In a town full of characters, I both appreciate, and sometimes fear that I am becoming one of them…
I walk my dog, Stroodle, 1 ½ miles each day through a nature preserve just outside of town. I talk to him as we walk, and do so using a blended dialect. The voice I speak in is a cross between the voice of the late comedian Mitch Hedberg, and the character H.I. McDunnough from the movie Raising Arizona. And I talk to my dog constantly during these walks.
As he sniffs his way through the park, checking out the various weeds, tree trunks, and large rocks, all made known to him by the scent of other dogs, I’ll chatter to at him about anything from events in the Middle East, to why I think whales beach themselves. As I do this, I also use a lot of hand gestures – because if I’m going to be eccentric, why not attract as much attention as possible, I guess…
For their part, the other people in the park don’t seem too frightened or even concerned by my behavior, but few take time to stop and chat. Some may accelerate their pace when they see me coming in order to avoid me, while others just avoid making eye contact. I’m just the crazy guy who talks to his dog, I guess…
Those who do attempt to chat with me though, sometimes get more than they might expect.
“If I can just make one person I come in contact with each day, question their sanity, then it’s been a good day.” Mark Cohen, author of The Fractal Murders
A dog known by many names is a dog well loved. Stroodle is his Christian name, but I often call him, Spaceman, Monkey, My Little Brown Friend, or Horton, along with a few others. Mostly though, I refer to him as, Mammal.
“Come on, Mammal”, I might say. Or, “Hurry up, Mammal, we’re running late.”
So when a young woman we often pass in the park asked me last why I always call my dog, Mammal, I responded…
“Because he is one.”
“Well” she asked, “does he have a name…?”
“Yes” I said, “Horton. Horton The Space Negro.”
Her: “What did you just say his name is…?”
Me: “I didn’t”
Her: “Yes you did. You called him some kind of negro.”
Me: “I don’t speak English, so what you’re suggesting isn’t likely…”
Her: “You’re speaking English right now!”
Me: “If you say so, but I don’t think so. I’m from What and they don’t speak English in What.”
Her: “Oh my god you’re a fucking weirdo, please don’t speak to me anymore.”
Me: “I just told you, I don’t speak English so I’m not sure what you just said to me…”
And all of this, as I mentioned, in my quasi Hedberg/McDunnough voice.
After my final statement, the woman turned and walked away with purpose. The fun part for me is that I know I will see her there again. I’ll be curious if, when she sees me coming, she turns to avoid me.
This is a true story, explained as it happened. As a point of clarification, The Space Negros were an experimental punk rock band in the late 1970s. You can’t make shit like that up. Be well… Jhciacb
If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so. Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from Mick Thomas. Enjoy…