I figured that with my bonus check from work we could get the cable turned back on, but my wife had other plans.
“Let’s get the dog fixed.
Cracker, did you hear me?
Let’s get the dog fixed with that money.”
I was drinking a beer in my room and trying to fix my CD player.
I had it in pieces all over the floor with no idea how to get it back together again.
“No,” I answered. It was a conversation I really just didn’t want to have.
“We’re getting him fixed,”
There would be no ignoring this. I left my dismantled CD player and met my wife in the kitchen.
wringing a dustrag in her hands.
“If we get him fixed we’ll have a lot less problems with him. He won’t try to dig his way out under the fence. He’ll bark less. We won’t have to worry about him biting anyone, and best of all he’ll stop pissing on our bed.”
Our dog, Boxcar Willy, had, with mixed results, recently taken to marking his territory.
I looked to Willy, lying on his back, legs spread eagle. His balls, as round as newly peeled potatoes hung proudly from between his legs.
“Look at him,” I said.
“He has beautiful nuts.”
“Not for long.”
She was so cocky, so sure.
“You’ve bought into an age old plot.” There must have been something in my voice, certainly not anger, urgency perhaps, because Mary stopped cleaning and looked up to me, one eyebrow beautifully quirked.
“A hideous feminist plot.”
“Cracker . . .”
“Just hear me out.
Feminism started in what, the 60s or something. Somewhere along the line of the birth control pill.
All right, women were finally able to have sex without procreating, opened up this whole new adventure for them right. It was great. People were fucking all over the place.
But, then the feminist saw that men were enjoying this too.
They were just having a bit too much fun, what with Woodstock and all.
Women figured something needed to be done, quick. They really couldn’t castrate men--they came close when one of their yes men invented the vasectomy, but not close enough. So they went after the dogs. It’s symbolic.
We’ve all heard it before--men are dogs.”
“I thought they were pigs?”
“Dogs,” I said. “They’re hitting us where it hurts.”
Willy pulled himself off the ground and trotted, balls flapping royally behind him, into the living room.
“Cracker, you’re ranting.”
“Just let me finis. When a man, and it’s always a married man, lets his wife talk him into getting his dog’s nuts cut it is the symbolic tossing into the dumpster of his last vestige of masculinity.
Damn them. I can’t believe they
got that turn coat Bob Barker on their side.”
Mary was starting to lose her patience.
"This isn't really about the dog is it? She asked.
I had a new job that wasn't washing dishes. I lived in a new town that wasn't Leadwood and wasn't in Missouri. It all reeked of responsibility. My daughters had recently joined writer’s group at school and everyday they came home excited about learning how to write poetry.
And everyday, I’d bitch about their teacher.
My youngest daughter would say, “I have to write a rhyming poem” and I’d say “It’s your poem, write it how you want.”
Then, my wife would look at me, lips pursed tight as a duck’s bill.
Or my oldest daughter would say, “I have to read a poem out loud today and when I do, I have to make grand hand gestures” (one of which she demonstrated with flourish of her arm) and I would say, “Grand hand gestures. Doesn't that distract from the poem? ”
Or they would come home and say, “we had so much fun writing poems today” and I would say “My God. Jesus Christ. I need a beer. ” Then Mary would look at me. Then, I swear, to Willy's balls before looking back to me.
“Cracker,” she said. “If we don’t get him fixed he’s gonna get out of the
yard and get another dog pregnant. Someone might not be able to take care of those puppies and they’ll have to be put down.
I know you don’t want that on your head. And doesn’t Bob Barker say Spay and Neuter?”
“We just won’t let him out of the yard." I said.
"You know he'll get out. It really is for his own good."
"I'm not sure he would agree with that."
Snip-Snip Mary pantomimed, her fingers makeshift scissors.
“No way,” I said.
“I’m putting my foot down on this one.”
Before Mary could retaliate my seven-year-old daughter walked into the kitchen
and asked for a drink of water.
“Sure,” I said, reaching for a glass.
“Watch out it might be a feminist plot,” Mary said.
I patted my daughter on the head and handed her a glass of water. “The revolution has begun, honey," I said. A revolution the like of which the great God Bacchus would bestow his blessing. Men have been repressed, and symbolically castrated for far too long. No more eunuchs! No more eunuchs!”
"No more eunuchs!" My daughter chanted.
“All of these thirty-year-old men sitting in psychiatrists offices and whining about their problems.
Men, shouldn’t whine," I said.
"Go to the bar, have a beer and that’s it.
Feminists have been trying to turn us into women for 40 years now.
Luckily my Mom would have none of it. “
Mary had been pushed a little too far. “Look how many more male CEO’s there are.
How much more they get paid.”
“True,” I said. “But they are are old. Their formative years were spent before women got their testes popping claws in them.
you can’t even get a man my age to wipe his ass without having an anxiety attack.”
“Jesus,” Mary said.
“He’s been emasculated too,” I said. “Long hair, six pack abs, sandals for God’s sake!
Everything that is natural to us, we get taught that it’s wrong somehow.
Playing army, playing with guns, fighting, getting dirty, squirming in our chairs.
We used to call that being boys, now we call it ADD."
“Cracker, give me one good, logical, real reason why we shouldn’t get him fixed.”
I thought for a minute.
I needed something good. Something that would drive my argument home. “Because nuts is fun!”
Mary sighed. “What good are they gonna do him if he’s not going to use them?”
“He can lick them,” I said. And in fact, he does, quite often.
“He’ll behave better,” Mary’s was angry now.
“My point exactly,” I said.
“Either they go,” Mary said, "or you go.”
There was no more use talking.
I went back to my room. The smallest room in the house. The one where I write and drink.
I looked and the parts of my CD player scattered across the floor.
There was no way I’d ever get that thing put back together.