Singing Doggy-Woggy-Woodle All the Day

Well, I’m proud to say that, at just shy of a full year here, I’ve managed not to be arrested a single time, nor have I ended up living in a cardboard box by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, though I hear those are hot properties these days. I mean, aside from one thumb-slicing incident that probably could’ve resulted in me dying from blood loss from the amount of screaming and flailing about that I did as a result, I’ve not really maimed myself significantly either… and you know that I enjoy a good maiming now and again.

After all this time, I’m still living by myself, even though this hasn’t really been entirely by choice. I ruled out the possibility of a mail-order bride mainly because the dealership planned to send her in some sort of plywood box and wouldn’t use FedEx Custom Critical instead (for you see, I own stock in FedEx). I’ve not met a bag lady or street person that didn’t reek of mold and stale urine or spoilt breast milk, and I can’t have a roommate that stinks, mainly because of my religious beliefs. And I shouldn’t even give a second thought to anesthetizing and abducting a wayward college student. That could get messy–I learned my lesson after that whole Chandra Levy train wreck.

So it’s looking more and more like I should just think about getting a dog. I’ve considered a cat, but I’ve decided against one for two reasons. First, since I live on the fifth floor of a building, and because I like to leave my windows open, I’m worried the cat might fall out the window, or more likely, that I’d trip over something (like my own feet, for instance, or perhaps my ego) and accidentally fling the kitty out. There’s also the chance that the cat might hate me so much that it would decide to leap to its death to escape my company. People have done that before, so it’s entirely reasonable to assume that a cat could do the same.

And second, a cat isn’t exactly the most loving creature that one could bring into his life. There is, after all, a reason that you still regularly see commercials for “gourmet” cat food. You know the ones–usually the cat is big, white and fluffy, with a smashed-in face (probably from being hit with a baseball bat or a golf club by the kid who mows the lawn), and often wearing a jewel-encrusted watch as a collar, which is strange, since cats can’t tell time.

Anyway, some elegant lady who has just finished vacuuming the house wearing a string of pearls typically comes into the kitchen where tiny cans of cat food with pastel labels and featuring a photograph of the same smash-faced cat are already sitting out on the counter open for some reason, and into a crystal goblet/cup thing this food goes. And using a small hors d’oeuvres type of fork she’ll “ding” the dish once or twice to “call” the cat to dinner.

After the cat finishes eating the leg of the mailman, or arranging the end of the world, or whatever other demonic thing it is that it’s doing, it daintily shuffles over to this crystalline bowl of meat of finer quality than most developing nations have ever seen, to which it promptly turns its nose up.

So I’ve pretty much ruled out a cat for those reasons, but I’m also not keen on the whole shedding and litter box maintenance issues. Don’t get me wrong–I love cats, and had a cat of my own for years until my mother had it killed randomly. But I’ve always been a dog person at heart, as stupid as dogs are. There are few things more entertaining than fooling a dog into thinking that you’ve thrown a ball across the room and seeing it go careening into a wall as a result. The dog will love you anyway–as long as it has a toilet to drink out of and the opportunity to stick its head out of the window of a car every once in a while, it’ll still think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, unless of course there’s actually sliced bread around, in which case the food will win hands down.

I suppose that, now that I’ve decided on a dog, I have to figure out what kind of dog to get, and almost as importantly, whether to get a puppy or a rescued dog. While I kind of want a “new” dog, I worry that I might be a disturbing presence around a puppy and it might grow up to have dog epilepsy or dog schizophrenia because of me being its master. With an older dog, at least it’s already (theoretically) trained and just really wants a place to crash, kind of like a post-college frat boy who’s already burned through his trust fund.

So there are still a few things to figure out. We’ll see what happens, and with any luck, the dog will be less dysfunctional than me. I’d say the odds are in its favor.

—2004