Our dog has officially entered puberty. He acts like he’s just discovered Bauhaus and we, the parents, are too plebeian to appreciate its finer textures. Just now we walked down into the basement and he was lying on the futon, pouting because globalization and cultural imperialism are killing the rain forests, and when he saw us coming he was like, just because you can walk upright does not give you the right to act so smug. Guess what, dog? I HAVE THREE PETER MURPHY CDs IN MY COLLECTION, I KNOW HOW TO BE DRAMATIC ABOUT A HANGNAIL.
Today I do not like dogs so much, and it’s not just because Chuck is acting like some awful character in an E.M. Forster novel who really just needs to get laid already. One of my favorite dogs in the neighborhood, a golden retriever named Jake, almost bit my hand off. This morning I noticed that Jake was prancing about the streets without his owners, and later this afternoon I spotted him lying in a yard two houses away from his own. I thought I’d be a nice neighbor and coax him back behind his fence, and after I rubbed his belly and scratched his ears I reached down to hook my finger into his collar to pull him to safety. This is Salt Lake City, after all. He could have been shot in the head by the leader of The Bountiful Tongan Mafia.
I know you don’t get that joke, the one about The Bountiful Tongan Mafia, and to tell you the truth, there really is no joke in there, but just say that a couple times: The Bountiful Tongan Mafia. I think you will laugh, though, when I tell you that IT ACTUALLY EXISTS. And of course, word is, you do not want to mess with The Mafia of the Bountiful Tongans, particularly if you are a golden retriever who has somehow escaped from its yard.
I’ve played with Jake several times in the past, and petted his soft auburn head, and rubbed his furry ribcage, and scratched his right hind leg with enough vigor that he could at least imagine what it might feel like to rub up against a sprightly Chihuahua who still has her ovaries. Sometimes you’ve got to give that to a dog because WHAT ELSE HAVE THEY GOT? Bauhaus?
So when he lurched vertically and bit my hand I was more than a little shocked. In fact, I was outraged. He didn’t break the skin or draw blood (although he did GROOOWWWWL and there was SNARRLLLING), but he did scare the holy living shit out of me, even though that’s not necessarily the hardest thing to do. Just ask Jon who tonight put a rubber tarantula underneath the bag of ravioli I was about to dump into a pot of boiling water. I BOUGHT THE TARANTULA, for crying out loud, last year, in hopes of frightening Jon, the unfrightable fucker who has more than once stuck his head over the shower curtain when I am mid-shampoo to purposefully convince me that a serial killer has entered the house and stumbled upon my bathing experience with glee.
I thought I could place the tarantula on the floor of Jon’s closet behind a few pairs of shoes and that he would actually think, hey! A spider! In my closet! Mind if I scream as if A FUCKING TARANTULA IS SITTING IN MY CLOSET, EH? He was momentarily alarmed like one might be when one has a sore throat and considers that one might have contracted a cold, darn it. But that was it. No flailing or screaming or THE WORLD IS ENDING NOW, FORGIVE ME GOD FOR ALL THAT YO, MTV RAPS I WATCHED WHEN MY MOTHER THOUGHT I WAS PLAYING PITFALL.
A few days later he took that rubber tarantula and stuck it in between Leta’s blankets while she was napping so that when I went to retrieve her a huge black, blood-sucking arachnid fell from my half-asleep baby as if it had just eaten her brain. I’m not sure whether it was my screaming that alarmed her or the look on my face, a look that said, how could I have been watching “Extra” in the living room while a spider chewed away at my baby’s head, I cannot go on living having been so negligent, please take me instead of her, Lord. Jon is still not forgiven, nor have I yet recovered.
Tonight when I grabbed that bag of ravioli and noticed a wiggly black leg poking out from underneath the nutrition information I lost at least one if not two whole decades from my life. I might as well take up making fun of The Bountiful Tongan Mafia because I couldn’t do any more damage to my nervous system, my ticket was up yesterday. Jon was laughing so hard that it was silent, the worst kind of laughter in the world, the laughter of a villain. Funny how much Jon resembles Gargamel, don’t you think?
I’m waiting for an official apology from Jake’s owners, or at least a kind reminder to please keep my hands away from their dog’s jaws, something, anything, just an acknowledgment that I almost lost a limb today. But I’m beginning to think that’s about as likely as my husband freaking out because there is a tarantula! In his underwear drawer! (don’t think I haven’t tried that one) or Chuck suddenly deciding that its cool to hang out with that woman who wears pink, gah! In public? Doesn’t she know that that color is a tool of the patriarchy to preserve gender inequality?