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Never Better; Shock the Puppy

posted at 12:01 pm
on Jun. 9, 2000

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Goodbye Mr. Teeth

My boss at work, when ever someone asks him how he is, he smiles and says “Never better!”  He’s a real optimist.  As the web site project stretched and stretched and stretched, I started to detect a sinister undertone to his reply.  Never better, never better.  I’ve decided I have no idea what he means.

The good news is, it’s possible, and note the keyword POSSIBLE, that you’ll get more of these now that the Variety web site has launched.  It’s at ; I’m at home before 10, and that’s a welcome change.

My friend Josh found a quiz on the web that determines your superpower.  Mine was super speed, though I was hoping to get time travel or perhaps stock investing.

My sister Nicole has a new puppy.  It’s a chocolate lab.  The dog is a really handful, as all Labradors are.  They’re really frisky and playful in a “come here doggy and take your Ritalin” kind of way.  My sister works nights, and gets home at about 1 a.m.  The dog works days, starting at about 6 a.m.  The cabin where my sister lives has no dog-proof fence around it, only a low stone wall on the beach side, and a thicket on each side.  Cinnamon (which I think is a cool name for a chocolate lab) is too damn friendly, and tends to lope off down the beach, black tail disappearing over the low, snow-covered wall.

So my sister bought one of those electric invisible fences, the ones called MuttStop or RoverRein or Electric Cerberus.  Cinnamon wears a high-tech collar powered by 200 AA batteries.  When she goes too close to the perimeter defined by a long wire stretched around the yard, the collar makes a high pitched beeping noise.  If she gets even closer, the collar give off a mild electric shock, the kind you get like when you touch your tongue to the terminals of a 9 volt battery.  I mean, I’ve never done it, but my friend Judd has and he turned out fine.  He’s now a puppeteer.

Anyway, the fence does its job most of the time.  But when there’s something _terribly_ tempting on the other side of the fence, like some dogs playing down the beach, or a squirrel that, collarless, sprints into the next yard, well, the dog just goes for it.  She runs right through the warning bell, through the shock zone, twitching all the while, and bursts out the other side, liberated from her cybercage.

For my sister, who spent all this money on the fence, that’s a bummer.  But even worse is that the dog has no equivalent imperative to come back through the Danger Zone, no matter how much my sister calls.  So at least once a day, Nicole has to tromp out in the snow and either carry the squirming, jolted dog across the no man’s zone, or remove the dog’s collar (and if that’s not courting disaster…) or put the dog on a leash and get her moving up to fence-crashing speed.  And all these things just increase the dog’s tolerance to the BoltBarrier’s zaps.

Anyway, the dog’s a lot of laughs, and my sister as well.

Another sister, Virginia, just finished reading Macbeth for her high school English class.  “What a lame ending!” she said.  “Everybody dies! What’s up with that? You think Shakespeare could have done better!”

Some things to ponder until next time.

You don’t meet too many people named Goliath these days.

Or Pokey.

There’s a lady at my office who has been trying to throw away her garbage can for a week.  It never gets taken away.  You put it in another garbage can, they just pry them apart.  You put a label on it, they throw away the label.  I suggested she use the paper shredder.



Previous entry:
Feeling All Grown Up

Next entry:
Goodbye Mr. Teeth


“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?




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