Darn it. Social gaffes abound round here. The coolest kid in class has decreed, and I’ve been doing it wrong. Not for the first time.
I’m horrified. Distraught. Wondering if I can take to the blog with a revisionist red pen. I’m never going to be cool at this rate.
I … realize that writing about dogs is a very tricky business. It’s nearly impossible to do without some simpering sentimentality. In a dream world, you write about your dog and you’re J. R. Ackerley. Or perhaps your words will have the droopy intelligence of a Thurber dog. Jo Ann Beard’s essay “The Fourth State of Matter,” a stunning account of a mass shooting in an academic community and its surreal aftermath, describes a dying dog with such eloquent precision that you can see every heartbreaking curve of his body, feel every labored breath, and you reflect on how we all fit together as a mesh of messy creation. But, more often, you’re writing “Beethoven.” “Marley and Me” if you’re lucky.
The same caveats apply to conversation about dogs. Just discussing your dog can be as tiresome and offensive as talking about the weather, your own dreams, or the newest wrinkle in your married sex life. At least when people talk about their children, there is a chance that the kid will grow up to be President.
Well, eek. What am I to do now? Jake is family. This is a personal blog. Never mind the cool kids, I’m writing what I want (Jake is scared of the snowman) and Lena can’t stop me. What else did she say that I can complain about?
I read on.
A-ha! Lena is a doggie person after all. She tells of her attempt to rescue pit bull puppies as a teenager, the subsequent family pet, the dog free years, and now, life with Lamby the mutt. Hundreds of words about her dogs.
I climb down from my high horse.
This is the perfect moment to make sure you haven’t been missing out on The Oatmeal. You may be gone some time. Enjoy.