Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Doggie Bags

I was standing in the Golfsmith store today, browsing through stuff I want but will never buy, when a long-haired blonde guy stuck his head in the door.

"Can I bring my puppy in here?" he asked.

"What the hell?" I thought to myself. Why would someone bring their puppy to a golf store? Why would he even take his dog in the car if he knew he had shopping to do? What would make him think that a store would allow a dog inside?

Maybe the dog is a golfer, I snorted. This joke kinda backfired because I spent the next 20 seconds actually picturing a dog playing golf, which would explain why people in the Golfsmith store saw a sunburnt guy stopped dead in his tracks with a huge doofey smile on his face.

But I wiped that smile off of my face in a hurry because there's nothing funny about Florida's dog problem. Not even golfing dogs. Although they do come very close.

Anyway, people in Florida collect dogs. And when I say that Floridians "collect" dogs, I mean they collect dogs like people used to collect Beanie Babies, except that these particular Beanie Babies will often pee on the furniture, vomit on the floor or both.

The Florida obsession with dogs would not bother me at all, except that my mother-in-law, the owner of three (sometimes four dogs) has decided that my family needs another dog. She and many other Florida dog owners agree that we need a second dog because:

1. My Current Dog is Apparently Lonely and Needs a Friend. I'm not sure how anyone can calculate my twelve year-old dog's need for companionship, but apparently it's obvious. Perhaps my dog has been clumsily placing ads on Craig's List.

2. My Kids Need a Younger Dog. This one is an insidious reversal of the first reason because it posits that my current dog has too much companionship. It seems that my rambunctious kids may accidentally break my elderly dog in the course of normal activity. We need another, healthier dog to draw away our kids' attention. There may be some truth to this, though. My mother swears that my kids broke her once when she was babysitting.

3. Florida Needs More Poop. Okay, I made that last reason up. But if you ever come across a room full of people and you want to pick out the Floridian - just look for the guy with the plastic bag on his hand.

I left the Golfsmith before I found out whether they let the dog in. Probably, they did. This is Florida. I don't know yet whether we'll get another dog, but we probably will. This is Florida, after all, and my mother-in-law is very convincing.

I don't want another dog, but I'll take it in stride. I'll feed it, walk it and love it. And when I'm picking up poop, I'll picture that dog playing golf.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Every married person creates their own vision of what marriage should be like. My wife, for instance, built her marriage beliefs around her spirituality and a strong sense of right and wrong. Because I have neither of those things, I based my vision of marriage on reruns of the "The Dick Van Dyke Show" on late night cable television.

This has worked well for me so far. Sure, I have that problem with Capri pants but, honestly, I think that's society's problem and not mine.

In fact, my only marriage issues occur when I violate the sacred guidance that Rob and Laura Petrie have set out for me. I, for instance, never understood why the television couple slept in separate twin beds. This seemed a waste of both space and Mary Tyler Moore's supreme hotness.

But I've shared a bed with my own wife since then. And now I know the truth about the separate beds. Laura, like many otherwise great wives, was probably a clinger. She probably slept wrapped around Rob Petrie like an anaconda, restricting his movement, inhibiting his R.E.M and generally making a good night's sleep impossible. Laura Petrie drove Rob Petrie into that separate, tiny twin bed.

My wife is a clinger, too. Don't get me wrong. I like the clinging. I like the fact that as soon as I hit the bed, my wife will casually throw a leg over my leg. It feels good to have a human, physical connection to the woman I love.

But leg connection is never enough for my wife. It's merely the opening move in a physical contest with a feature unique from all other physical contests - one of the participants is sound asleep (my wife) and the other participant (me) is wide awake.

Within seconds of the leg sweep, my sleeping wife will perform a "reverse" that closes the distance between us and throws the entire left half of her body over mine. When done for maximum effect, my wife rests her neck directly on my left arm which, as all martial arts masters know, compresses the brachial nerve and renders that arm useless.

Often, I still mistakenly believe I have a chance at this point. I did some wrestling in high school. I know a few moves of my own. So I turn over on to my stomach.

Halfway through this maneuver, I remember that I did not wrestle in high school. That was actually my brother. I was on the yearbook staff. I quickly run through my yearbook staff skills and decide that kerning and pagination are probably useless here.

It's too late. Instead of escaping my wife's grapple like the Rock in a WWE match, I've instead put myself in the hucklebuck like Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption. Sometimes, too, my three year-old daughter will wake in the middle of the night and jump into bed with us. And true to form, she will wrap herself around her mother's back who, in turn, is mounted on my back.

Eventually, I lapse into something less like sleep and more like a coma. When I wake in the morning, I check on my sons before I do anything else. I watch them sleeping peacefully and, God help me, I resent them for their bunk beds.