Last week Lena was having a very busy day. She had found a technical issue that she really could have solved herself but frankly didn’t feel she had the time to look into. Instead she called up some of her tech people and made them do it. Now her folks are great and always happy to do anything she asks, which is why she made up a giant batch of cookies a couple of months ago and mailed it to them. It’s also why, when this particular guy not only addressed her problem, but went way above and beyond in dealing with it and all the hidden underlying issues, she resolved to send him a batch of brownies he could share with his buds.
We made the brownies in cupcake wrappers, so they would be individual and serving-sized, and easy to pass around in an office. Lena read that slices of Snicker bar placed on top of the cooking brownie made it extra special, so we did that too. (Sampled brownies affirmed this hypothesis.)
After they were done and cooled, Lena put the brownies in a zip-lock freezer bag and left them on the kitchen counter. The next morning we went to Shoney’s for breakfast. When we returned, the brownies were gone.
As I almost always do when I am confronted with the possibility of having been broken into, the first thing I did was check to see if our TV was still there, and then run around the house looking for pets. (I figure no burglar is likely to be as careful as I am about not letting the animals out.) Everything was still there. Okay, if we had been burgled, then the only thing the thief had made off with was a bunch of brownies. This didn’t make much sense. (Though as I think of it, no one is likely to ever steal a 300 pound TV set either.) The next consideration hit Lena and I roughly simultaneously as we walked together out into the back yard.
There, off to the left of the door, was a ripped open zip-lock freezer bag lying on the ground. Completely empty, devoid of brownies and cupcake wrappers. I turned to see Guinness, our dog, swiftly retreating back into the house, tail tucked conspicuously beneath him in a giveaway “uh-oh” gesture of shame. Experts on the subject will tell you that dogs exist solely in the “now,” and that it is useless to expect them to remember and feel bad about past transgressions. I can only assume that none of these experts have ever owned dogs, or that they are simply unobservant enough to notice that moment on their dog’s face when he realizes that you’re standing in the presence of physical evidence of his perfidy. That moment when your dog thinks, “Oh man, I knew I should have cleaned that up… RUN!” That dogs exist solely in the now is born out only by the fact that they so completely fail to plan ahead, not that they are incapable of appreciating the mistakes they have left behind.
So I’m angry, and I did fuss at him a little, and I was worried about the dog/chocolate angle, but he seemed to be okay and had likely eaten the brownies a couple of hours earlier, and I don’t really hold with hitting, so we cleaned up and moved on.
Later Lena and I went to the Costco and picked up some Ghiradelli brownie mix, and some fancier chocolates to stick in the individual brownies, sort of mentally making up to the tech guys that their first batch had been eaten by the dog. They were really much better. Lena put them away where the dog could not possible get to them, and we sat down to watch TV. As is his wont, Guinness climbed up onto the sofa in between us, and began turning in a circle to decide who would get his head, and who would get his butt.
Now, I’m not sure exactly what the thinking was here on this next bit. Maybe it was a present, maybe it was an accident, maybe it was something else, but Guinness chose that moment to return to me the brownies he had been carrying around all day long… across the front of my shirt and pants, as well as the seat and back of the sofa, the pillows I lean back on, and the blanket that Lena was curled up in. I stood and raised a slime-and-brownie covered arm into the air, inarticulate with a thousand powerful impulses at once. I wanted to scream and cry and punch and run and throw up and many many other things in that instant. Thankfully the one I seized on was “clean.”
I ran to the bathroom and stripped off my well-coated clothes and returned to the suddenly dogless scene of the crime with towels and Simple Green, and set to work. Now… I am a large person. I am in fact a fat guy. I have body issues. So squatting and bending naked except for where I was covered in chocolate dog vomit, cleaning floor and sofa while Lena fretted and asked me questions was approaching the level of personal hell approached by only the very worst of high-school nightmares. I am pretty confident in was my worst moment over the past year… maybe two.
Later, after furniture and floor were cleaned, laundry was started and showers were taken, I sat and reflected a bit. It would be easy to blame the dog, but he was only doing what was true to his nature. I could have blamed Lena, for leaving the brownies where Guinness could find them, but he had never done that before, and she certainly had no reason to expect it. I wanted to blame the tech person who had been so helpful in the first place, but rewarding his efforts with scorn and derision seemed a bit unfair. In the end I decided to blame no one, and simply chalk it up to the capricious whims of fate. I realized that I had learned something about myself and my dog, and could put that knowledge to good use making both of us happier in the future. I learned not to let my anger at a difficult situation seem like anger towards my wonderful wife, who only ever wants to help me, and that terrible things that happen to us, while momentarily unpleasant, are not really so terrible after all. Really, we were all better off for this having happened to us.
But if I ever see that tech guy, I’m gonna push his brownie-eating teeth down his throat with a brick. Bastard.
(BTW, tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of our invasion of Iraq! Yay! Maybe this year we’ll get flowers!)