Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 24, 2013

From The Valley: Reality check bounces

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I was in my workshop out back when I heard someone knocking on the door. It was odd because it’s rare to hear someone knock on that particular door. Why? Well … because, it just is. For one thing, it’s in the backyard; it’s simply an over-sized shed. It’s like knocking on the garage door before pulling your car inside.

I was in there trying to figure out how Time Warner was going “simplify things” by changing the channel numbers that took me eight and a half years to finally memorize. Standing outside, waiting to see me, was my dog, Maggie. I should have known it was her. She can’t turn the handle.

“S’up, dog?” I said, opening the door, totally unabashed by my play on words and carrying on with the role of hipster by making goofy gestures with my hands and fingers.

“Yeah, funny,” Maggie said. “Can I come in? We’ve got to talk.”

“Sure, but ... HEY! … leave that dead ... whatever it is ... outside if you will.”

“I got another letter delivered to the doghouse,” she started, “and, as usual, it’s a sarcastic reaction to your using me in those drivel-driven columns of yours.” 

“Ouch! Well, at least someone is reading them,” I reasoned.

“What gets me,” Maggie explained, “is that all of the letters harp on the same topic: the fact that I can talk. People don’t believe it. Talking has become a curse for me.” 

“And, yet, they’re writing you letters, expecting you to READ them …?!”

Ignoring the irony at the heart of my question, she went on, “All I ever hear is ‘How gullible do you think I am?’ It’s a constant theme. If I never hear ‘How gullible do you think I am?’ again ... it’s too soon.”

“Listen Maggie,” I consoled, “if it will make you feel any better, you’re not the first talking pet we’ve had.”

“Really?” she gasped, suddenly interested.

“That’s right,” I explained. “Kathie and I went to the dog-pound, many years ago, and were enamored with this little gray and white puppy.”

“Seriously?”

“Oh yeah! He was the cutest thing: white fur and whisker-like hair all around his face. He looked like a baby wolf. In fact, we took him home and named him Wolfie.”

“And he could talk?”

“You betcha. And like you, he considered it a curse. Speaking of which, he did a lot of that. He swore all the time as a pup. Wolfie was a wild one, I’ll tell ya. We thought we’d made a mistake by taking him in. But eventually he came around. He ended doing quite well for himself. In fact, he did very well.” 

“What happened to him?” Maggie asked.

“Not exactly sure of all the details, but I know he moved to Buffalo for awhile. I heard he shortened his name to Wolf — and then he added a last name. Eventually, he took a job with CNN. He’s a broadcaster now — does the news. Wolf Blitzer. I guess his talent finally paid off. So the bottom line is ... don’t get discouraged.”

Maggie just glared at me. She never broke eye contact. After a moment of awkward silence, she spoke, “How gullible do you think I am?” 

She spun around and walked out the door.

“Where ya goin’, girl?” I asked. 

I can’t wait until next week when I tell her about our talking gecko and what he’s doing now.

And that’s the way it looks from the Valley.

Tom Valley is a Medina resident. Contact him at tvalley@rochester.rr.com.