More stories about dead dogs and celebrations

True story.

For some reason, when I was in my teens, my parents were always gone on some trip or another on my birthday. It really wasn’t that big of a deal, it was just that it fell so near July 4th that it was vacation time and off they went and I was left to my own devices. We just weren’t a big celebratin’ family.


But wait, wait..let’s back up a bit.

Right after I turned five (which we did celebrate during a visit to Columbus O-Hi-O) my parents gave me my first dog whom I named Billy. This was in my pre-Gurdon days when I thought “Billy” was the height of naming-cleverness. A shaggy black cockapoo (which was the PC name for mutts at the time) Billy was my best buddy through thick and thin even when we had several other dogs during his tenure.

Okay. Jump forward to July 8, 1973.

The family was in St. Louis that year and I didn’t go because it was summer and St. Louis doesn’t have a beach worth speaking of and why would someone from Southern California want to go to St. Louis in July when it doesn’t even have a friggin’ beach? So the birthday boy (that would be me, just in case I’m boring you and you’re already starting to wonder if maybe there was something better to read over at Michael Totten, and trust me, there isn’t)…ahem, anyway, the birthday boy goes over to his girlfriend of a year and a half’s house for his birthday.

And you know what he got?

Dumped. Kicked to the curb. Dropped like a bad habit. 86’d. Cashiered. Book’em Danno-ed.

You know what’s coming, don’t you.

Our devastated birthday boy drags his sorry-ass home to an empty house only to find…Billy is dead.

Ready for a dirt-nap. Hard as a carp. Cold as a stone. An ex-cockapoo.

Yes, it does sound like a country song but I didn’t have a truck so discriminating country-western songwriters collectively turned their noses up at me because I hadn’t suffered enough. Hence my antipathy towards country music ever since.

I wasn’t surprised that Billy died, after all he was thirteen, and I never really knew what killed him (we didn’t have CSI around at that time to draw a chalk line around him and look for clues), but you’ve got to admit that, for a friend, he could have had better timing. So I picked up his hard-as-a-carp body and carried it out back to the fringe of the garden and I buried him with full good-doggie honors.

Later that night my mom called to wish me a happy birthday and all I could say was, “Billy’s dead”. I can only imagine how my mom must have felt at those words. I wasn’t feeling too good myself.

The point of this amusing-because-of distance story is because tomorrow (or more likely today when you’re reading this) I’m turning fifty years old.

Old as the hills. Ready to be carbon-dated. Don’t buy any green bananas.

I don’t remember too many birthdays. I know that the twenty-first one had something to do with tequila and was one of the only two (count’em two) times I have ever been drunk. I also remember the song Dreamweaver playing in the bar and a blonde with a bob who was trying to take me home but my brother wouldn’t let her. My brother and I resumed speaking to each other many years later but there is still that tension at family gatherings.

There was also my thirtieth when the vivacious and seductive* Mrs. tbogg threw me a surprise party that at least three of my friends blew by saying “See you Saturday night”. I should point out that I choose my friends for their looks, not their brains.

So tomorrow (or today) I’m going to work and I’ll smile and say ‘thanks’ and I’ll get through the day with a minimum of fuss and Saturday I can put it all behind me and be thankful that my wife hasn’t left me and none of the dogs will die. Oh, and I have a truck now.

Wish me luck.

*Important announcement: Lately the gorgeous and prehensile-tongued Mrs tbogg has complained that I refer to the lovely and talented Casey as the “lovely and talented Casey“, while she gets bupkus. Just Mrs tbogg (see below). Therefore, we have reached an agreement that she will, from this point forward, be granted two adjectives per reference. A careful reading of which terms I use should be a reasonable indicator of our ongoing marital status (speaking of which, we will have been married 22 years on Saturday). Bully for us.

Of course, if I happen to refer to her as the “Hobbit of Love” in the near future, well, you’ll be on your own to figure that one out.

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