Walking and talking issues with the dog


By John Tredrea
   "You’re a good dog. Feel like going for walk?"
   Sure, let’s roll. I’ve been sleeping on the sofa all day with nothing to do. Sometimes I growl at the cat, but he just yawns.
   "Nice night out here."
   I could answer him in dog but he wouldn’t understand me.
   "One good thing about walking with you is that I can talk to myself but nobody will think I’m crazy because they’ll think I’m talking to you."
   But we know better, right?
   "What a world. I heard they’re going to make a movie about male window decorators or hairdressers who actually are heterosexual. Can you imagine? What I can’t imagine is why anyone is interested. It’ll give them something to think about after ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ I guess. Talk about a slow news day. Oh well."
   Dogs don’t have to worry about that stuff. Better you than me.
   "So what else is new?"
   Same old, same old.
   "I guess President Bush is feeling like you have to be careful what you wish for, eh? He wants elections in the Middle East, right? Well, Hamas won the election. Maybe they should have a do-over. Would that still be democracy? Does it matter? How? Why? What should we do about it? Have Exxon take over New Jersey’s government? I saw in the paper today that Exxon made $36 billion last year, which I’m sure has nothing to do with Middle East politics. I would buy Exxon stock, but those profits are just disgraceful. Besides, I’m broke from paying for their gas. Unreal. But the fiscal crisis of New Jersey’s government must be real — look how many decades it’s lasted. Thank goodness we’re trying to get property taxes cut way down to help us deal with that crisis. If we succeed, the state can run the schools, since the towns won’t be able to run them anymore if we nix local property taxes paying for the schools. Perfect. If the state does get to run the schools, we won’t know how bad things are because before long nobody will know how to read anymore. If ignorance is bliss, where do I get in line? On the other hand, if we get dumb enough, we might be able to say what we think out loud without having to worry about being politically incorrect. All I want to know is this: has the property tax crisis lasted more decades than the budget crisis, or the other way around?"
   You’re starting to sound like a broken record, man. Let’s cut across the field, OK (pulling on the leash)? Let me chase some little critters while you ramble on about issues. Dogs don’t have issues.
   "I was listening to a guy talk the other night about sharing municipal services. He says we should do it more. Maybe the reason we don’t is because we argue so much about what we’re sharing now is what I felt like telling him. But I didn’t. I’ve got you to tell stuff like that to."
   Just my luck. I’ll need to see you three times a week, 45-minute therapy sessions. We need to start right at the beginning if we are going to get to the bottom of your emotional problems. You know what a Freudian slip is, don’t you? That’s where you say one thing but mean your mother.
   "I guess it’s a good thing nobody can hear me but you."
   Good for who?
   "And the weird thing is that I keep on talking to you like this while all the time I know you can’t understand a word I’m saying."
   The tone tells the truth. The words are meant to disguise it. I can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet. I know you better than you do, but that’s not saying much. I like you, though — I just can’t help it. You’re so innocent and ignorant that it’s kind of sweet. I have a soft spot for the afflicted. Let’s go home, I’m tired and hungry (wag, wag).
   "Let’s go home. I’m tired and hungry."