Winners Need Not Apply
By: Ann Brown
There is a place in this town where the sight of my car pulling up is always cause for celebration. I am immediately surrounded by shouts of excitement, intimate greetings and- truth be told – a little bit of incontinent piddling.
Yes, well, of course you have figured out that I am talking about the dog park. Although the piddling is becoming more pervasive everywhere lately. My friends and I are getting old. After a good laugh at the movies, my friend Susie North used to say, “I bet there isn’t a dry seat in the house.”
You’d think that the arrival of a dog, at the dog park – would be old news over there, but day after day Molly and I are met with amazement and elation, as if Bo Obama himself had shown up to talk about health care and hand out liver treats.
Molly basks in the attention like the Queen Mum in a formal cortege, smiling benignly and nodding patiently while her butt is sniffed by the throng of townsfolk. For me, it’s not so much the greatest time of my life. It’s so hard to decide where to hang in the dog park. We are absolutely not going over to where the jocks congregate. You know those insufferable energetic, high-jumping, frisbee-catching, ball-chasing, victim-saving, river-paddling jock dogs who are so full of themselves, so full of joie de vivre. God, I hate them. Where are the moody, cerebral, Sylvia Plath-reading, theater major dogs?
Yeah, I know. Not at the park on a beautiful sunny day. They are at the library. Or a poetry slam. Or dead by their own paws.
So, Molly and I go off by ourselves, sniffing the air, discussing her anal gland situation (which is really a one-sided conversation; she never asks me about mine) and feigning oblivion that after the overly friendly, pumped up hello’s, the other dogs quickly sized us up as losers and trotted off, high-fiving each other and whispering shit about us.
Well, fuck ’em. This is all too painfully reminiscent of the early days of raising my kids.
My oldest son did not walk until he was almost two years old. If you do not have children, let me explain to you that this is extremely late, tantamount to realizing your baby is basically going to evolve to nothing higher than a walrus. Oh, intellectually I knew he was probably going to be fine but in real life, I secretly blamed myself – the diet sodas I had in the first trimester, the unenlightened thoughts I entertained while pretending to meditate in my Pregnancy Yoga class, faking my orgasm when I conceived. Now it was all coming back to bite me in the ass: my baby was a walrus.
Being with other parents, parents of non-walrus babies, was a miserable experience. There I was; an evolved, informed, accepting, damn parenting instructor, for fuck’s sake, making up all sorts of excuses for my walrus baby.
“Oh, he walks. Of course he walks!” I’d say, with a touch too much hilarity in my voice, “He’s just….tired today.” Or, “He would totally run right now but he has a fever of 112 so he’s taking it easy.”
Or, “hey, shut up, bitch.”
It has been so exhausting. I used to hang with high achiever babies, and then I hung with their high achiever moms, and now I am stuck with the fucking high achiever dogs. I don’t have the energy to keep up the charade anymore.
Life is short. Therefore, I am no longer going to be friends with:
* people who have young children who sleep through the night, or who currently have dogs that can hold their urine (their own urine; not their owner’s urine) between the hours of midnight and 6AM. Both of these situations result in a well-rested person, which really pisses off the rest of us who drag our asses around all day, relying on hits of energy from napping at red lights and licking the coffee grounds from the compost.
* people over the age of 21 who can touch their toes without bending their knees or who can get up from a soft chair without making little “oy” grunting sounds. Those who inadvertently fart while getting up from chairs or touching their toes are immediately my BFF’s.
* people who throw out leftover prescribed painkillers just because their pain is gone. Worse yet, those who get a legal prescription for painkillers and don’t even fill it because the pain isn’t that bad. WTF.
* people who still have Halloween candy in the house. The good shit, I mean. We’ve all still got Smarties.
* people who make the most of each day. No one can make the most of each day. That’s just something Oprah says to keep us in our places.
* people who do not constantly think about their own death.
* people who constantly think about my death.
Wait, what was this post about? Now all I can think about is my death. And Halloween candy. The good shit.