A Dog’s Life

About eighteen years ago, an associate of my mother’s brought my family a young dog that had been rescued from a Mississippi trailer park. Believing that nomen est omen, my mother named the dog Paula Jones. (He that readeth let him understand.) She is a Shepherd mix who had a mildly sliced tongue at the time, but no other signs of wear and tear. She instantly took to the family. I remember walking into the living room the next morning to see Paula standing on her hind legs so that she could put her front paws in my dad’s lap as he sat down on the brick fireplace mantel, drinking his coffee. My dad kept repeating in a chuckle-like manner, “I like this dog.”  Perhaps because of her early abandonment, she developed a very nervous, very sensitive personality. One time my dad yelled at her for some reason or another, and she camped out (cannot say hid because we could see her, and she could see us) under a chair for three days, slinking out at night to eat when she thought that nobody was watching, though my brother and I were spying on her with mischievous enjoyment. Another time, as Paula was triumphantly walking across the living room, one of our cats, Jackie Chan, who was then a kitten, leaped out of nowhere and smacked her on the rump and then disappeared in the confusion. Paula, as was her fashion, rushed away to lay down to mope. Though I would try to take her picture several times throughout the years, she seemed to intuit the intrusive device and would never look at me whenever I pointed a camera at her.

Because my family obtained her my last year of college and that period marked the beginning of my transition away from home life, most of the years of her life I have seen her only in visiting–and the two times that I had to live with my parents post-grad school. Still, I know that she has been a faithful watchdog for my family and has patiently tolerated the addition of other dogs and cats with resignation.

This past year, though, her dementia has really taken a toll on her so that she has spent most of her waking hours wandering in a glaucoma-eyed cloud. For the past few months, she has struggled with continence problems. The past few days, unfortunately, she has hardly been able to stand and has started to whimper. My family has decided soon to put her down, as keeping her alive in this condition would be only for the most selfish reasons.

The sorrow that comes with the recognition that a pet will die, should die, is one that may be more intense than the sorrow that follows the death itself. The sorrow that follows finds amelioration in a mixture of pleasant memories that inevitably intertwine themselves with the sense of loss.  The future-oriented sorrow, however, carries with it a metaphysical horror–the dread of finitude. As I think about the impending death of Paula, I think about the friendships and the romantic relationships that have begun and ended during the span of her life. I think of the proclamations of love that I have made to various women, women with whom I now have nothing do, and I am sure that the feeling is mutual. I think of the friends with whom I once could not imagine ever losing touch, friends whom I now, were I to go back to social media, would not even bother attempting to find. I think of all the changes that have occurred in my family, both immediate and extended, in this eighteen-year period. I think, provided I live long enough, of the day that I will no longer be able to see my dad drink his morning coffee or listen to my mom give our animals their quirky names. (She is the one, in case you are wondering, who also named the kitten Jackie Chan.)  I think about how my brother and I are now too far apart to spy together on moping dogs. Because of this, the fear of mortality, mine and others’, will be pushed aside, once again, by the usual distractions: work, hobbies, friends, romantic entanglements, drink, busyness, etc. , and I will continue to mourn the loss of pets, softening the blow of death with the cushions of pleasant memories.

I took this picture of Paula today. Goodbye, sweet girl.

Paula Jones 004

 

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The Water

I have been addicted to this song for the past two weeks–when I first came across it thanks to YouTube. (I guess predictive music algorithms have their place in our cowardly new world.) Now, I will lovingly share my addiction with you.

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Nobody Cares About White Genocide

Per South Africa: as long as whites are the ones on the receiving end of a machete, nobody gives a a flying racial damn, for those crackers probably had it coming to them anyway, given some secular version of original sin, i.e., a crime over which they had no personal responsibility, but for which they must still suffer. (Look into “land expropriation South Africa.”)

If you care to sign a White House petition to give priority to white farmers who may want to escape their eventual slaughter by emigrating to the US, go here.

Am I being dramatic? Check out this video staring at the 5:22 mark (better yet–watch the entire damn thing):

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A Little Something to Offend Everyone (repost from May 7, 2011)

I. Why the obsession to document nearly every event in our mundane lives (and they are mundane for the most part—and should be, for “mundane” is derived from mundus)? Experience has to be mediated through the camera before it can be accepted as reality. In her petite essay “Photography: A Little Summa,” Susan Sontag writes that “[i]n the modern way of knowing, there have to be images for something to be become ‘real.’ ” This modern way of seeing—KNOWING—is necessarily fragmentary and superficial and evanescent, for a photo captures “appearance—which is always changing.”

We seem both to revel in our constant becoming as well as to fear our constant becoming, hence the digitalized frenzy to celebrate/mourn our essential void.

And, okay, Rad Trad (…Catholics): you look at photos, do you not? Guess what? You are a part of modernity. Guilty. St. Pius X, ora pro nobis.

II. People (and I, first and foremost, include myself) who blithely gallivant into their third decade of life without serious thoughts of marriage and family are deficient. Seriously, it is not as if most of us are soberly contemplating a call to Holy Orders or are giving our lives to Some Greater Cause (transcendence is optional). Did I mention “soberly” not too long ago? Most of us avoid that adverb both in usage and practice because we do not have the attachment to and concomitant responsibilities of spouse and children. Let us enjoy the Now, for as we start go gray and corpulent, we will miss the children we, ahem, pissed away.

III. Though I am part of a fraternal organization that enshrines patriotism as one of its four virtues, secession (if not legally at least ideologically) makes the most political/cultural/moral sense to me. As Edward Abbey writes: “Be loyal to your family, your clan, your friends, and your community. Let the nation-state go hang itself.” Perhaps there is a bridge somewhere. There! Let me clear away the brushes.

IV. Can a nation founded in revolution be said to possess Kulchur? The nineteenth century had so much promise. What American writer can follow Melville or James? Old World decadence, I say, is still better than ad hoc consumer capitalism. USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

IVa. Capitalism is just as contrary to Christianity as Socialism. Marxists and libertarians both can shine my shoes and spit off. Oops—missed a spot.

IVb. Not going to argue this with anyone.

V. Most people who drive trucks are jerks on the road.

VI. People who constantly exercise are simply addicts of a different order—socially approved acolytes in the Temple of the Body. The yearning for an endorphin rush can lead one into perdition, just like the yearning for an externally-produced chemical rush can. Saw-wee.

VII. The government should offer monetary incentives for people to shut the hell up. While the greatest ruse the devil may have ever pulled is convincing people he does not exist, the second must be the notion that everyone’s opinion matters. I know mine surely does not—neither does yours, friend-o/a.

VIII. If you do not read both Latin (probably classical, though ecclesiastical should get you a pass) and ancient Greek, you ain’t learned.

VIIIa. Ain’t learned—yet.

IX. For those of us who actually have children, we have no songs, poems, histories to give to them. Thus, we have no culture to pass onto them. Then again, I guess I could tell any kids that I might someday have about the ease with which I could buy books, CDs, and DVDs on Amazon.com. Lordy, can you imagine being one of those patriarchal, xenophobic, hierarchical, superstitious ancient Greeks who believe in metaphysics? Meta-my-ass (USA! Progress! USA! Enlightenment! USA! Secularism! Civil Rights and a twin-cab truck in every garage and a Happy Meal on every table and a condom in every eleven year old’s backpack! USA! Nice, optimistic, reasonable people! USA!)! Sheee-it, all they could pass along was Homer. And Sophocles. And Aeschylus. And Euripides. And Aristophanes. And Herodotus. And Thucydides. And Plato. And Aristotle. And Hippocrates. And Galen. And Euclid. And Archimedes. And Nicomachus. And the Trivium. And the Quadrivium. Fear not: surely, world inhabitants will be reading Thomas Pynchon and Toni Morrison and Bob Dylan two thousand years from now.

X. Tension between the sexes? I would not have it any other damn way. Men and women should not get along. They should argue and then flirt and then argue again and then flirt a little more and then get married and then argue a hell of a lot more and then make love and then have a few kids and then shut the hell up and raise those dipshit, original sinner kids.

XI. Anybody over, say, the age of 55 who is still concerned with looking hot or sexy has not learned a damned thing in life and does not deserve the respect of anybody else.

XII. My thesis: the reason why sports talk shows are as popular as they are is due to the fact that they are one of the last bastions in civilized society that encourages a man to dress impressively as well as rewards him for an aggressive display of his presence.

 

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Eating Memories

 

“Long let me bite your heavy, black tresses. When I gnaw your elastic and rebellious hair, it seems to me that I am eating memories.”  ~Charles Baudelaire

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Ode to Our Family

Dolores O’ Riordan, the singer for the Cranberries, is dead today at the age of forty-six.

Here is what I wrote about the Cranberries some months ago:

Several years ago, the lead singer of the Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan (Dolores=pains–what a Catholic name 😉 ), caused quite a stink because she actually opposed, in Rolling Stone of all places,  the murder of babies in the womb. Their video “Ode to My Family” is a musical catechism. The pubs are family affairs (as opposed to being the provenance of the drunken young), the children are plentiful and dirty, and the old men are nostalgic and tipsy. Catholic paradise if you ask me.

It is one thing for the anonymous denizens of Catholic fora to speak out against the sins that cry to heaven. It takes big balls, err, ovaries to speak out against abortion when one is the front person for one of the most popular bands at the time. 

May Mary the Mother of the Slaughtered-in-the-Womb guide you home, sweet sister.

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The Disenchantment Chronicles

God has one screwy sense of humor; I think that it is very dark, if not nearly absurdist, which makes me chuckle, as one who grew up with a very sardonic mother and watching The Ren & Stimpy Show and MTV’s The State with my little brother. Anyway, at Mass this morning, a lady sat next to me. (That does not happen too often.) She originally had been sitting on the opposite end of the pew, but moved down when a family entered into that pew. Her body language seemed open to me, and she even laughed when I quietly corrected today’s lector who read immorality as immortality. Example: “Avoid immortality.” I resisted the temptation to hold her hand during the Pater Noster (I keep my hands to myself during Mass), but may have too eagerly shaken her hand while giving the sign of peace. As Father was giving a homily on vocations and our need to sacrifice, I was thinking about how to ask to her out as soon as Mass ended. Once the Ite, missa est had been pronounced and the last hymn sung, I introduced myself, but then she walked away. As always, a dear and well-meaning parishioner tried to engage me in chit-chat, so I told her that I would be right back, but I first had to ask out the mystery girl. To which she said, “Don’t miss this chance!” God bless, you, dear lady. Crossing myself with holy water, I quickly pounced right outside of church: “Hey, ____________, you seem devout: do you want to have coffee sometime?” (Really, I need to write a collection of Catholic pick-up lines. I wonder if Tan Books would be interested?) She started to hem and haw, which I took as a sign that she was overwhelmed by my dark and brooding Catholic charms. Trying to reduce the anxiety, I acknowledged the awkwardness of the situation:

“I know it’s awkward asking you this right outside of church, but, uh….”

“Well, I’m, uh, you see, married. I misplaced my ring, but I think I know where it is.”

“Okay, I did look at your hand, so I wasn’t being careless.”

“Well, it was nice meeting you.”

“Okay, well, yes, it was. Bye!”

“Bye!”

Maybe I should just become a priest.

BTW: the title of this entry will be the title of my forthcoming collection of short stories.

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