Monday, July 2, 2012

Man's Best Friend (and other Brilliant Manipulators)

If you read the previous post (not the one I deleted for fear of career implications), you know that I have a three-legged dog. He gets around OK, but obviously doesn't have the "scamper-ability" a four-legged model has. There are exceptions, of course. Garbage Day, for one. The unmistakeable squeal of the brakes of the Republic Services trash truck seems to transport Maverick back to 2003, bolting to our gate at peak speed to tell Javier and Julio that this 'hood is his. After the truck leaves (because of his presence, of course), he'll come back in with the smug satisfaction that it was his work that drove them from the block.

Of course, he used to come bounding at the sound of the freezer door opening (ice cubes!) or the rustling of a box of Milk Bones. No more. While still getting somewhat excited over the prospect of a treat, he no longer does the work needed to come get it. Blame the parents. He now knows we'll bring it over to him. Maverick, in a certain way, has become not unlike many who now collect unemployment for 99 weeks. Why go and get it when it's going to be brought to you anyway? I can't rightly ask the garbage men (sorry, "sanitation engineers") to drive into my backyard so Mav can woof at them from the comfort of our living room. He has to work to get the satisfaction and, as I said before, seems to have a (three-legged) strut about him when the truck leaves his view.

I take a lot of pride in not having any debt, other than a mortgage (which isn't underwater). My spending is disciplined. I don't need to budget. I'm old enough to know what I can and can't afford. I save voraciously without denying myself the comfort of simple things that are deserved from a life well-lived. Still, all the work taken to get to this point is seeming to be increasingly worthless. Those that should be suffering for their bad or reckless behaviors are absolved. Debts are wiped away. Sentences are plea-bargained. Freeloading has become an art form.

My Gold's Gym is having a contest where the grand prize is a flat-screen TV for whomever best transforms from flabby to "fabby"(sorry). Forgetting the irony of a gym giving away a TV to the winner of a fitness contest, I'm punished in this case for being a normal body weight with decent muscle tone. I've discussed with my wife a master plan to 1) become an alcoholic, 2) hit rock bottom, 3) rehab in Malibu and 4) hit the lecture circuit for 10K a pop, all without becoming physically abusive toward her. She's surprisingly against it. Maybe I'll shoot for becomingly morbidly obese. It worked for Jared from Subway.

I'm having grilled chicken with rice for dinner tonight. Some fruit, too. Maybe I'll start that tomorrow.

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