Mom’s getting aggressive, and dad’s mellowing out. It's a weird universe. Their Odd binary clocks are turning back the universe like Superman. Mom has an argumentative side, assertive to the point of being combative.
“You can’t hurt other people just for the story. It’s unethical.”
She’s pointing at me and shaking her finger.
“I agree, Mom. I’m just not sure speed dating with my husband hurts anyone..”
Dad’s mellow, smoking his pipe, “Oh come on, Choo, I don’t think everyone who’s speed dates is being perfectly honest, or assumes that the other person is..”
Mom replies, ‘I’ve spent too much time on the Ethical Human Subjects Review Board looking at the effects of dissertations on humans.. ”
or something, which reminds me how academic my family is. Who talks that way?
Dad defends me again, “that’s for writing an academic dissertation, not a magazine article. There are different standards.”
“Well there shouldn’t BE!”
DOG IS LOVE.
That’s the bumpersticker on my mom’s red 1990 Chrystler Labarron. It’s the only bumpersticker. She does love dogs. Maybe if I’m more of a dog I will get her attention. Look, ma, no approval from the human ethics review committee!! She didn’t like POTC II because of the scene where the cannibals chase the dog down the beach,, “I know they’re cannibals, but it’s not nice.” . That’s it. I’m killing a dog in my movie.
Mom was bemoaning that my little sister Peg doesn’t want to have children, when she’s “so loving and caring with Foster”, her dog. Yes, mom, Peggy won’t let Foster drink Tap water, insists that we all be quiet when Foster’s napping, and spent over $1000 on doggie therapy when he bit another dog at the dog park. She’ll be a great mom. Unlike me, an unethical loser who would lie to a stranger during speed dating. Why did I reproduce?
In the kitchen, there’s a small letter in a large gilded gold frame with a rosary draped over it. The letter is to my mom from the Apostolic Nunciature in WA DC. The what? Who talks like that? People, must I explain everything?? The apostolic nunciature is THE official catholic church place that answers official letters. It’s the Pope’s secretary, basically.
The framed letter reads: (I’m paraphrasing)
“Dear Mrs. Ringle,
Thank you for your recent inquiry. While the Pope blesses all of God’s creatures, he does not himself have a pet dog. Rest Assured that his Royal Popiness will say a prayer for you.
Monsignor Arch Diocese Important Person”
The story is actually funny. Sad funny? I don’t know.
My mom wrote to the Pope asking if he had a dog. This was 1992. She was 62, not 8. The funny part of the story was when she brought the letter to her local Catholic Church. Mom put on a straight face and showed Bishop Steiner, saying “I just received this letter.” He saw the address. He, unlike the rest of us, recognizes the Pope’s secretary and the Pope’s stationary. Mom said he just about passed out. One wonders what was going through his mind. Apparently, when he read the letter, and realized he was NOT about to be…what? Investigated?? Shut down? Visited ?? He shook with laughter, relief, joy, tears streaming down his face.
I was not shaking with laughter when Gypsy woke me up barking at nothing. Nor was I shaking with laughter watching the neighbor dog Macy try to bite the water. It was on the list of things to do. “Oh, Kate, it’s supposed to get really hot this weekend. And if it does, we can turn on the sprinkler in the back yard and invite the neighbor dog over and watch him try to bite the water!!” Wow. Welcome to life in Corvallis. It’s amazing that I didn’t do drugs in high school.
I should mention that after biting that water for a few minutes, the neighbor dog would heave, and vomit up all the water. “He does that sometimes. Watch your feet, Jack, ” Mom tells me.
What other doggie things?
Mom reads the paper this morning and exclaims, “OH MY LORD!!! GOOOD HEAVENS!!”
“35 greyhounds died in kennels in this heat!!”
That bugs me. Because I would have cared about the dogs until she fussed over them.
“Never mind the Israelites.”
“Kate, in my 67 years on this planet, the headlines about Israel have been consistent.”
Note: THIS planet. I knew it!
Finally, There’s an American Kennel Club Certificate on the wall next to me for the winning COMPANION DOG Companion is one of my archetypes. Hey, Mom, can you love me more than the dog? I’ll sit here and let you point at me. But I won’t try to bite the water, and I won't vomit at your feet. But I promise to bark at the Human Ethics Review Board for no reason.