the vet, Louis’s brains were removed along with his privates.  Maybe they’re one and the same thing.)

By the way, my mother in law’s dog, Russell, is in a constant state of run.   A Great Dane named Herman (as in Munster), has decided to make Russell his boyfriend -- “Come here, little doggie, vat fun ve be havink!”   This, plus the attention of the Italian jobs - the miniature greyhounds - "We-a gonna make-a you our punk, man! - has left Russell with but one desire.  To go home.

Having said that, watching Russell run is almost as amusing as watching Juneau throw around his plush toys.  

All in all it brings to mind the old adage:

A girl hits adolescence, they go crazy for a few years and then they’re up and on their way.   A boy hits adolescence… and never recovers.

I’m sure there are any number of women, two legged or four, who will tell you the same thing.

Men lead lives of quiet desperation.