Friday, August 27, 2010

After fourteen years of snack stealing, unrepentant repetitive barking, trash scrounging, undeserved entitlement and all around outrageous behavior--Fat Buddy has left the building.

He taught me a lot about loving life, despite health challenges--of which he had many. I liked to say that FB was the canine version of me--autoimmune disorders a-go-go and poor impulse control when it comes to all things food. I've nursed him through so many health scares that I should have been ready for this day--but I'm not. He's been my happy jester and my heart hurts.

I don't really have any words--so I thought I'd share my favorite Kipling poem--which pretty much sums up this particular moment those of us who give our hearts away know too well. And some images of what made Fat Buddy--well, Fat Buddy.

The Power of the Dog
Rudyard Kipling

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--'ve given your heart for a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!);
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart for the dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long--
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not Helpful

I am turning into my mother’s best friend as I age. Which is just fine, since even as a teenager, I wanted to be just like this nutty woman when I grew older. She was the sort of woman who looked everywhere for her eyeglasses as they sat atop her head. The sort of woman who had a “Co-cola” with an aspirin before retiring. The sort of woman who shamelessly flaunted her idiosyncrasies. There was something not quite sane about her. The thing that made her so wonderful is that she had one of the most powerful intellects I have ever run into, then or now. It was as though she willingly decided to sacrifice her competence in the realm of everyday activities and normalcy instead of losing her intellectual cookies. I’m hoping that’s me, too.

So, today I had one of those days when I was channeling her. I forgot what day it was, showed up to my therapy appointment a day early with my shirt inside out.

As I’m walking out the door, a woman says to me, “Your shirt is inside-out.” She says this in a drive-by fashion, loudly and publicly. This is how I came to know I’d put the shirt on incorrectly and if I hadn’t been told, I would have gone about my day, harming no one and being blissfully unaware of my faux pas. And honestly, after I knew about it, I wasn’t that concerned. I am the sort of woman who wears mismatched socks and no lipstick anyway.

The point being—this was not helpful. She pointed it out in the middle of a busy waiting room as I was leaving so I’m quite sure she didn’t expect me to shuck off the shirt right then and there—though that could have been amusing and might have been an option if it hadn’t been—well—my therapist’s office full of chock full ‘o nutcases anyway. Maybe she wanted me to go to the restroom or go home and change my shirt. Really, there wasn’t much I could do about it that wouldn’t inconvenience me.

There’s a gulf of difference between this sort of person and the sort of person who fondly tucks your shirt label in or brushes lint from your lapel. She’s the sort of person, I suspect, who goes about looking for bra straps that show, slips peeking out indecently and unzipped zippers. She (because it’s almost always a woman) has made it her personal mission to seek such things out and snidely point them out. The shirt-label-tucker-inner seems to always do so in a proactive yet loving way—it’s the contact that says, “I care”. They usually do this with a self-effacing smile, too—unlike the smirking drive-by commentator on your personal appearance.

As I said—not helpful.

For my part, I reached a hand up to confirm the tag was out and replied, “No it’s not, the tag is on the wrong side.”