Monday, February 19, 2007

The Outside Looking In....

Joining someone else's family for any period of time is usually overwhelming. When I first met The Berry Queen & King, I was shocked to learn that it was not, in fact, a violation of several federal laws and a few county by-laws to stack dirty dishes on top of one another. The thought horrified me, and still does to this day, because good heavens, why would any sane people want to to have to wash both sides of one dish? Why would you double your workload like that? Don't people who do things like this realize that there is important television to be watching?

Mal is here at the Ranch, for her first ever glimpse into the way my family functions. If you've been here forever, you know the rules. Don't stack the dirty dishes. I might scream and throttle you with a pepper mill. Don't crumple my mother's table cloth. She could very well lose her mind entirely, wrap it around your neck, and strangle you with it to prevent such a thing ever happening again. And finally, you aren't allowed to give my dad's dog commands. It's some wierd training thing he follows whereby the dog only listens to its owner so as not to be confused.

I suppose that some of these rules should be clarified, in particular the dog one. My brother's dog is still here at the Ranch with us, and this animal has the ability to inspire hysteria into anything composed of atoms as it enters the room. She causes dust to fly, she wreaks havoc on perfectly laid out construction toys, and her tail is a nightmare that just keeps happening all the live-long day. She can take out drinks, bowls of food, small children, and I'm sure, if you let her, an entire small nation with three wags of her outrageously long and wag-gy tail.

I entered the living room yesterday to the sight of Mall beneath approximately one hundred and seventy five pounds worth of dogs, licking, jumping, wiggling, panting, and generally trying to consume her like an ice cream cone on a hot day. Mal was sitting perfectly still, as though there were not three obnoxious creatures messing her coiffed hair and putting their dogg-y paws on her outfit.

I tried asking her what the hell she was doing, trapped beneath this mess of dog, but every time she opened her mouth, three doggy noses dove forward to see if they could wrangle up some makeout time. I waded through the mess, trying to haul dogs off her her as best I could, laughing at my poor friend's plight.

"Why on Earth didn't you just yell at them to get down?"

"I thought the rule was no commanding dogs? So I was hoping they'd go away."

Is the Pope Catholic? Do dogs pee on brick walls? Will I throw my body across the room like a mother bear to protect her children should the safety of my socks come into danger?

Of course something so measly as hope will not call off those dogs. You need a bull-horn, a cattle prod, some sort of eletrified fencing mechanism, and full body armour to protect yourself from these beasts, and I don't even have faith that these would deterr them fro more than a minute.

Yes, Mal. This is how we live. Surrounded by dogs who bark, wiggle, stampede throughout the house, are capable of sending my ninety pound grandmother flying through the air, and who spend all day every day looking for a crotch to sniff. Don't tell them they have no goals.

Hope. Pffft. Hope is for pansies. In this house you get by with the help of special favors from God, an ability to hold back your Cosmos, and a deep-seated understanding that he who wades his way into the fray, slashing and beating off the others who live here with large jewelry stones and sheer will is the only one who is going to come out on top, free of dog trauma, and with the last Coke from the fridge.




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