Of Boys and Dogs
If you really want to understand dogs the first thing you'll probably need to know is that they're just like little boys at summer camp -- Lord of the Flies style, living by the unwritten rules of the pack. A time of innocence, a time of wonder, and a time of brutality.
I guess that's why all those hazy, crazy, sweet 'n sour memories stick to you like cobwebs of the mind. I could tell you stories that would pop the eyes right outta your sockets, but I really don't feel like getting into it now if you absolutely wanna know the truth.
But I will, cuz Wayne, an old camp buddy, just invited me to a reunion -- he texted me actually, which, let's face it, is way less awkward than phoning out of the blue after like twenty decades of zero contact.
"So have you ever run into Ginzy?" It was all I could think of, a pretty stupid opening line. Lame lame, so damn lame.
"Dear Lord," Wayne replied. "I hope the man doesn't hold a grudge."
Dear Lord? WTF? From someone whose mouth was filthier than the black hole of Calcutta? Was I imagining stuff again?
(Note to self: Check meds.)
"Remember Booby the Bullshitter?" was the next stupid thing that I messaged.
"Yes indeed," he answered. "Why that fanciful fellow sure could embellish!"
Fanciful fellow? Heh, heh -- was I really chatting with Wayne or the ghost of Mark Twain?
Did Wayne become an adult?
Transitioned into a cat?
Hard to believe that this was Wayne, the one and only, a certified rockstar at camp. The dude had this wild mane of thick blond hair that cascaded down to his shoulders. He was a towering 6'3" of chiseled muscle. Thor in Munchkinland. Rumour had it that Uncle Abe, the camp owner, let Wayne go to camp for free because of the scores of lovesick teenage girls who would follow him to the ends of the Earth and beyond.
One more thing -- Wayne was also bad boy. And what girl doesn't love a bad boy?
First you gotta understand that summer camp boys run wild like mutts in a dog park and pick on the weakest link, like Ginzy, the freckle-faced chubster who Wayne wedgied every rest hour after lunch. Hung the blubbering dough boy by his underwear on this humongous sap-encrusted pine tree where swarms of hungry black flies would feast on Ginzy's pimply, impetigo-scarred, dimpled bum glazed in pink calamine lotion.
Ahh, youthful tomfoolery, so cruel, so hysterical.
He was wild, wild
Wild boy Wayne
Wildest boy on the whole damn plain
Ruder than a junkyard dog
Cruder than a feral hog
I know this stuff might sound kind of deranged, but it all seemed so normal to us. Like dogs, we were humpy, horny, gross, crass, cruel but on occasion kind, and always stupid although crazy like foxes. Like dogs, we lived in the moment, we had no pasts, nor could we fathom a future. We savored each savage moment like licks on a never-ending ice cream cone. Sweet and sticky.
We were dogs, total dogs, complete dogs, but seriously, what did you expect? It's called Nature 101.
Meanwhile, most of my former dog-pack mates eventually transitioning into cats, (i.e., grown-up adults) -- polite and law-abiding citizens with families and mortgages, which is nice in its own way, but not my cup of tea if you really want to know the truth.
So all this makes me a little sad, because let's be honest, dogs, like blondes and Barbies, have more fun. I'm sure that on your deathbed, you're not thinking about how upright and responsible, and God-fearing you were. No way. Not me for sure. You're dreaming of those wedgie-filled carefree days when you were a crazed dog howling at the moon.
Of course, I get it, I'm not that big an idiot. I understand that you need cats to build and maintain a civilized society. You certainly can't trust dogs to drive civilization forward, they're chasing their own tails instead. Do I still have to go on? If you really wanna know, I don't feel like it and in any case, I'm sure you catch my drift even if I've done a lousy job explaining things.
The chat with Wayne wrapped up with polite salutations,
"Let's get together before the reunion."
"Let's not lose touch."
Blah blah blah. Kind of cringy phony stuff with a dash of sincerity if you ask me. And then it happened.
"I could still take you in a fight," Wayne texted.
"You never could, I'd crush you like a bug," I replied grinning from ear to ear and wagging my tail.
And it gave me hope and it validated my existence, and reminded me that deep down we'll always be dogs.