There’s no need to do chores when Mrs. Wigglebottom is more than happy to go on a walk. And so, instead of doing the dishes, we went out to see what was going on in the neighborhood.
We have a peppering of birds in the sky and someone is being lifeflighted to Vanderbilt, judging from the helicopter.
When we do our usual walk, we make a giant P, with us living at the foot of said P. When we got back to the point we turned right at, Mrs. Wigglebottom and I wasted a good half hour playing three of our favorite games.
Mrs. Wigglebottom’s favorite game: Stick (or Ball). She finds a stick she thinks must be irresistible to me. I pretend to want it and she delights in keeping it from me. I’m sure Mrs. Wigglebottom would enjoy more traditional games like “Fetch,” if only she could understand the concept of letting go, but it’s safe to say, Mrs. Wigglebottom lets go of nothing.*
My favorite game: Jump (which may be combined with Stick, if one can get the stick from her). I find a stick I think must be irresistible to her and I hold it up at about shoulder height and she flings herself into the air and tries to get it.
The other game we both like: Smack your bottom. In this game, you just say “Smack your bottom! Smack your bottom!” while hitting the dog on the butt repeatedly. Fuck if I know why she likes this, but she does. Of all the games we play, this is the one I most hope no one notices.
I also caught myself singing while we were walking. It’s weird, because I was thinking how much I like Audioslave, but I was singing “Worked all the summer, worked all the fall, had to take Christmas in my overalls. But now she’s gone and I don’t worry. I’m sitting on top of the world,” which has to be the saddest happy song I know**. I mean, my god, if your heart doesn’t break for a man who works so hard that he’s even working on Christmas (and what a nice phrase “take Christmas”), it must break when you realize that, once his woman left, he was all out of things to fret about.
If you aren’t a fretter, you might not understand just how low it is to have nothing left to worry about, but, let me tell you, it’s pretty far down.
You’d think there’d be more blues songs written about dogs, but I don’t know of any off the top of my head. Here, though, is a bit of dog blues written millennia ago by Homer***:
While he spoke
an old hound, lying near, pricked up his ears
and lifted up his muzzle. This was Argos,
trained as a puppy by Odysseus,
but never taken on a hunt before
his master sailed for Troy. The young men, afterward,
hunted wild goats with him, and hare, and deer,
but he had grown old in his master’s absence.
Treated as rubbish now, he lay at last
upon a mass of dung before the gates–
manure of mules and cows, piled there until
fieldhands could spread it on the king’s estate.
Abandoned there, and half destroyed with flies,
Old Argos lay.
But when he knew he heard
Odysseus’ voice nearby, he did his best
to wag his tail, nose down, with flattened ears,
having no strength to move nearer his master.
And the man looked away,
wiping a salt tear from his cheek
Shoot, if old dying, loyal Argos doesn’t bring a salt tear to your eye, you’re just lacking a heart. Ugh. Let’s not leave this post on such a sad note.
Homer, give us something we can dwell on this evening:
That was the scar the old nurse recognized;
she traced it under her spread hands, then let go,
and into the basin fell the lower leg
making the bronze clang, sloshing water out.
Then joy and anguish seized her heart; her eyes
filled up with tears; her throat closed, and she whispered,
with hand held out to touch his chin:
You are Odysseus! Ah, dear child! I could not
see you until now–not till I knew
my master’s very body with my hands!”
*Those of you who want to make smart-ass comments about the ways I resemble my dog may do so at this point.
**As opposed to the happiest sad song ever–”You are My Sunshine.”