As you may have guessed, there is a special poodle in my life. He is the "son" of my BFF and Ha-Ha Sister Laura Patrick and her dear wife Martha. (No, I am not too old to have a BFF, so shut up.) My nephew's name is Bailey, and he is a love muffin. Perhaps you my recall that I have a dark secret about my own resident canine stalker. The aversion I have toward my buggy-eyed predator does not extend to all dogs. On the contrary. I am very dog-friendly, and often carry treats around in my pockets. So please call PETA and tell them to stop throwing red paint on my clothes.
Yesterday, I received the happy news that Bailey will be getting a little sister...and I will be getting a new niece! Her current name is Lady Bug, though Laura and Martha are determined to find her a new forever name to match her new forever home. I'm voting for Lucille Ball, Miss Kitty or Bug. (Not that I get a vote. I'm just the auntie. What am I, chopped livah? Don't mind me - big sigh - I'll just be over here sitting in the corner slowly rotting.)
When I found out that my new niece is a cockapoo, it reminded me a recent comic by my acquaintance Hilary Price who creates "Rhymes with Orange," and gave voice to cockapoos every where with this funny comic strip.
No only is my nephew a poodle, and my niece a cockapoo, but you should know that my first born son was a fat, evil-looking tabby cat. I loved him DEEPLY, and I still miss him terribly. His name was Jokes because when he sat on your lap we could say, "Ha, ha. Joke's on you!"
Groan all you like. I can't take credit (or blame) for that joke, for it's a Melissa Tell Ott special. Missy is one of the many very funny women who lived in Jordan House at Smith College with me (Yay Smith!) Our humor focused primarily around our love of linguistics (...and penises, if you want to know the truth.) We found words funny. For example, long before "Dubya" bastardized a perfectly good letter of the alphabet, we found the word "shrub" to be hilarious. I don't know why. Perhaps it was the tongue-feel of the word. We simply were drawn to the playground of words.
Thus when many of us were taking Smith's famous Art 100, Missy became intrigued by the great ancient work of art in which an ode was inscribed in a descending spiral down a massive cylindrical column (Extra credit goes to the person who can name this work of art.*) Somehow Missy procured a six foot tall cylindrical cardboard tube. I can't imagine how or where she got it. Missy was miraculous that way. You didn't question her genius (mainly for fear of abetting a crime.) At the top of the tube, she inscribed (in Sharpie) the words: "Ode to a Roo Called Jokes." If I remember correctly, she had a nice accompanying illustration of a kangaroo. And thus for weeks and weeks, during our long, luxurious sessions in Missy's room, one or another of us would pick up the tube, and compose the next section of this on-going, collective story. I wish we still had that tube. I can't remember what the story was about, probably because there may or may not have been certain memory-affecting influences in Missy's room. If you were one of the authors of "Ode to a Roo Called Jokes," please post your memories of its plot! But I am quite sure the story was extraordinarily "random" (another of our favorite words. Everything was random in the late-80's in our corner of Jordan House.)
Fast forward a few years to the time when my boyfriend (now husband) and I need to chose a name our first child, an impossibly tiny and adorable kitten who insisted on crapping on our pillows for the longest time. "Jokes" was the only name on my list. My husband is either a saint or very suggestible, but either way he agreed with mild eye-rolling. I really do miss Jokes quite a bit. I always will.
But I'm looking forward to meeting my new niece, the cockapoo, Miss Buggaboo!
(I'll call her whatever I damned well please. It's my auntly priviledge. So there.)