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Lifestyle The Word 5 minute read

They Just Ain’t THAT Cute

Assholery: (n)  an act of being an asshole.

I think I’m about to indulge in a bit of assholery.  I’m never quite sure if I’m saying what others feel, yet are too polite to say — or if I am indeed, an asshole.  Since this article involves babies and dogs, I’m leaning toward the conclusion that I’m probably a bit of an asshole.  If that is indeed the case, I’m too old to change at this point anyway, so here it goes.

No one likes your child or your dog as much as you do (except the Grandparents—the Grandparents love your kids even more than they love you).

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There I said it.

If it helps things:  I have two dogs and two kids.  And no one thinks they are as great as I do either.

Look, I am not saying that your child isn’t the most intelligent, sweet, attractive child that has ever walked this earth (although, truthfully the law of averages suggests that is not true).  Or that your dog isn’t the most adorable, intelligent four-legged creature that has been born.  I’m just saying that we — the general public — don’t love them quite as much as you do.

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And it’s important for their future and well-being that you accept that tough but simple fact.

Two doctor’s visits in the last week have gotten me thinking this way.  Perhaps waiting 45 minutes in an uncomfortable, poorly decorated waiting room twice made me edgy.  Or perhaps I’m just so annoyed that doctors will charge you for being late and missing appointments, but don’t have a reciprocal policy or consideration.  All I know is that my time in those doctors’ offices and the behaviors I witnessed got me to thinking this way.

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Shortly after I arrived for my appointment, a young woman walked in with her cute daughter who looked to be around 2 years old.  As soon as the woman checked in and sat down in the waiting room, she became engrossed in her phone.  In contrast, her daughter made her rounds, craving attention, and putting on a show for me and the other waiting patients.  Everybody, even the uptight-looking man in a pin-stripe gray suit, played with her, but then all of us tired of it.  We too, like the girl’s mother, were drawn by our phone addiction and the lure of simply being still and unbothered.  Once the girl ran out of interested playmates, she started taking the various pamphlets on the leather coffee table and began throwing them up in the air like they were large pieces of confetti.  Then she’d return to one of us, her playmates.  The mother would look up every now and absentmindedly smile—as if she were witnessing two kids happily playing together instead of an array of adult strangers effectively babysitting her daughter.

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She seemed to think that we were enjoying babysitting her child.  And I guess that’s understandable because we all smiled and engaged with the toddler with delighted voices.  But isn’t that just what you do?  Certainly, the child was precious and her precociousness was endearing — until it wasn’t.  “Come get your child,” I thought.  We like her, just not THAT much.

My sentiment was the same 2 days later when I was in my dermatologist’s office and a woman outfitted in high-end yoga gear walked in with a white and tan Cocker Spaniel.  She checked-in, holding the dog’s leash loosely, and began chatting with the ladies at the front desk.  The dog — because he’s a dog — walked around smelling the objects that he was able to reach, including me and another patient.  The woman must’ve felt from the tugs on the leash that her dog was wandering a bit, but didn’t even look back.  This is the thing: my dirt is cool, your dirt is dirty. My dogs slob is cool, your dogs slob is disgusting. Get it?

I damn near have a mini-zoo at home and am an avid pet-lover, but I am annoyed with people’s lackadaisical monitoring and arrogant pushing of their dogs.  I like the furry, four-legged darlings, but I don’t really want them in my grocery store, nice restaurants, doctor’s offices or department stores.  When I see them at a park, they are huggable. When I see them by my pasta or cotton swabs they are disease and flea-ridden.

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But I understand that my opinion may be unpopular. Though I grew up in a house where dogs were thought to be best left outside, I’ve quickly tried to adapt to the new way of carrying one’s dog seemingly everywhere.  But do I have to play with Fido?  If you must go everywhere with your furry companion, can you do it with the assumption that those around you may be scared, allergic, or at best, ambivalent toward your best friend?  Even when my friends come to my home, I assume that they may not necessarily be as delighted as my sons at having a 70-pound Black Lab jumping on them.

And that’s how I feel it’s best and most polite to operate in the world:  with a level of respect for others around you.  Perhaps it’s assholery on my part.  But I promise you I am not alone – this world is full of assholes.

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