Nuggets I picked up from my dog, No. 6


Katherine asks “Why is it funny to see a dog in the front seat, looking out the window?”

We are in the car. No dog with us. I am driving and at the moment, Katherine is the one sitting in the front seat looking out the window. Not a funny sight. But not an unfunny sight.  Just a sight.

Coffee J. Dogg and unidentified syncophant

“Nuggets I picked up from my dog” are bits of wisdom gleaned from daily walks with my dog, Coffee. He had a soft, furry head and he never complained. Coffee left for stars unknown in 2010.

To be on the safe side, not even a sight because one could mistakenly think that I was saying “Oh, she’s a sight,” as in a sight for sore eyes. So. Just trying to avoid the landmines. In this case—as in all cases—Katherine is not a sight. She is just a Katherine, sitting in the front seat asking a ridiculous question as is her legal right.

And so I consider the question. I say “Hmmm.”

Although without a doubt, it’s a question of the rhetorical variety, meaning she doesn’t really expect me—or anyone—to answer it. More like a silent question one asks oneself. Like when you’re driving along and you think “I wonder if when you’re dead you know it or if someone has to tell you.” Sometimes, if you’re not careful, those little silent questions—let’s not tell anyone we’re thinking this—can slip through the teeth and out into the general oxygen supply. Getting them back can be very tricky.

Now, if Katherine does expect me to answer her question, I’m not sure what to say. Is it funny because when someone looks at our car going by they don’t expect to see a big, black, hairy dog thrusting his snout through the open window, taking the breeze like the king’s Alsatian, wondering what all the common dogs are doing?

Maybe. Although when Coffee J. Dogg rides, he rides mostly in back. The king doesn’t sit next to the chauffeur, right? Typically, whenever Coffee climbs into the front seat, he doesn’t turn himself around to face the side window. He sits facing me, the chauffeur, who gets just a little rattled to be buzzing along with his Master’s Voice giving him the hairy eyeball.

His Master’s Voice? I can still see the elaborate RCA Victor logo on the inside lid of our old wind-up Victrola record player, circa 1950. A dog sits beside an old gramophone speaker which looks like a witch’s pointy black hat lying on its side. The dog is looking into the part of the hat where the witch’s green head should be, but isn’t. He shows a look of curiosity and just a hint of terror as, presumably, a voice emerges from the hat. In case we don’t get the connection to the high fidelity sound of an RCA Victrola, the logo puts it into words we can understand: “His master’s voice.”

To the poor dog who can’t read, the understanding is slightly different. ‘That sounds like the guy who feeds me every night. But how is he going to feed me if he’s stuck inside that witch’s hat? Should I call the fire department? If only I knew their number.’

Anyway, when he’s in the front seat and I’m driving along, Coffee just stares at me.

Occasionally he’ll  paw my arm for a biscuit. I tell him to turn his butt around and stick his head out the window for some fresh air. I say the word “Breezes.” I say it many times, and very slowly and with volume, thinking this will help him understand. He doesn’t. I push the button that lowers the passenger side window. He turns and looks at it. I jump at my chance to look ahead, to make sure I’m still on the road. I’m sort of not.

“Breezes!” I scream, pulling back into my lane.

Finally, he’s sniffing at the rushing wind. His back feet and butt have moved but only slightly. They are pointing now at the glove compartment. Meanwhile, Coffee is straining his neck hard to the right in an impossible acrobatic move. His snout just barely protrudes from the window. He’s catching the breezes in one wet nostril and at any minute he’s going to snap back at me like a broken rubber band.

“I just think it’s a funny sight,” says Katherine, back in the current waking moment.  She gives me an inquisitive glance. “Don’t you?”

And so I consider the question. I say “Hmmm.”

Note: For more about Coffee J. Dogg and the origins of these essays, click on the menu bar “Nuggets I Picked Up From My Dog”

 ©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.

This entry was posted in Dogs I Have Known, The human comedy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nuggets I picked up from my dog, No. 6

  1. Mars Tokyo says:

    For all the material you got from Coffee, methinks you need another dog!


  2. dickydaddles says:

    Hmmmm babe!


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