Saturday, December 8, 2012

Monkey Dodgeball

We bought some doggie diapers for the dogs…had to really. It wasn’t so bad in the winter but when the warm weather kicked in, the house smelled like the monkey cages at the zoos, before we became more benevolent and caged them on the outside. I remember the monkey house at Chilhowee Park in Knoxville, Tennessee. You could find it by following your nose and listening to the screams of families as wads of waste were being flung at them from behind bars. When you stepped inside you fought for position along the nearest wall and somewhere behind unsuspecting folks who were making their first trip to primate land. I can still hear one well meaning father, obviously on his first trip, telling his six year old, “Get up close Amanda, you’re going to love this experience!”

I often wonder if she ended up in a sanitarium, veterinary school or at home raising her own little monkeys. Once inside there was no turning back. The monkeys knew where the entrance and exit was and stationed themselves for maximum coverage. Working in teams of two, with the grandparent monkeys watching from above, the ones I suppose would be considered “teenagers” or young adult monkeys searching for the meaning of life, had you sandwiched inside the bowels of the monkey house. When the panic started, the humans would forget which way was out and it looked like Custer’s Last Stand as a hailstorm of excrement, monkey epithets (they blamed everyone on the outside) rained down from the cage.

It was a slipslide experience rivaled only by the rides at Disney World. Well, what could we expect, most of these monkeys didn’t have attorneys and therefore were not well represented, spending their “productive” years behind bars, which made them angry. The monkeys always won and the humans always felt guilty that they had been driven to such levels of “inhumanity”, which is interesting when you think about it. In the end it was as much fun watching the humans play “Dodgeball” as it was watching the monkeys playing “poop and hurl”. Of course zoos are much better now but one has to wonder, if they had the chance, would they do it all again? But I digress.

Yes, the Maltese are in diapers. Hannah’s has flowers around the top for the feminine touch and Hercules (my daughter named them both in a moment of “total consciousness”) is more macho with the wrap-around towel look. I’ve noticed a definite change in his demeanor about the house since he began wearing them. Sort of struts about now with a look that says, “My diaper is better than yours.” We had no idea what was going on before diapers until we began washing six a day in an effort to keep up with the demand. We were naive enough to believe they had their “spots” when actually her spot was anywhere and his spot was hers and everywhere else. But in a time when nothing appears to worth as much as it was, I must say, these two have increased in value. Do they bark? Yes! Do they snap at small children? She does! Are they well trained? Of course not, the training ended with me! Would I trade them for anything? Make an offer! But seriously, if you could train your wife to meet you at the door wearing nothing but a towel and a smile everyday, wouldn’t you put up with a little barking?

Friday, December 7, 2012


I read this news report the other day that said 21 people burned themselves while walking across a bed of hot coals at a Tony Robbins seminar. They had paid somewhere between $995.00 and $2595.00 for the experience and you cannot make this stuff up. That’s a lot of money, I thought, wonder what else they could have done with their contribution to the world of psychiatry and podiatry because this thing demands a study of some sort. Here’s what I found. 995.00 will get you approximately seven pairs of Michael Jordan basketball shoes which, if given to the right kid, might be turned into a college scholarship or render him a victim of crime via theft as he tries to make it home one night after practice wearing his new shoes. 

$995.00 could also get you membership in a local country club somewhere in rural Georgia, (exceptions noted) where you can hang out at the pool, drink beer, eat chicken fingers, greasy hamburgers and salty fries, put on twenty pounds, harden your arteries and bring on depression all in one exciting summer of fun in the sun. You could play close to eight rounds of golf over at Reynolds Plantation for $995.00, and on just one of those trips, drinking beer all day while riding around in a cart gambling and losing money you don’t have, drive home wasted, receive a DUI, spend the night in jail and squander your one phone call to try and explain to your wife it was the guys’ fault for telling too many golf stories at the clubhouse. 

$995.00 would pay your termite control invoices for many years, saving your home and leaving you a nest egg for those retirement years where you can relax and drink beer (yeah right). You could have unlimited cable and sit around drinking beer and watching 700 channels of pure garbage for six years on 995.00, thereby exposing yourself to all manner of charlatans, shysters, swindlers and religious fanatics willing to take your money for their causes. One of them might even be able to heal you of the golf addiction. 

Years of Braves’ tickets can be had for $995.00 and you can make the trek to Turner Field, enjoy a game while drinking too much beer with the one dog cause two is just one too many, get a DUI on the way…well you know the rest. You could buy a nice big dog for $995.00 and watch as he/she runs out in the road and bites your golfing partner who, along with you, is trying to walk off the pounds he gained drinking beer, eating chicken fingers and fries at the country club over the summer, thereby rendering you liable in a potential lawsuit you can’t afford because you spent too much money on the beer you drank with him. 

But pay $995.00 to walk across hot coals?! Why would you want to do that? Put that money in a nice savings account and watch it grow at 0% a year. Now that will make your hair stand on end. Is it any wonder most of us are in therapy? Oh, $995.00 will get you several sessions with someone who’s dying to hear about your weight, drinking, and wife problem (think chicken fingers, imbibing, and depression), but he/she probably has more issues than you, with the exception of finances of course, you spent all your money on beer.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Confirm or Run Like Hell

Honestly, I was going to write something about our children, and then something popped up that made me think some grow up a lot faster than others. I went on the web to look up a word, probably something simple, and there in the corner of my machine was an invitation from somebody I had never laid eyes on (I swear) to chat. She looked about 20-something, blond, attractive no doubt, just a couple of miles away.

Her name was Stephanie. She didn't give a last name. I figured she was probably too shy, and I guess she was asking for an introduction because she said something like, “want to meet me?” Well, I looked around the room and saw it was just me, Herkie the dog and Milo the cat. That dog is a mess. He thinks Milo is a furry toy that can jump really high and slap really well but other than that, has no real worth to speak of. Truth is, Milo plays Herkie like a fiddle.

Anyway, he had one eye on me and the other on Milo, who was just a few feet away and looking over my shoulder at Steph ... purring, even though he’s been fixed for years. Steph was just a grinning and had two keys below her picture. One said “confirm,” the other said, “run like hell.”I never had Herkie fixed. Figured it would be OK since he seldom goes outside and when he does he’s looking for a ball or somebody to bark at. Sort of like I used to do years ago.

Besides, the last dog I had fixed put on weight and looked at me out of the corner of his eye, as if he knew he was missing something, and it was me who might still have it somewhere in the house. “I know whatever I lost is around here somewhere and you need to find it.” Herkie knows there are those who would love nothing more than to take the lust out of his eyes. He appreciates the fact that dad is simpatico. He looks at me straight on, eye to eye and we see things the same way, if you know what I mean.He eyeballed Milo and knew he needed to be with dad on the couch. A short fight ensued. Milo got two slaps in before the dog knew he’d been slapped and then Milo went to sit somewhere else, lick his fur and stare at two fools buried in a machine.The look on his face seemed to say, “You two cannot be that stupid. Do you really think her name is Stephanie?”

Now I know there are those who would doubt this and it may have been my imagination, which runs a little crazy on the web, but once he got up on the couch and saw her for himself, Herkie looked over at the cat as if to say, “Me thinks this old man is about to make a career decision.” Well, she looked like that Locklear girl would have looked 30 years ago with bad teeth. Her smile seemed to say, “I know whatever I lost is around here somewhere and if you’ll click “confirm” we can look for them together.”I started to click “confirm” to recommend a good dentist but thought better of it. Herkie gave me a silent nod like John Wayne did to Opie Taylor when he threw that pistol across the floor in “The Shootist.”

There’s all sorts of things out there today that can make you shoot yourself in the foot. Sometimes it just takes a good friend to help you not take that last drink, or click “confirm” when you should click “run like hell.” Sometimes all it takes is a good dog. I wonder whose little girl Stephanie used to be anyway.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Too Liberal with His "Markers"

Recent news items have shown that as an American, I’m probably not responsible for much of anything anymore and one of the few things I might be responsible for is the fact that I am no longer responsible. That might be a good thing because as I see us, I’m beginning to see a population that is about as responsible as this dog I've got at my feet right now and he’s wearing a diaper, a “safety net” if you will. We don’t talk about his right to not wear it, because we made that decision for him based on his past history. He’d been way too liberal with his “markers” on his trips through the house and so we had to “rein” him in, so to speak, with a mandate passed by us, his caregivers. 

He doesn't seem to care about the exact wording of the mandate, what it was that caused him to have to wear the “safety net” and since he can’t read he’ll never know exactly what’s in it…we just put it on him and because he’s only a dog, likes to eat (fed by us), and is not big enough or cares enough to do anything about it, he follows the mandate. There is no vote here either because he is simply not smart enough to vote. We are his benevolent “federal government” you might say. Well, we felt that we knew what was best for him and since we were the ones feeding him, we got to choose and we chose the Doggie Depends “safety net”.

Oh, that’s the way it goes you know, whoever provides the food and the “safety net” becomes the decider. I will admit he was a little confused at first. The first time that “safety net” went on he was like, “Ok, so let me get this straight. If I want to eat, watch Big Bird and the animal channel and get my rabies shot, I wear this. If I pass on the free food, live outside and dodge squirrels all day I can take the other option. We chose the “net” for him but he really didn't seem to mind giving over what tiny bit of self-control he had to begin with. 

As the administrator of the mandate I will admit I was a little disappointed, even though the house smells better. I would have preferred he behaved like an American Bull Dog, Pit Bull or some other independent breed. You know, “Me, wear that!? Don’t think so. I’ll take my chances with the squirrels!” The sad thing is he’s become dependent on the “safety net”, lies around the house all day and since Big Bird is only on once a day, stays depressed and eats too much. Of course since we put the mandate on him in the first place I guess you could say we’re responsible for his depression so we were mandated to pay for the trips to the vet for counseling in mental health, diet and did I mention he has retained a doggie representative who comes by once in a while to make sure we are following the mandates given by the counselors?

If this sounds familiar, it should. And it didn't take long and it sort of crept up on the poor pooch as he didn't really see it coming. I suppose one could say that if he’d only watched where he wet this would never have happened but that would have required some responsibility on his part and it just wasn't there. So you’re probably wondering exactly what his responsibilities are at this point? Well, he still gets the paper each day…still barks when someone comes up the driveway and whines when his food bowl is empty. If we want more than that out of him we’re going to have to have him re-trained. 

Did I mention the house smells better?