The Sacrifices I Make For That Dog

Yesterday I took Chuck on our daily trip to the local dog park, a sprawling field in the middle of the city covered in sickly patches of grass and gurgling flows of mud that resemble stomach fluid more than anything muddy. It’s become his favorite place on earth, second only to the bed in the guest room I recently and idiotically covered in white linens. I don’t mind the dog park or the daily baby-wipe scrub down I have to give him whenever we return, as long as he gets to run and play and sniff a goodly amount of ass.

What I do mind, however, are the inevitable awkward conversations I have to have with some of the other dog owners. Note that I said some and not all of the other dog owners, because I’m not that big of a snob that I think all dog owners are annoying. In fact, I think most dog owners are like many Mormons, perfectly normal and cool despite their raving fanaticism.

It’s just that there are always one or two insane people who make the daily dog park outing about as comfortable as barbed wire panties. Like that guy yesterday, an owner of two gigantic hairy canine monsters — Glen, a purebred 150lb German Shepherd, and Livet, a purebred Rodent of Unusual Size — who was wearing black Teva sandals, royal blue sweat pants that hit him mid-calf, and a faded red Van Halen t-shirt. And really, it’s not his fashion sense that bothered me, nor was it the fact that his hair was styled in its own natural pomade. I just wasn’t feeling social yesterday, and nothing I said or did could convince him to leave me alone, including the usual fail-safe method of breaking out my Martha Stewart Living.

You have to wonder, who wants to strike up a conversation with someone who is the type of person that reads Martha Stewart Living? Did he really think that I would have anything interesting to say having just eagerly devoured a carefully layed-out essay about collecting 20th-century lustreware? I tried flashing my wedding band back and forth vigorously as I turned the pages between Flower of the Month and Dessert of the Month — which I CAN’T WAIT to try out — but he continued to talk about his “mee-maw” who makes great peach cobbler, and about his neighbor, Paul, who apparently has an amazing collection of lead pipes, but I won’t believe that until I see it.

After several brutal silences he finally gave into his urges and asked me what he must have been dying to ask me for the entire conversation: “Do you like golf?” And maybe there’s just something in the air this week, and I’m sure I’m going to get so much shit for this because the guy is probably a minimum-wage slave and I need to have more respect for humanity, but I promptly told him that golf is for pussies.

That seemed to work because he finally did an about-face and scooted away from me, which he couldn’t have done a moment too soon because I was just about to start reading this month’s article on button crafts. And really, if there’s one thing that I need to know to survive in Utah, it’s how to transform a simple linen tablecloth with eye-catching button embroidery.