Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spilling everything but the beans

A couple of nights ago, as I hugged a forty-pound bag of dog food to my chest and started up the stairs from the garage to the kitchen, I noticed the pitter-patter of kibble on the carpet with every step. The bag’s hull had been breached, and I scurried to make it to the kitchen before the whole thing went down.

Our puppy Memphis sensed that opportunity was knocking and joined the procession, happily scarfing up the bits that fell out of the hole chewed by the mice that I’m still pretending don’t exist, lest I be forced to do something about them. Once you’ve learned the somewhat grisly lesson that humane mouse traps are only humane if you don’t forget that you’ve set them in the first place, you feel as if perhaps the rodents in your life are entitled to a little leeway. At least that’s what I hear.

“Good girl,” I grunted, picking up the pace as Memphis gleefully followed with her nose to the floor, chomping as she went, doing her best Pac-Man impression. Like most people, we got a dog largely because nobody’s invented an automatic dustpan yet.

In my haste upon reaching the kitchen and trying to swing the bag onto the counter, I knocked the plastic bin that holds Memphis’ food onto the floor, spraying dog chow in every direction and ripping the hole in the bag wide enough to create a situation that an oil man or a paramedic would probably have referred to as a “gusher.” By the time I was able to stem the flow, our kitchen had become Kibble Beach. The expanse of dog food that spread across the floor covered enough ground to have been, at the very least, a par four.

“Oh, boy, that’s an interesting development,” I said with my head on the counter, considering what length a proper string of obscenities would be for such an occasion.

Memphis cautiously surveyed an accident scene that was, for once, not her doing. She stood at the edge of the mess and looked at me as if to say, “We might need to bring in a bigger dog for this.”

Fortunately for us, Memphis is not possessive of her food. After preparing for dog ownership by watching marathons of Dog Whisperer, a show that regularly features cuddly little canines that morph into snarling, near-rabid beasts when given a bowl of food, my wife Kara and I have been careful to spend a lot of time near Memphis while she’s eating, sticking our fingers in her food, moving her bowl around and generally annoying her to make sure she doesn’t develop food aggression. So far, she’s been very polite about it.

Unfortunately for Memphis, I don’t extend her the same courtesy.

“Get your face outta my food!” I yell at her on a nightly basis as she sticks her snout into my plate on the coffee table.

“Did she get any of it?” Kara will ask.

“Just a lick. Get out of here, George Pup-a-dapolis,” I say, nudging Memphis back with my foot.

“Who?” Kara asks.

“George Pup-a-dapolis. Like George Papadapolis, the dad from Webster,” I say. Kara stares back at me blankly.

“The sitcom from the eighties. Emmanuel Lewis was Webster. He used a dumbwaiter to move between floors, so he’d just pop out of the kitchen cabinets. Remember?”

Silence ensues, and my favorite obscure puppy-nickname reference floats into the ether, unappreciated forevermore. Honestly, am I the only surviving Webster watcher left in the world?

Memphis will take the opportunity to come back and lick my plate, and I display my food aggression by pushing her back once again. Maybe my parents should have stuck their fingers in my Jell-o when I was a kid.

You can slap Mike Todd’s hand off your leftovers at


  1. Good idea putting this article on the Internet... that's gotta be your best chance at reaching the person who will appreciate that Webster reference. One time I saw an Internet user LOL at a joke that referred to "Dallas."

  2. Gene Parmesan1/26/2009 4:09 PM

    If you're gonna make a reference to a classic film, you should do it right.

    original - Jaws
    We're gonna need a bigger boat

    Your column
    We're gonna need a bigger dog

    Derek would be embarrassed to call you his friend.

  3. Yes, it's unanimous. You're the only surviving Webster-watcher in the world.

    When are you and Kara going to get a cat to do battle with the mice?

  4. Russ -- Dang, an LOL? Those are hard to come by on the internet these days. Must have been something witty about who shot JR, whoever JR is.

    Gene Parm -- Your right, I totally biffed my accidental movie reference. In the sequel, I'll make sure to involve a boat somehow. Thanks for the input. And I also didn't get the Gene Parmesan reference without Google's help. Can you please stick to Stand By Me characters so I can follow along?

    Loon -- Seriously? That show was on for six years. Everyone else must have been outside playing, just like Mom said they were.

  5. OK OK OK. We get it. You like your dog. We can handle 3 out of 4 columns about your dog, but a new header? How bout going all the way and changing the name of your column to Dog Humor Me? or Just Humor Dogs?

  6. Lard Ass (aka David Hogan) -- Thanks for speaking my language with the name choice. Ha -- great picture on the link to your name.

    Dude, I warned you that this was going to become a dlog. Actually, though, I agree that the dog stuff is getting out of hand. In fact, I was originally going to put up a banner picture of the best man at my wedding, but he was such a funny-looking bastard that I was forced to go with Memphis instead.

  7. Dude - I was just going to chime in to say your column rocks, but I now see that it continues into a comment bloodbath with your "friends." The commentary itself would make a good book, seriously - y'all are nuts.

  8. Returning to the original subject matter, you guys are welcome to borrow our cats... just don't forget to feed them :)

  9. Bis Sis -- Yo! Don't worry, it's not my friend, just Perlson.

    The Serge -- That's very generous! Can they eat the dog food I missed?