Liberty and justice for all


(1/21/2004)

by Frances Edstrom

When I got up Tuesday morning, the dog-who-must-not-be-written-about was glued to the TV set in the family room, watching the aftermath of the Iowa caucuses.

"Did your man win?" I asked.

"Hmmph!" he replied. "I just don't understand you humans. If it weren't for opposable thumbs you'd be nowhere!"

"Now what?" I asked. "You watch democracy in action and you make fun of human beings. Tell me, do dogs have a better idea?"

"Well, yes, now that you ask," he said, wandering over to his food bowl and taking a polite bite.

"This ought to be good," I said. "You can't even feed yourselves and you have a better idea?"

"Before we became the slaves of man, we could feed ourselves quite well," he said. "In fact, up until about thirty years ago we could feed ourselves. It was about then that man decided that a dog's life was just too wonderful, and he had to do something to ruin it."

"Oh, really, and what would that be?" I asked.

"Well, let's take a look at your own situation," he said.

"Uh, what do you mean, my situation?" I asked, beginning to regret the conversation.

"Well, how many times do you think I've heard that tired old story about Arnie the Lab who could open the refrigerator door and eat the butter and the leftover meatloaf?" he asked.

"It's a funny story"" I began.

"Maybe the first time, and maybe to a human being who owns stock in Frigidaire! Look at this thing!" he said, walking over to my refrigerator. "What's different about this compared to the fridge that Arnie opened?"

"Oh, the handle," I said.

"Sure, the minute man discovers that dogs can get at all the food he hides from us, he spends millions discovering a dog-proof handle for the fridge!"

"Well, I hardly think that's what refrigerator designers had in mind. They just keep improving appliances. And we don't hide our food from you," I explained.

"You. Are. So. Brainwashed!" he barked. "What do you think all these leash laws are about?"

"Um, so you don't get run over on Sarnia Street?" I postulated.

"Hah! The only thing humans don't like about that is the mess it makes. No, you've got us locked up because you're too stupid to avoid getting dog poop on your shoes and too selfish to share your garbage with us. Garbage!" he was practically foaming at the mouth.

"Well"" I began, but he cut me off.

"And don't think it's only about messes! The goody two shoes dictators who run this country like to see other humans squirm, too. Think about it. Fewer dogs running around on the streets," he said, nodding as though I should pick up his train of thought.

"So?" I said.

"So, use your little human pea brain. Fewer dogs running around on the streets, and what happens when you overshoot your parking space and run into a signpost?" he asked.

"I get a dent in the fender?" I said.

"Righto! And what do you tell John and your friends. How do you explain being so STUPID?"

"Um."

"You can't say you swerved to avoid a dog, can you? No! That's how they make slaves of you, too! They convince you that by giving up the right to blame your stupidity on a dog you are being a good citizen! Now you have to pretend you were out in the country and swerved to avoid a deer. And don't think the bureaucrats aren't looking for a way around that! I've actually heard humans talking about putting up fences to keep deer off the highways. Next thing you know they'll have Bambi on a leash, too." He threw himself down on his pillow.

"What does this have to do with John Kerry?" I asked, trying to figure out how we got to this point.

"Who's he?" he asked.

"He just won the Iowa caucus. He's running for president," I said, patiently.

"Oh, is he the one who looks like an Afghan Hound?" he asked.

"Oh, man, this is ridiculous," I said. "I'm done talking to you."

"If he's the Afghan Hound, he'd better watch out running up against that guy who looks like the Whippet. I'd hate to see that fight," he said, shaking his head.

"I have to go to work. Try to stay out of trouble," I said, putting on my coat.

"Don't worry if I'm not here when you get home," he said.

"Oh, right, like you'll be doing something besides sleeping in the sun?" I laughed.

He stood up and walked over to the TV where a map of New Hampshire was shown behind some reporter.

"As a matter of fact," he said, "I'm giving serious consideration to throwing my collar in the ring. Liberty and justice for all!"

 

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