Jerks of Our Time

Welcome to another installment of “Jerks of Our Time.” Today I’ll be interviewing Fido, my neighbor’s dog. (Name changed for privacy.)

Irrelativity: Welcome.

Fido: Woof.

I: Oh, uh — I was under the impression that you could speak English. Otherwise this interview isn’t going to be nearly as in-depth as I’d anticipated.

F: Yeah. “Woof” is an English word, isn’t it? Look it up. “Woof — interjection used to imitate the barking of a dog.”

I: OK, got it. Sorry if we got off on the wrong — ahem — paw. Ha! See what I just did?

F: Yeah…OK. You’re trying too hard, and it’s making me and everyone else uncomfortable. Especially the way you actually say “ahem” instead of just clearing your throat.

I: So, now that you’ve sniffed me enough to feel comfortable, let’s get right to it. You bark, at night, outside. Outside my window, specifically. Sometimes all night. Why?

F: Fish gotta swim; birds gotta fly; dogs gotta bark.

I: Fish and birds don’t keep me awake all night.

F: Ever slept between a vulture and a halibut?

I: Please answer the question.

F: Rease ranswer ruh restion.

I: Really? That’s your response? To just mimic me using a Scooby-Doo voice? What if I did that to you?

F: You can’t do that to me. That would be racist.

I: Seriously? If you talk in that voice it’s funny, but if I do it it’s racist? That doesn’t even make sense.

F: That’s just how it works. Can’t really explain it. You know its true, though.

I: Let’s get back on track. This is an interview series that I do called “Jerks of Our Time.” I sit down with those who are universally deemed inconsiderate, rude or just plain jerks and see what really motivates them. They always reveal deeper and unexpected meaning behind their actions. For example, the people who litter are actually all part of a large art collective currently encompassing the planet in a Christo-like halo of garbage. People who don’t use turn signals are a secret religious order dedicated to increasing the planet’s attention and awareness. So what’s your secret reveal?

F: I’m a dog. I bark all night. It annoys you. End of story.

I: No, come on. Aren’t you part of a larger plan to teach me the value of patience?

F: Nope. A dog, barking. Period.

I: Your bark patterns are sending subliminal codes to the cortex of my brain that make me feel happier, healthier and more productive? Like motivational Morse code?

F: Read my lips. Woof. End of story.

I: OK, I know what it is. By interrupting my sleep patterns at very specific intervals, you’re causing me to walk around during the day in a more psychically open state?

F: Could be. Let’s test that one. Tell me what I’m thinking now.

I: You’re thinking, ummm — you’re thinking “woof.”

F: Busted. Well done, Kreskin.

I: Sarcasm?

F: Ringo!

I: So you’re just an annoying dog, nothing more? If you don’t have a cool, secret agenda to offset your jerkiness, then why did you agree to this interview?

F: I didn’t agree to an interview. You just whistled and bounced a tennis ball, and I came over to see what you were doing. Anyway, shouldn’t you be having this conversation with my owner? He’s the one who lets me bark all night. I’m just a patsy.

I: No — uh — I’d rather talk to you.

F: Wait a minute. I’m sensing fear. You’re scared! You’re scared to talk to my owner, so you’re just pinning this on me!

I: No, I just …

F: You’re chicken! Bock bock bock!

I: Time to drop this subject. Drop it. Drop it!

F: Hey, tell you what — want me to talk to him for you? Like, tomorrow morning, 5 a.m., really loud, for about two hours? I’m sure he’ll totally understand.

I: Wow, more sarcasm.

F: It’s one of the traits of my breed. I’m also soft mouthed.

I: Well, thanks for your time.

F: Whoa now. We’re not done. We just got to the good part. You’re too afraid to go over and have an uncomfortable conversation with someone and instead choose to just lie awake being angry at innocent animals. You’d rather whine and moan and write some stupid dog interview-column than actually address the problem like an adult. I think you’re the jerk!

I: Rhi rhink rhou’re the rerk!

F: We’re done here. And I’ll be keeping this tennis ball.

Barry Smith’s rholumn ruppears Mondays. More at