Barry Crimmins

words to live near


2009: The Year in LePew or Happy Hurladays Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ltstronggt2009 The Year in LePew or Happy Hurladaysltstronggt

Lettie on a happier day-
Below -- Sister Lu up to mischief last summer
Bottom --And the doomed dog bed awaits a trip to the landfill

By Barry Crimmins

My intention for today was to rise early, get out of my own damned way and write something uplifting that would serve as an appreciative holiday note to all my friends and loved ones. Lord knows such an effort is long overdue. It is now even more tardy. I  got up early enough but instead of tapping out a message of good cheer, I instead began typing a cautionary tale.

The moral of this story? Be careful what you Christmas wish -- my one desire was to subdue any Tourettian outbursts that would land the worst kind of Yule log in the punchbowl. Kerplunk!

My intended holiday wishes were to include meditations on the beauty of nature and the enduring optimism found in true expressions of generosity and compassion that are prevalent at the end of another futile lap around a sun that will someday expire and, in the process, render any evidence of alleged Earthly civilization into nano-smithereens. Today wasn't meant for dreary thoughts or my impatience with everyone from gun nuts to media phonies to anyone who ever uses the word "American" as a positive descriptor. I was not going to indict, complain or caterwaul, which is why I didn't even consider writing a year-in-review piece before very early this morning. I was after Courier and Ives. As you may have estimated, I ended up with Jeckyl and Hyde.

My foiled plans had been so thorough. Despite its preeminence in the news, I'd figured it best to overlook the woeful health care debacle. To mix up some political buzzwords, as a term-limited pre-exister, I've felt as if I've been watching myself die on TV as my country once again manages to demonstrate to the world that people with their heads up their asses have a fool for a proctologist. Today there would be no public option for airing my contempt for the corporate greedheads and the pale alibis for representatives of the people who conspired to remove single-payer from atop the table under which they do so much commerce.

Much the same I'd decided to ignore the escalating war in Afghanistan and still-far-from-over Iraqi disaster, in which I can watch my poor, rural neighbors' kids die on television, providing I tune in the BBC or Link-TV because the American media censors the downside of those mammoth misjudgments. It instead focuses on heartwarming falsehoods about heroes spreading up-armored love, understanding and democracy to people slow to appreciate the human sacrifices required to occupy and impose a better way of life upon those who pray to a false god as they spit upon our martial charity simply because they are too backwards to understand how much American know-how it took to even consider unveiling the term "collateral damage" in a world full of poor folks who live and die in the midst of merciless and unrelenting crossfire.

And I sure wasn't going to mention our president, who has been busy making the a certain scnadalous duffer look like H. Rap Brown, as he explains to the world why the only wholesome use for a Nobel Peace Prize is to repurpose it as shrapnel inside a cluster bomb. You see, there are evil-doers that our new sheriff swears by all that's holy he will eradicate, no matter how many wedding parties and health clinics have to be laid to waste so he can draw a humanitarian bead on the sinister forces that are in need of killing.

I was even going to refrain from further denunciation of the First Church of the Pedophile that bows toward Rome or the new Cult of the Sanitized Child Molester, delivered from his earthly transgressions by enormous i-Tunes sales. And you know how hard that is for me to remain silent about such things, but hey, it's Christmas.

So in honor of the Baby Jesus, I was going to suspend consideration of all that aggravates, annoys and insults because I know there are millions far more sorely beset by life's relentlessly savage stupidity and far less deserving of its wildly unjust cruelties, than I. I've been called many things but not once have I been accused of being blameless.

So, although I'd wish what I'm about to disclose upon no one this side of Joe Lieberman's staff, I suppose I deserved what happened a few fateful moments after 3 this morning, when something terrible awoke me. Within seconds I knew it was a smell and/or a taste -- a bad smell and/or taste -- that was causing the disturbance. Whenever bad smells and/or tastes occur in our household, I round up the usual suspects -- Lettie and Lu, the LaDog sisters. A quick inventory found Lu lying irreproachably on our bed, where she joined Karen in the slumber of the blissfully ignorant. But Lettie was missing and so quickly become a "dog of interest." I arose, staggered into slippers and robe, and followed my nose downstairs.

The stench was so bad that my eyes watered and stomach began to churn even before I got all the way to the lower floor. I found Lettie on the dog bed in front of the fireplace. I turned on the light as she was still lurching over about a gallon of glistening, lumpy puke. In my day I have faced down all manner of dog spew and manfully done what has been needed to be done to return life to normal. I was similarly prepared to do my best to stabilize Lettie and then eradicate all evidence of her horrible hurl. But I had never run into anything remotely as awful as this godless vomit. The room smelled as if, well, as if she had puked shit. Really putrid, semi-digested shit, at that. Nothing like starting your day with a good lunch!

As much as I wanted to stop and comfort Lettie, all I could manage was a "good girl" to assure her that she was not in trouble for being sick as I bootlegged around her and rushed to the downstairs bath, where I immediately sympathy-puked my guts out. I felt like a tuning fork that had been calibrated in the belly of Hell. But being resilient and mission-oriented, I quickly gathered myself and went out to examine the slime scene. Lettie woefully looked up at me, as if to say, "I wanted out and I didn't puke on the rugs or furniture but my own bed." I could only respond with kindness. She had tried, bless her heart. I leaned over to pet her. This was a big mistake because it drew me far too close to ground zero without so much as a handkerchief between me and the noxious fumes. After my return trip to the loo, I washed my face, brushed my teeth and grabbed a towel that I then employed as a bandana/respirator. I wet another towel and went back out and dabbed my sick girl's muzzle with it. She wagged her tail weakly, but strongly enough to swirl the fouled air, causing life-threatening wafting to occur. I asked Lettie if she wanted to go out, she demurred. Judging by the sheer volume of her ralph, there was no need for her to use the outdoor facilities. When you got nothin', you got nothin' to lose.
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As Lettie headed back to our bedroom, I again assured her she was a good girl. I even helpfully suggested she might feel better if she gave her mother a nice, big kiss. Since no blood-curdling scream came from upstairs, I have to assume Lettie ignored my advice, allowing Karen to continue her long winter nap uninterrupted by any licking, kissing or exhalation of radioactive halitosis upon her unsuspecting person. In retrospect, this was for the best because I'd have had to clean up Karen's natural response to such other-wordly provocation.

In the meantime, Lu came down to supervise the cleanup operation. Although she normally prefers repulsive odors, by way of corroborating our living room's sudden eligibility for superfund status, she kept her distance from her sister's pungent calling card. I'll spare you the details of the removal of the massive amount of chunky effluent and simply say that so far the dog bed's cover has taken four full trips through the washing machine and one through the dryer and is now back in the hamper for further cleaning. The bed itself, pukily-penetrated beyond repair, has been condemned and awaits disposal in a far corner of the yard.

During the mop-up operation I realized that my initial assessment of the makeup of the upchuck had been accurate. Lettie had gotten into a dog delicacy-- fetid deer intestines. Hunting season finally ended yesterday after seven weeks of various weapons being unleashed upon the deer populace. (It starts with the National Wounders Association and a few weeks of bow season, then three weeks of shotguns and rifles, followed by muzzle-loaded blunderbusses, then I believe catapults, chemical weapons and finally bows again. But hey, teabaggers need to let off steam somewhere when there are no congresspersons handy for ambush. In any case, the camo crowd finally dispersed yesterday and we celebrated by letting Lettie and Lu run free last night. They thanked us by disappearing for fifteen or so minutes, during which Lettie obviously got into a "gut pile" -- the remains of the innards excised from a dead deer by a knife-wielding sportsman, proficient at field dressing. The poor deer must have died early in the fall campaign because its entrails were nastier than the inevitable outcome in Afghanistan, particularly when served up in a stew of Lettie's digestive juices.

Our darling girl is now doing better despite periodic dispersal of flatuelnce left over from the filming of The Exorcist. It's also still possible to spot-weld with her breath. On our morning walk, both she and Lu decorated the proverbial cake with what is best described as Bambi's Revenge. It's now obvious that Lu joined her sis at the bowel buffet. She's currently participating in a call and response rafter-rattling farting duel with Lettie. They breakfasted on a tiny portion of dog food soaked in Pepto Bismal, which as of 3 p.m. has done no apparent good. Henceforth the ban on carrying on with carrion has been restored and will be enforced without exemption.

Things have almost returned to normal. The vomitous odor has dissipated but only because I frittered away several months of assiduous energy conservation by opening every window in the lower half of the house for well over a predawn hour. I was seriously considering propelling the ten degree fresh air in here with window fans until a strong breeze caused it to literally begin snowing in the living room. This left me no choice but to laugh and dial up White Christmas on the last iPod in the Western Hemisphere devoid of the album Thriller.

I'll never forget the smell that awoke me, especially because it has been epoxied to the roof of my mouth for several hours. It tastes an awful lot like 2009 and it's hard to shake. A tumbler of scotch and Brussels sprout juice couldn't overwhelm it. Nevertheless the color is returning to my cheeks and my heart has warmed several degrees. So I apologize for bringing up anything as vile as the past twelve angry months. To do so only further depresses the informed while phoning in our coordinates to an ever-growing and very angry mob. When they next come to visit it won't be to sing Christmas carols, no matter how Christ-like my intentions to find a way to assure those near and dear that somewhere within me is still someone who pines for peace on earth and goodwill to humans, dogs and deer.

Larry Christmas! Yo! Yo! Yo!
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updated: 9 years ago