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04 October 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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When I was a kid I had an elaborate fantasy life.  Adults used to say I "had an active imagination".  Really I just lied a lot.

I told my best friend in fourth grade that my father ran the Black Market and that if he liked, I'd bring him a catalog.  I told the same friend I owned a motorcycle but wasn't allowed to ride it yet because I couldn't reach the gas pedals.  To escape Physical Education classes I told the coach I only had one kidney and couldn't play like the other kids.  He wouldn't want me dying from unfiltered blood, no would he?  (This worked until someone sent my parents a sympathy card.)

In eighth grade I was taller than the other kids and painfully skinny.  The PE teacher made me stand at the front of the crowded gymnasium next to the school's quarterback, ordering us both to strip to our underwear.  Then, pointing to my shivering, nearly naked body, he said:  "Who do you want to be in life?  This loser or the quarterback?" 

I was a lonely kid and on good days my life was sheltered and separate, on other days the humiliation and terror was overpowering.  Lying allowed me to deny the truth of my existence then:  I was suicidal and praying daily my life would end.

(Of course, now I know most quarterbacks end up overweight and paying five dollars for rest-stop hand jobs.  This is the closest proof I have to the existence of a higher power.)Click for larger image

Denial functions both as an essential defense and limitation.  Denial allows us to survive when life would otherwise overwhelm us.  Denial also skews our perspective and the time we have to respond when the defense fails. 

I recently asked a friend if he thought about death and he said, "Of course, but I don't want to TALK about it."  We  as a society do the same.  The world must be okay if the shopping malls are still open. 

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24 October 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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I have been tossing about the country, spending my days either suspended thirty thousand feet above the earth or waiting for security screeners to steal from my luggage. 

Thanks to David and his beau, Kevin, I learned my flying about might not just be to get my flannel clad body from one city to another.  Indeed, some of the aircraft I fly aboard may be part of a giant Chinese- Russian- American conspiracy to control the weather.  A weatherman in Idaho claims the number of contrails over his state prove this theory.  Or maybe the contrails are just further proof no one actually wants to land in a flyover state.

While the government is busy spraying Idaho, Crazy Helga is nearing the end of her tenure on my street.  Escorted by five police cars and a social worker, Helga's daughter gained court-approved custody of her parents. 

I missed the scene, but a friend told me Helga raced around her yard chased by local police as she yelled "Spoilt brats!  Spoilt brats!" 

The police, the social worker and the daughter are gone and Helga is still living across the street for the moment.  Peek at Helga before you no longer can.

On the other side of the street, I am attempting to adopt a dog from a shelter in Northern Maine.  I thought it would be easy to adopt a dog from a remote shelter where animals languish for months, but it is not. 

The prospective pooch is a giant dog possessed of a hundred pounds of solid, hairy muscle.  (Add a hundred pounds, tip him upright, and you describe my perfect man.)  When I announced to my friends here I intended to call the dog "Stalin" they unanimously rolled their eyes and gagged in unison.  I asked for suggestions and got "Rover" and "Fido" and similar such dull, overused dog names.  I think naming a dog after a maniacal mass murderer is brilliantly hip, but apparently others do not. Any ideas?

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28 October 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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Farewell Helga.  Good Bye, Olaf.

Today, a social worker escorted by two police officers came and took Crazy Helga away.  She is now a mile away in the locked ward of our local hospital.  Social Worker Lady says to me:  "I've never seen anything like this.  It's like a movie."

"I know," I reply.  "That's why I keep that video camera."

Social Worker Lady glances to my front window and then back at me with a look of mixed confusion and astonishment.

I walk over to Olaf sitting in his daughter's car.  The daughter cannot bring herself to place Olaf in a nursing home so she is taking him home with her.

"Hello Mister ____," I say.  "Not such a good day, eh?"

"No.  But I'm holding it together as best I can," says Olaf.  "This happens as you get older, you know."

I nod my head.  Olaf looks away and runs his yellowing fingernails along the seam of his pants.

"It will happen to you one day, too," says Olaf looking straight into my eyes, his gaze as steady as I've ever witnessed.

"I know." 

We both stand there for a few seconds.  Olaf shakes my hand and then turns to wait for his daughter to come out with his suitcase.

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 Name Sister Betty's Dog

Help pick a name for my new poochClick here to send me your suggestions or tell me which names you favor.

Scott of Iowa Mitsy
Tim Patsy
Mark of USGS Aloysius
King Zog
Mr. Craigle Bog the Dog
Christopher (from Alaska) Oil
Bill Dog
Great Dana*
Sister MaryMae Bert
Becky Bear
Andy Bingo
Half Caff Decaff with a Twist
Michelle Boner
Pope Whatever
Jeff Har Har
Sister Betty Porn Star

*Bill says: "Sniffs other dog's butts, poops anywhere, needs shots, dangerious off a leash, runs in packs, drinks from a bowl...Sounds like Dana to me..."

**Becky, who lives in the South, notes that the proper Southern spelling is Cletus.

31 October 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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The web contains enough "look at my pet" pages and does not need my addition.  So, I'll limit my notes to two photos and one entry.

Meet Oz.  Oz as in Oswald State Penitentiary.  Or, in the case of this dog, Oswald State Animal Correctional Shelter.

Oz spent the last three years of his life living in a damp, concrete cell, three by six feet wide, lacking both blankets and cushions.  The cell was often fetid, always wet, and Oz developed an ear infection shortly after his owners abandoned him.  Treatment for the infection was infrequent and ineffective, leaving him to suffer for year after year with swollen, raw ears.  Oz attempted to alleviate his suffering by rolling in mud, feces, or any cool, gooey substance he could find. 

I was looking for a dog that could coexist with cats.  An animal rescue worker told me about Oz so I drove an hour north to meet him.  My friends refused to enter the shelter as the smell alone sickened them.  I stepped over piles of feces to reach his cage and saw the saddest dog I've ever encountered.

It took some persistence, but Oz now lives here.  He doesn't really like cats and the cats really don't like him.  So, we have a truce of sorts.  Oz has the house by day, the cats the house by night. 

The veterinarian says Oz is significantly older than I was told, likely in the final years of his life.  He is fifty pounds underweight, his kidneys aren't operating as well as they might, and he farts like a schoolboy at a football game.  Which, if I were a straight female, would make Oz pretty much the standard American husband, except for being fifty pounds too light.Click for larger image

I hired a local vegetarian- touchy- feely- dog trainer to help Oz get the hang of living in a house with cats.  She declared the situation hopeless.  Prey drive is too strong to overcome.  I'm less inclined to give up on him.  I've had enough boyfriends to know you can teach an old dog new tricks if you have enough cash, a ready supply of Vicodin, or a large penis.  With all the evil I've done in my life, maybe giving this dog a decent place to spend his last years will reduce my time in purgatory. 

Oz is contentedly sitting on his blanket, farting, either watching television or scanning the room for cats.  He looks over at me and rolls on his side in a request I scratch his belly.  As his paws lift in the air, I wonder if he has any idea I intend to have his balls sliced off in two weeks time.

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