Dachshund

Dachshund: (n) one of a German breed of dogs having short legs, a long body and ears, and a usually tan or black-and-tan coat.

His name was Murphy.

Not his last name—his first name.

Murphy Baines.

I did not like Murphy. It wasn’t his name, although that was particularly annoying.

Murphy was the type of person who told really stupid jokes and laughed at his own material. And when you didn’t join in voraciously, he punched you in the arm and said, “Come on! Don’t you get it?”

I did get it.

I just didn’t think it was funny.

I told him that. I’ll bet you can even guess what he said back to me: “You just don’t have any sense of humor.”

Even though I did have a sense of humor, I didn’t want to argue any more with Murphy Baines. If I did, he would tell me five of his jokes in a row—and have me rate them by how funny I found them to be. (I fell for this once, but never allowed myself to enter that cul-de-sac of pain again.)

But what made it particularly painful was that when Murphy came to my house (as infrequently as I could arrange) he always pointed to my dachshund—the family dog—and exclaimed:

“Hey look! A wiener-dog!”

Even though he must have said it thousands of times over the years, he always found it hilarious, as if he had just come up with the idea for the first time.

I tried all sorts of angles.

Things like “That’s not funny.”

Or, “That’s an old joke.”

Once I even said, “Sh-h-h-h! Don’t say that. My mother gets offended.” (Of course, he pointed out that my mother was not home.)

I sought revenge.

It came about five months later, when Murphy was staying overnight at my house and my dog, the dachshund, just up and died.

It was sudden.

Murphy looked at me, wondering if I was going to react, cry or share some sort of eulogy over the deceased German breed.

But I already had the tickle of an idea in my brain. Even though it was the middle of the night, I walked over, picked up the telephone and pretended to dial a number. Murphy, confused, asked, “Who are you calling?”

“Hormel,” I replied.

He squinted at me, stunned.

I continued.  “You see, there’s a reason, Murphy, that they call them wiener dogs. It’s because when they die, they send them to the Hormel plant and grind them up to make wieners.”

Finishing the statement, I walked over and scooped my dog up into a box, closed the lid, took a magic marker and wrote on the top: “To Hormel.”

Murphy was speechless.

I carried the box out to the garage, telling him I was going to mail it. When I came back into the house, even though it was three o’clock in the morning, Murphy had packed up his gym bag, called his mother and asked to be taken home.

I didn’t see much of Murphy after that.

But I always made sure, if we were at a camp-out and Murphy was nearby, that if I was eating a hot dog, I would glance over at him and give him a big wink.

Chagrin

Chagrin: (n) distress or embarrassment at having failed or been humiliated.

Life waits around, waiting for human beings to express disappointment so it can squash them like that bug you found in your tent during the
campout.

Even though we contend that a certain amount of disappointment, embarrassment, disgust or sadness is predictable for certain occasions, those who indulge themselves in such a luxury often find that they are left out of the next flow of human activity.

You can be disappointed, but no one really cares.

It’s not because they’re uncaring–it’s because deep in their hearts, each one of us knows that disappointment and embarrassment are useless emotions which must be dispelled as quickly as possible, lest they explode and destroy our will to live.

So when we see this in other people, there is a small part of us that wants to be sympathetic and a huge part that wants to run away in terror.

So beware of the instinct to share your heart if that emotional revelation is filled with chagrin–because even though we all suffer slings and arrows, most of us have learned the wisdom of ducking.

Donate ButtonThank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix  

Al fresco

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Al fresco: (adj) in the open air: e.g. an al fresco luncheon.

Much as I enjoy the arrival of spring with the promise of coming summer, and the warmth of that experience, I also become fully aware that I am about to be inundated by many different individuals who want to take advantage of the beauty of the season … to do everything outside.

Especially difficult for me is when they suggest that I take my sound equipment and music and array it on some sort of makeshift flat-bed trailer to perform in a park situation, surrounded by so many distractions that it’s nearly impossible to get the attention of a dead squirrel.

Let me tell you what bothers me about it:

1. Good sound needs walls. Otherwise it floats out and joins with other distracting molecules and becomes distorted or dispelled.

2. Even though I work very hard to be interesting, birds and trees, supersonic jets flying overhead and children briskly running and tripping to fall and scrape their noses do tend the eliminate the possibility of an ongoing attention span.

3. Bugs. If you are a normal person who showers, uses deodorant, or God forbid, aftershave, bugs seem to approach you as if you were a saloon and they are determined to get drunk on your elixir. I’ve had them fly in my mouth, buzz my bald head and perch themselves inside my ear.

I think I’ve just described the definition of “distracting.”

It happened to me recently when some friends invited me out to dinner, and asked if I wanted to sit at a table near the lake. It was a beautiful evening, about 6:15 P.M., and apparently the exact time when the local bees come out for an evening fellowship and what appeared to be church service. They huddled together, gathering around our food, and at times it appeared they were saying grace for the bounty set before them.

We eventually (being more intelligent than the buzzers) found ways to cover up our food, our bodies and the surrounding table with napkins, plates–and I think one lady used a scarf. It was not exactly what I would call a favorable dining experience.

I think going camping is an al fresco event. When you do so, you plan on roughing it, taking on nature and trying to get away from the delicacies of life.

But every other time you go al fresco, you must realize that it’s going to turn out to be a campout–and as soon as you arrive outside, you have departed your home … and entered Nature’s back yard.