July 8, 2011
Hello Everyone, it’s me Wimsey coming to you from a very muggy New York City where the denizens of the Upper West Side have been having the ultimate bad hair week. Of course I am the envy of everyone as my sleek coat is as resistant to humidity as it is to bath water and my bad hair days consist of shedding hair all over my human Maria and her friend Elizabeth. When out for a walk in high humidity my spikey hairs stick to their bare skin (especially on their faces) causing them to scratch and rub in a manner suggesting a bad case of nits instead of a mild case of Hound.
Anyway, I hope you all had a good Fourth of July. I was out and about as usual and had to be forcibly restrained from inviting myself to all the picnics going on around me. But in the end I was rewarded with a nice, cooling cup of Grom Gelato. Artisanal Italian Gelato always tastes better when 1) your human can’t afford to buy it for themself (my recent medical escapades having depleted the family exchequer) 2) it is spoon fed to you (we Wimseys demand the highest level of service) and 3) the process attracts an admiring audience (who can resist the sight of great pools of gelato-infused drool emanating from a pair of fine looking flews).
But I am afraid my walks these days have assumed a pattern that my humans are finding more than a little challenging:
A Walk in the Park With Wimsey is No Walk in the Park
1. Enter Central Park.
2. Change directions multiple times in fits of olfactory indecision.
3. Snuffle lawns for presence of picnic remains.
4. Ingest said remains before humans even get a chance to see what they were let alone have a chance to prevent said ingestion.
5. Hunt down and capture discarded plastic water bottle.
6. Drag humans around looking for exactly the right spot on which to lie
when dismembering plastic water bottle. (Hint: best spots are those that lack a place for my humans to sit).
7. Under close human observation (and admiration no doubt), remove cap, crunch bottle, roach, remove plastic ring, crunch bottle, roach, crunch, roach, crunch roach.
8. Walk away from dead water bottle.
9. Return to dead water bottle in time to snatch it from human intending to dispose of it in garbage.
10. Crunch. Roach. Crunch. Crunch.
11. One human feeds cookie to distract while other disposes of water bottle.
12. Repeat steps 5-11 for each water bottle found, stolen or donated.
13. Drag humans to snack shops.
14. Stare, bay and drool at people trying to eat.
15. Lie down and refuse to move.
16. Humans use cookie (or turkey, depending on how adamant I am) to lure me away.
17. Misc. activities: attempts to sneak onto the beach volleyball court, trying to climb slippery rocks despite the
obvious absence of footing, running down hill or steps with slower human screaming behind, evincing an unhealthy interest in Park’s collection of poultry, trying to snatch water bottles from unsuspecting tourists, etc. etc. etc.
I really did outdo myself this week when we came upon a group of women playing field hockey: there were running women (women usually like to scratch me), there were sticks, there was a ball in motion and there were plastic line markers. After one of the players was finished saying hello to me I just took off after her with every intention of inserting myself into this most exciting game. This caused a protracted game of tug of war—me against my humans—with my leash. Sadly I was out numbered but I will be looking for those women in that field in the future. The real question is what to do first—shred plastic markers, steal ball and run, solicit petting or chew hockey stick. I never knew field hockey was such a multi-faceted game.
And of course when it is (eventually) time to leave the park I simply refuse to go. I throw myself down every few feet and turn into my interpretation of a concrete Hound lawn ornament. If my humans pull on the leash, I turn over and roach under the principle that a Hound with its legs in the air cannot also be a Hound capable of any sort of productive locomotion.
I mean why should I go—we are all having so much fun. Getting me out of the park generally entails a robust combination of cookies, turkey, pleading and then when all else fails, dragging. On my Fourth of July walk, however, I managed to flop down under a nice tree in Strawberry Fields—the area designated as a tribute to John Lennon who lived across the street. The area is reserved as a zone for quiet contemplation and what better a thing to quietly contemplate than me?
Better yet, the field is just off a main entrance to the park so as I lay there being scratched (and contemplated) into oblivion a steady stream of people entering the park passed by to admire and contemplate me also—generally with cameras in hand. And a few intrepid Hound loving souls entered our enclosure to assist with the scratching and to tell my humans how well behaved I am. And I am. As long as we are doing something of which I approve.
Sadly this idyll ended when a guy sat down nearby and proceeded to try to eat his sandwich and I proceeded to also try to eat his sandwich. He apologized profusely for being too hungry to share. Selfish git. I like the fact that New Yorkers have such a well-developed sense of guilt that not forking over their sandwich to a charging, baying Hound is cause for shame. I bet he devoted a whole session to it with his therapist.
And speaking of therapists Sarah Ferguson, sometime Duchess of York, most times confused celebrity, has apparently jumped the pond to seek help from America’s foremost self-help gurus. There is Oprah and Dr. Phil and Suze Orman but I think she would do a lot better to talk to me. I mean like her I am also badly behaved, dabble in bribery and extortion, and am constantly in search of fun but unlike her everyone (well almost everyone) still loves me anyway.
Finding Sarah: The Wimsey Episode
Wimsey: Well Sarah, what have you learned from these TV therapists?
Sarah: You mean apart from the fact that it is much cheaper and faster to undergo therapy with TV personalities than with the real kind?
Sarah: Well, I learned that all my bad behavior had absolutely nothing to do with poor judgment but happened because I want to please people.
Wimsey: That is a very valuable insight—pleasing people is a very bad idea. People are here to please us, and speaking of which I understand that you have some delectable toes that I would very much like to lick. But I digress. The more you please people, the more they will want to be pleased. It’s a slippery slope from obeying a “sit” command to fetching people’s slippers without chewing them up first. I call it The Golden Retriever Paradigm.
Sarah: But what can I do? When I was married people seemed to enjoy seeing me wear garish clothes and say indiscreet things in public. And then there were all those men who wanted to date me when my husband wasn’t around. I couldn’t say no.
Wimsey: Aha. That is where you are wrong. You must always say no. It is one of my fundamental tenets that if somebody wants you to do something you must refuse to do it, even if you actually want to do it. Saying no makes you powerful and others weak. It reduces them to figuring out ways to please you to get you to change your mind. And then of course they are so grateful if you budge even a little.
Sarah: But that doesn’t sound very spiritual.
Wimsey: On the contrary. It’s very spiritual. It contributes to keeping people humble and their egos in check. It’s hard to feel like a Master of the Universe when your Hound has no respect for your $5,000 Italian suit and looks at you like you’re speaking Farsi every time you ask him to do something. So by being oppositional and totally self-centered you can unselfishly help others on their spiritual path. It’s a win-win.
Sarah: But how about my need for attention?
Wimsey: Well you are large and red headed which has worked out pretty well for me. It’s too bad you don’t have the salivary apparatus for flinging drool—that’s always a sure fire attention getter. But people do love a celebrity. Perhaps you should start a blog about how wonderful you are with lots of pictures of yourself.
Sarah: Oh, I could never do that. I have no self-esteem. It’s one of the first things you learn from self-help gurus. No one has any self-esteem. You have to buy their books to help you acquire it. Did you know that William the Conqueror invaded England to bolster his self-esteem on account of being teased as child because he was illegitimate? That and the fact that his relatives were always trying to kill him. And losing his father at the age of seven just reinforced his belief in his lack of self worth. If only he could have talked to Dr. Phil! Then he wouldn’t have had to invade England and there wouldn’t have been any royal family for me to get tossed out of and I wouldn’t be in the predicament I am today. It’s tragic really.
Wimsey: Well I must admit a lack of self esteem is something to which I find it very difficult to relate. But of course if you behave like a Hound people will cater to you and show you a lot of respect and admire you and declare you have a lot of personality and that should help bolster your sense of self worth.
Sarah: But no one can respect me because of my body. I am one of those unfortunate women who is shaped like a woman and no matter how many diets I try I can never get my bones to protrude properly. I guess I’ll just have to develop a terminal illness to look fabulous.
Wimsey: Not necessarily. And by the way, I understand that you once described your backside as looking like a bag of ferrets fighting. Some of us find bags of ferrets fighting to be incredibly attractive, so remember that things are always in the eye of the beholder. But I am guessing from the look of you that you have never tried the Wimsey Hound Diet?
Sarah: No. Don’t tell me I have to eat kibble?
Wimsey: Good God no! Even I won’t eat kibble. You just have to agree to live with a large, energetic alimentarily acquisitive Hound. Chasing after a Hound every day for hours on a long lead is excellent cardio, being towed by the Hound develops core strength and dragging him away from people brandishing food is great for the upper body. And don’t worry about not keeping up with him—if you don’t he’ll just pull you over so most people find themselves very motivated to keep up. And then you either feed him half of what you were going to eat or he’ll steal all of it so the diet involves a substantial diminution in calories. Fortunately he’s much fonder of steak and ice cream than of salad and fruit.
Sarah: But what if I don’t feel like taking him out for several hours a day? I’m busy finding myself you know.
Wimsey: If he’s under exercised he’ll eat your house.
Sarah: Don’t be ridiculous dogs don’t eat houses.
Wimsey: I spoke metaphorically. He’ll eat your clothes, shoes, underwear, gloves, coats, jackets, hats, purses, books, mail, newspaper, towels, toilet paper, toiletries, linens, pillows, blankets, laundry (and bin if wicker) mattress, couch, tables, chairs, loveseats, garbage, computers, electronic devices, everything else not nailed down and some of that which is nailed down and a touch of dry wall if he’s exceptionally peckish. Personally I think a little fresh air with a lively Hound is preferable and certainly cheaper, than the alternative.
Sarah: Wow! I won’t be able to make any bad choices!
Wimsey: Or really any choices at all, which based on your track record is probably a good thing. The Wimsey Hound Diet is the diet you cannot say no to. Just like the Wimsey Hound. Now gimme those toes!
I really think I should write a self-help book. I mean who helps themselves more than a Hound? I’m an expert.
Well I think it is time for me to go see what else I can get up to. Elizabeth will be AWOL this Saturday as she is helping the ASPCA at Broadway Barks in the theater district. It’s a wonderful event organized by Bernadette Peters whereby the casts of the Broadway shows give up their break after their Saturday matinees to appear with dogs from New York’s animal shelters. There will be dog and cat adoptions as well. And when people tell Elizabeth that the shelter dog she is handling is well behaved she beams. Because it actually is.
Until next time,
Wimsey, self helping guru