Sunday, October 23, 2005
You know it's a weird evening when you look over at all the people sitting on your floor and there's the Butcher, with his head in Mrs. Wigglebottom's mouth, and no one notices. I sat for a long moment wondering if I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing. "Is your head in the dog's mouth?" "Well, you said you thought it was a bad idea for me to put my hand in her mouth." Which, People of Earth, is true enough. Both the Butcher and my dad love to put their fists in the dog's mouth, let her shut her mouth around said fist, and then they shake their fist--and by extension, the dog's head--as hard as they can. She loves this, but it is obviously a stupid trick to teach the dog. She can't tell who's got fists that can go in her mouth and who doesn't. Here's another stupid trick my dad taught the dog. My dad is a big man, as are the people in our family. And I don't mean big in the Hulk Hogan way, I mean big in the "when he's standing in front of his congregation in his white robe, he looks like someone threw a napkin over a peanut M&M" way. So, gravity is on his side. And he thinks it is the greatest thing every when the dog runs at him as fast as she can, leaps up onto his belly and back-flips off. And, I'll admit that it's spectacular to watch. But think of poor Yellow Brand Hammer Company, who is more ordinarily sized and not keen on having 60 pounds of dog hurling at his stomach, or even aware that such a thing might be possible. And poor YBHC usually has both hands occupied--cigarette in one, beer in the other--so there's not a lot of defense he can employ. But one day, as the Butcher tells it, YBHC was standing out in our front parking lot, having a cigarette, being a little drunk, and the dog came bounding out of the house, ignoring the Butcher's cries of "Mrs. Wigglebottom, stop! No! Stop!" and running over to YBHC. She leaps up, hits YBHC in the belly full-force, and physics kicks in. She goes off in one direction in a fabulous arc of dog. YBHC goes off in the other direction in a more messy arc of man, tobacco, and booze. When they were telling me about it later, YBHC said that, even from his perspective, it looked pretty cool. Landing flat on the concrete was not so cool, but the dog somersaulting through the air was a site to behold. So, what was my point? Ah, yes, that the dog already has a repertoire of incredibly stupid tricks that we were, at the least, ill-advised in training her to perform. But teaching the dog to let you stick your head in her mouth? Dear Sweet and Tender Jesus, have a little mercy on my poor brother--that's got to be just about the stupidest. But apparently, this is all part of the Butcher's plan to quit his job and start a non-traveling "mature circus." The non-traveling part is obvious. Dude doesn't have a car. He can't have a job that requires being on the road, because, obviously, I can't be without my car for ten months out of the year. Plus, please, where's he going to get the money for that venture? They repossessed his car, which is sad enough, but imagine having your whole circus repossessed. Though I wonder what kind of repo man would get that gig? Anyway, the "mature" part. "Well," he explains. He doesn't want it to be a 'sex' show, but he really wants one of his acts to be "a girl who can shoot ping pong balls out of her coochie." "Wow." I say. "Obviously, not you," he says. "Thanks for clarifying." But I was thinking about it, and I'll be damned if the Butcher doesn't have the beginnings to a pretty interesting circus. I could do his press releases. YBHC could do his posters. Our neighbor twirls fire--okay, I don't know if he's worked up to fire yet, but he twirls big balls of cloth that can eventually be set on fire, once he figures out how not to hit himself in the leg every few minutes. The Butcher has Mrs. Wigglebottom trained to do spectacularly stupid things. And he could wrestle the orange cat. His sullen, moody friend who doesn't read Chinese, but has many Chinese words tattooed on him by a man who also doesn't know Chinese could be our tattooed man. A lot of folks have tattoos, so he'd have to have a gimmick, like "World's Stupidest Tattooed Man," though he'd have to get the name of his best friend's wife tattooed on him first, to really qualify. But we could talk him into that. I don't know where we're going to find a girl who can shoot ping pong balls out of her cooter, because, I imagine that it's not a skill most women even know they have. But, I was thinking, too, that both the Butcher and I take forever to actually get around to anything, no matter how fabulous an idea it is. So, if you want to be his ping pong girl, you've got plenty of time to practice.