My best friend is a heartless bastard.
He doesn’t beat up senior citizens or drown orphans or anything drastic and obvious. On the surface he seems quite normal and content. But skulking around the fringe and beneath the surface, he’s a heartless bastard. His soul is as black as a coal miner’s lungs.
My best friend is a heartless bastard because he doesn’t like animals. At all.
He didn’t even cry at the end of “Old Yeller”.
His is a pet free world, and that will never change. No dog nor cat nor ferret will ever grace his home, or enter his heart. His child will never have so much as a gold fish.
It’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t like animals. That’s probably why every president has had a pet of some nature, usually a dog. Had I known that my best friend had such an aversion to all things cute and fuzzy, we may never have become friends in the first place.
I learned he was born without a soul after it was too late.
I’ve asked him on more than one occasion why he has such a deep-rooted disinterest in animals. He never gives a straightforward answer, usually mumbling something incoherent about a dog named “Peanuts”. In the tenure of our friendship I’ve managed to piece together a tragic tale revolving around the family wagon, a Cocker Spaniel named Peanuts and a metaphorical farm.
His aversion to animals might stem from a sleepless night in South America spent laying on a mattress which he discovered, mid-way through the night, was infested with rats. To this very day he can’t watch a Speedy Gonzalez cartoon, or set foot in Disney World without breaking into a cold sweat, and possibly wetting his pants.
Me, I love animals; more than humans. I’d take a bullet for my dog Bodhi without a moment’s hesitation. It’s those big brown eyes, and the way he cocks his head and perks up his ears when I talk to him. I love the pure unbridled joy he has when I return home from a hard day’s work, or a 15 second foray to take out the trash–No matter how long I’ve been gone, he’s always happy to see me.
And no matter how long the journey, or hard my day has been, I’m always happy to see him.
Yes, I’m that guy.
Let’s not sugar coat it; I’m a fairly angry, bitter old man. I’m that guy who’s always cursing under his breath. I quit smoking, and drive a car with no horn through horrible traffic daily. I come home hating the world, and most of its inhabitants nearly every day. But the moment I cross the threshold from the trials of being a grown up into the comforts of my home it all washes away. Because he’s there waiting for me, tail wagging fervently. He takes it all away– The evil forces conspiring against me fade away in the wake of a minute when I scratch Bodhi behind his ear.
They say petting a dog adds years to your life. Research has shown that heart attack victims who have pets live longer. Dog owners have lower blood pressure and fewer stress-induced aches and pains. But more importantly, they make us feel safe and unconditionally loved.
Even looking at a puppy is enough to pull me out of the stygian darkness my waking life oft becomes.
If everyone would carry a photo of a puppy around, perhaps there would be no need for prozac. Some dumb bastard cuts you off, and just before your justifiable road rage starts boiling to the surface you hear your passenger say, “Oh look, a puppy!” Moments later your anger subsides as you look into the eyes of a cute little puppy dog.
I know it would work for me.
If my wife kept a picture of a puppy in her purse, I would probably never argue about politics with my father-in-law, or abuse obscene finger gestures while driving, ever again.
My boss comes down on me for no reason?
Gas prices Soaring?
Nothing in the news but stories about Octo-moms, Pandemics, Socialists, and the end of the world? (Leonard Bernstein!!!)
Evil forces slowly conspiring against me?
It doesn’t matter what the event, large or small; end of the world, or just the end of another unfulfilling day, a puppy can change a grimace into a grin…
Unless, like my best friend, you’re a heartless bastard.