So I was reading over Her shoulder the other night by covertly inserting my small, flexible body onto the back of the couch (Bite it, Nessa), and instead of finding 101 Ways to Be a Better Dog Owner, or What Your Jack Russell Wants, or even, The Mystical Power of Dog Treats, She’s reading Prufrock.
As in J. Alfred.
As in The Love Song Of — T.S. Eliot.
As in, uh…1989 called and it wants its Advanced Lit syllabus back you total nerd.
I stayed for awhile. She hadn’t noticed me to begin with (Again, Bite it Nessa), and the fire was going, and let’s face it, what else did I have to do at eight o’clock on a weeknight? And I read over Her shoulder for a bit.
She’s just had a Big Birthday – like, I’d-totally-make-fun-of-Her-if-I-were-Her-younger-sisters-Big – and I guess She’s feeling the need to read poetry. Her best friend from high school sent her a book of quotations called Age Doesn’t Matter Unless You’re a Cheese and she’s reading that too and offering her new found wisdom to Him and to the Girl every night over the dinner table.
And She’s getting ignored. I mean, these human beings are just so freaking predictable. Get over it. It’s a birthday.
But I read for a bit.
Not sure I liked what I saw. I mean, that “I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear my trousers rolled” shtick is all well and good to read when you’re a red-blooded puppy and you’d just as soon be running as not, and the prey is cornered and the tunnels are deep and dark and freaking exciting as hell. And you’ve still got your testicles.
Oh yeah, you can read those poets that won’t shut up about middle age, and old age, and wisdom, and more about middle age, yada, yada, yada, and you can feel so superior cause they SO don’t apply to you because of those tunnels and that fire in your puppy belly, and that groundhog you just fought and killed and lost half an ear to.
And they’ll never apply to you. Or your trousers. If you wore them. It’s just. Not. Relevant.
Yeah. But then.
The truth is, I’ve slowed down a bit. Not a ton – so don’t go writing me sappy emails that will make me wish I hadn’t shared that tasty little tidbit with you. I’m just saying that I’m about 98.9% of the dog I was.
Normal dogs of course – the ones people go all gaga for ‘cause of their “soft coats” and their “sweet personalities” and their “good nature” (you know who I’m talking about – those Labs and Golden Retriever suck-ups) – yeah well those kind of dogs are toast by this point. They’re so done they can’t even find the energy to waddle over to the cat’s food bowl any more and feed the nine-month pregnancy that’s swinging between their legs.
And dogs ain’t pregnant for nine months, just sayin’.
So, as things go, losing 1.1% of my virility is not gonna send me weeping to the bookcase to pull out even older books to read by a fire like I’m Elizabeth Barrett-Freaking-Browning.
That’s right, She doesn’t even see the irony in reading poems about growing older out of BOOKS.
Unlike Her, I’ve got this age-angst sorted. Just because I’m not into playing with that Never Ending Story muppet that calls herself a dog doesn’t make me old, it makes me superior. And I don’t necessarily need to spring to attention the minute the sun comes through the kitchen window.
Why? Because I have b-o-w-e-l c-o-n-t-r-o-l. And I like to sleep. That doesn’t make me less of a virile, relevant, and let’s face it, remarkable dog. It makes me smart. And well-rested.
Well, anyway She messed around with Eliot for awhile, went over to Frost, and then thoroughly depressed Herself with Wallace and his dwarf. By that point I’d decided it was time for the pity party to end.
I knocked over Her wine and got the hell out of Dodge.
It was for Her own good.