It’s just me, the dog and the cat
My wife has left me.She’s gone to Argentina. Just for a month, of course. At least, that’s what she said and after all these years together, I guess I can believe her.Unless, of course, it’s one of those cases where after all these years, she finally comes to her senses and runs off with a groucho – or a gaucho, or whatever it is that they have down there. I remember when I was a kid, I had a picture book, “Our Friends in Other Lands” or something like that. There was a photo of some slick-looking guy on a horse and it said “Grouchos on the Pompous.” That doesn’t seem to make any sense, but I figure they speak another language down there – so maybe it makes sense in Argentinish.Anyway, she said she’s coming back and I believe her. I made her promise, no grouchos. So now it’s just me, the dog and the cat at home. Actually, it’s me, the dog, the cat and the dirty dishes – but we’ll get to the dirty dishes later … much later. Like maybe the day before my wife comes back. Why wash dishes before I have to. No one eats off dishes when their wife’s out of town.Anyway, the animals are both looking nervous. That’s because my wife packed her suitcase. Bring out the suitcase and the pets get nervous. The dog starts it. He knows what the evil suitcases mean. They mean he’s heading for the kennel. When we take him to the kennel, we tell him it’s “summer camp,” but he doesn’t fall for that. We try to distract him by telling him we’ll be back before he can count to 10, which is true. I think it’s a pretty good joke. My wife liked it too – for the first 20 or 30 times I said it. She seems to have lost her enthusiasm for it, but I still think it’s great. So I keep repeating it to the dog.But the dog apparently doesn’t get the joke – which does puzzle me, because he’s a pretty smart dog and I think it’s a pretty good joke, so he ought to at least chuckle. Unless, like my wife, he doesn’t think it’s funny anymore. (Damn, if my wife and my dog have both lost their senses of humor I’m in trouble. I wonder if my dog’s going to run off with an Argentine groucho.)So, now the dog gets that hang-dog look, which, as you might expect, is something that dogs do very well. I point out that a dog with a hang-dog look is a cliché, but he just doesn’t care. He stands there with his ears wilting, looking pathetic.By this time, the cat is starting to freak out, too. He’s a lot younger than the dog, so he hasn’t figured out what the evil luggage means. But being as young as he is, he also hasn’t figured out that the dog isn’t his mother. So when the dog freaks out, so does the cat. I try to cheer them up by telling them what a great time we’re going to have once my wife is gone.”We’ll just be three crazy bachelors out in the bars together,” I tell them. “We’ll be catting around. Bird-dogging those chicks. We’re going to have a great old time.”They ignore me.I wonder if their lack of enthusiasm is because they know that, at best, we’ll be crazy bachelors, out in the bars, with just two testicles for the three of us. And, of course, that’s my fault.The cat begins to lick himself in a place that seems specifically intended to point out that he sure as heck isn’t going to be chasing down any hot chicks in the local bars.”Knock it off,” I tell him. “You’re not old enough to drink anyway.” He stalks off to use the litter box, which – like his flagrant licking – seems clearly intended as a political statement of some sort.My wife’s only been gone for an hour and things are already turning nasty.Did I mention the dirty dishes?Somehow, the sink is overflowing with dirty dishes. At least I have that figured out anyway. If I put the dishes down on the floor, the dog will lick them clean – a dog’s tongue is antiseptic, everyone knows that, so once he’s done, I’ll just put them away in the cupboard and they’ll be nice and clean when my wife gets home.And anything the dog leaves behind will likely attract rodents – they’ll eat their fill, wind up nice and plump … and that means there’ll be plenty for the cat to eat. So that’s cool.We’re in great shape.I sure hope my wife doesn’t run off with a groucho.Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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