Collie: (n) a sheepdog of a breed originating in Scotland

I was eleven years old before I realized they were not supposed to stink.

I’m talking about dogs.

Up to that point, I knew one dog–and this dog stunk. Ironically, her name was “Queenie.” Any pomp and circumstance associated with that name were purely accidental. She stunk. I could tell very time I drew near.

And near I drew.

Queenie was my Grandpa George’s animal. She was his favorite beast, person and thing.

Queenie felt great security in her job, and so pursued no personal hygiene. Half the day she wandered through the woods, living the life of a wild dog, to come
home to the little A-frame house as night was falling, to spend time with my grandpa.

I had jobs to do with Queenie. I kept praying that my grandpa would get old enough that he would become forgetful, and therefore fail to remember to ask me to do the job.

It was a two-parter.

Because Queenie was a collie, she had long fur which might have been lovely had it not been matted with dirt and grime, and filled with little stickers (which my grandpa referred to as “nettles”).

Grandpa wanted me to sit there during the visit, with Queenie’s snout lying in my lap, stinking up the room, and remove these little thistles from her fur. That was the first part.

The second part was that Queenie was a wild-type dog, and did not know how to get all the poop out of her butt with each bowel movement. So dangling from her backside were little sprinkles of dried turds, which Grandpa allowed me to remove by snipping them off with a small pair of scissors.

I will give Queenie one kudo: she never objected to any of the processes. Matter of fact, it reached a point that whenever I came into the room, she came over and laid her head on my knee, awaiting the treatment.

She smelled like everything bad that no one should ever inhale.

Her nettles always yanked out little pieces of hair, and the clippings from the back end–well, fortunately, time has healed me of the vision (as long as I don’t talk about it).

That is my experience with a collie. So you can see why, under no circumstances whatsoever, could I enjoy watching “Lassie.”


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Bulge: (n) a rounded swelling or protuberance that distorts a flat surface.

She smiled at the camera and said, “It is very important that you are proud of your body.”

I waited. I paused to see if she would laugh–because I immediately giggled.

I’ve been working for years on trying not to be ashamed of my body, and to avoid the temptation to do so, I do not like to look at myself Dictionary Bin the mirror.

Now, this may cause some thin people who make their living in physical fitness to weep, but I happen to believe that no good has ever come out of anyone standing in front of a mirror with their naked body, admiring.

There’s something beautiful about being aware of your status, lackings and bulges. Matter of fact, I have only one major goal and it’s really quite simple:

I try to diet and maintain my weight so that my bulge does not open a secondary office on top of its friend–because “bulging on bulge” is a real danger. Anyone who’s ever had a bulge will understand what I’m talking about and anyone who’s never had a bulge should probably eat tarantula turds and die.

Well, maybe not die … just spend more time smiling at themselves in the mirror.

And please leave me the hell alone.


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Agnew, Spiro

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAgnew, Spiro (1918-96): U.S. politician, he served as Richard Nixon’s vice president from 1969-73 but was forced to resign because of corruption charges against him that stemmed from his time as governor of Maryland 1967-69.

Most of the people around me who are under the age of forty have never perched themselves in an outhouse.

I have.

And the funny thing about an outhouse is that even though it is set apart from the regular home and requires that someone go down “the path less taken,” you always know when you’re near one. Matter of fact, rarely do you even have to ask for directions–unless you have nasal congestion.

It stinks.

And you know you’ve stayed in one too long when you cease to find it repulsive.

So when I see the name Spiro Agnew, that’s what I think about. As we look back, using the great hindsight of history, it is absolutely amazing that no one noticed what an outhouse the Nixon Administration, considering all the turds that surrounded it.

It just stunk.

They were arrogant, they were self-righteous, they were filled with the notion of their own mission and goodness, and it was ridiculous to connote that the man who selected the team was any different from his worst members.

Spiro Agnew always had the look on his face–as if he had swallowed a parakeet and you had just walked in the room and caught him. Yet he had no intention of divulging his action.

I guess that’s what the phrase, “by their fruits you shall know them” actually means. It’s not so much that we need to judge people–we just need to be intelligent enough to “take a whiff.”