My Husband Is A Psycho

My husband isn’t really a psycho but I thought it would be a pretty interesting title as far as search engines are concerned. Unfortunately, people are going to come here looking for answers on how to deal with said psycho husband and they’ll probably be disappointed. And now I feel bad. So, here’s some advice just in case you did come here to solve your psycho husband problems:

  1. How crazy is he on a scale from Scott Baio to Mel Gibson? If you’ve picked Gibson, my advice is to bake him a cake, pretend like you’re going to confession, AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE HOUSE IMMEDIATELY. He’s unpredictable, crazy racist, and hopped up on deranged man power. RUN!
  2. Is he talking to himself and/or convinced that he’s a garden gnome? Is he scaring you? If he’s not being scary but also thinks he’s a garden gnome, agree with him, and tell him that garden gnomes love yard work. Smile lovingly at him in his weird pointy hat while he sweats and toils in the sun.
  3. Is he being abusive and mean? Yes? YOU DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT. In the words of Beyonce, Queen Bey, LET ME UPGRADE YOU. Nobody deserves to be treated like crap or to be afraid of their partner. Get out, go to a family members house or a friends. Ask for help. Call a therapist or the police. There’s no shame in telling people that your husband is an asshole. Seriously. NO SHAME.

Alright, now back to my husband. My husband is not a psycho but sometimes he sounds like one because he’s foreign. And he has a crazy accent and doesn’t  understand pop culture.

For example. This morning I was walking around the house getting ready for work and for some reason that one song is stuck in my head, that Britney Spears song, “You better work bitch.” But I was tired, and I hate mornings, so instead of singing it I was just kind of padding around talking the lyrics. Like, “Oh, hey you in the mirror. You want a Maserati? Better work, bitch.” Then, I decided that my only form of communication with my husband all morning should be the same.

ME: Hey babe

Him: What?

ME: You want a Maserati?

Him: Huh? What the fuck are you talking about?

ME: You better work, bitch.

And he just shrugged and ignored me like he pretty much does every day and went back to making his fancy espresso that coughs and sprays black coffee shit all over my stove every. fucking. morning. I went back to the bathroom to apply a shitload of concealer and to continue talking to myself in Britney lyrics.

Then, Francesco was dropping me off at work and before I got out of the car he was all,

“Babe?”

I turned, “Yes?”

“Uhm, if you want deh Maserati you gotta get a job and shit!” He laughed out loud and pounded on the steering wheel.

“Those aren’t the lyrics, dude.” I shook my head disapprovingly and got out of the car and pretended like I didn’t know him. Because it’s one thing to speak in Britney lyrics and it’s another thing to TRY and fail miserably.

Get your shit together, husband.

Empathy, Apathy, And Ants

Ever since I was a kid, a toddler, really, I’ve been way into saving bugs. Bugs, animals, any and all disadvantaged children in third-world countries. My empathy, according to my husband, runs out about there, especially when he has the man-flu. But bugs? I go to great lengths to save them from certain death. Even though their life spans are like ten minutes. Or ESPECIALLY because of their short lifespan. I mean, if you only have ten minutes to live your entire life. YOU’VE GOT TO LIVE, DAMMIT!

The other day I woke up to an ant invasion. An entire fucking ant colony had moved into my dog, Oliver’s food bowl. This is because he’s an asshole and won’t eat any of his kibble that isn’t coated in canned food. “Well, it’s because you spoil him,” you’ll say. Of course, it is, but also because he has a will like nobody I’ve ever met. My husband put his foot down once and was like, “either he eats his kibble or he doesn’t eat.” And I told him to pick on someone his own size and stop being such an asshole. Oliver went nearly 2 days without eating in a standoff of willpower (note: He had a full bowl of food, he just refused to eat it), Oliver won. By the third day my husband broke, went and bought the three dollar per canned food and mixed it up apologetically with his kibble while Oliver glared at him like, “yeah, mix it good, fuckface.” But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, my dog is a shithead and didn’t finish 7-10 pieces of kibble because they weren’t delicious enough. And seventy generations of ants had moved into the bowl. Because ants are much less picky than poodles, apparently.

New Note (2)

Thousands of ants were marching in a giant swirl around the bowl. The remaining 43,576 ants that wouldn’t fit in the bowl were marching in incredibly orchestrated lines in a 3×3 space around the bowl. “Oh, SHIT!” I yelled when I first saw them. Then, i wandered aimlessly from the kitchen to the living room waiting for an adult to come and fix it for me. Then I realized that I was the adult and I had to fix  it. There were a few dozen ants a few feet from the others so I got a little broom and tried to sweep them up, gently. I put them outside. They all shriveled up into tiny hard balls of black. Like coarse ground pepper. “Oh no! I’m sorry! Get up!” I prodded them with sticks for a minute and then realized that I killed them. Then I felt super bad and hoped that their family members hadn’t seen them brutally massacred. The broom wouldn’t work. Everything that I could think of would kill them. And, as noted above, I can’t kill insects. It’s not that I LOVE all insects, spiders, honestly, scare the shit out of me. I can’t kill them, though. I have to work up the courage to trap them in a glass while I sweat profusely and shake uncontrollably. Sometimes I talk to them, “I’m just putting you outside goddamnit. Stop jumping around in there!”

Part of the reason I have a hard time killing insects is because I’m clearly nuts, but also because I respect them. Which I know sounds crazy and you’re all rolling your eyes like, “get a grip, psycho.” But ever since I can remember I’ve been really attached to nature. And, since toddlerhood, I’ve felt that everything fits together and that no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, everything is important. I used to talk to trees, I had pet rocks (which would be sad if it wasn’t so creepy), I should possibly be locked in the crazy house. Also, I’m slightly paranoid about bug karma. What if during the apocalypse insects become insanely giant or really good at math and gang up to attack any human who has ever squished an ancestor? There’s also a part of me that just thinks that humans are super, unbelievably, stupid. If you’ve ever observed drunk teenagers, you know what I mean. We’re dumb. All of us. And so who know what the rest of the creatures on the earth are all about. I have no goddamn idea. And science is too political when it comes to this sort of thing, I mean, at one point, it was scientifically proven that non-white people and female people were not real people. So, I struggle with science’s time-encased notions of importance, relevance, or I don’t want to be squished-ness. Basically, I like to play it safe. And I like to make my life as difficult as possible. Clearly.

After thirty minutes of watching the ants dominate a small corner of my kitchen, I remembered Google. Google knows all things. I grabbed my phone and quickly Googled “How to get rid of ants without killing them.” I read the two-hundred suggestions but all of the suggestions were stupid. Use vinegar. Essential oils. Lalala. Great, thanks, that’s a great idea from preventing this from happening again. But what do I do once they’ve already broke in and seized a part of my home? Nothing. I started to wonder how in the hell they’d managed to get in my house in the first place. I went out my back door and looked outside approximately where they were inside. Sure enough, there was a line of ants charging in, and another line of slower ants wobbling out, struggling to balance small crumbs of Oliver’s food in their little pincher faces. They wanted the food. So if I moved the food outside, maybe they’d all give up and go outside.

I dumped the remaining crumbs of Oliver’s food outside near the ant line. And I went to write in my office.

Every hour I came back into the kitchen to check on the insect situation and every time there were fewer ants. By the end of the day, there were no more than a few dozen. That night, I proudly (and smugly) explained what happened to my husband who stared at me vacantly. “You’re fucking insane, dude. Why didn’t you just kill them?” For which I glared and told him that I hoped he got chlamydia. But then I thought about it for a second and remembered that we were married. “NEVERMIND! I hope you stub your wiener,” I yelled after him, which also didn’t make any sense.

That night, I proudly (and smugly) explained what happened to my husband who stared at me vacantly. “You’re fucking insane, dude. Why didn’t you just kill them?” For which I glared and told him that I hoped he got chlamydia. But then I thought about it for a second and remembered that we were married. “NEVERMIND! I hope you stub your wiener,” I yelled after him, which also didn’t make any sense. 

When I snuggled next to my husband and Oliver in bed that night, I made sure to pull the sheets off of the floor to keep spiders out of our bed.

“But I thought spiders were your friends,” my husband hyena laughed.

“You’re hilarious, asshat. I don’t spiders to bite Oliver. Seriously ,though, If they come up here, I hope they bite your ass.”

And I lay in bed, unable to sleep, terrified of spiders.

 

 

 

Does This Cup Make My Vagina Look Huge?

My friend K just moved back from France. So, it made sense for us to catch up over a FOUR HOUR phone call (it actually flew by). During this conversation, we talked about work. K is a former journalist turned evil copywriter, like me. Only, replace “journalist” with “literature major,” and “pimp.”

We talked about the ideal company to work for and fun parts of our job (like strategizing ways to take down competitors because marketing is an asshole industry), and I mentioned, about 400 times, that I would love to work with Thinx. They make period underwear. And as much as you’re probably thinking, “ew gross,” what you would be thinking after you used them is, “fuck yeah.” Anyway, I have five pairs, they’re amazing, and I’m obsessed with them. I was explaining the absolute badassery that is period panties, when K said, “I really want to try cups.”

“AH! Yeah! I’m trying!” I squealed like a teenager.

And I went into a long rant about how tampons are stupid because they dry out your lady garden, mess up your ph balance, and are also full of chemicals (unless you get organic ones).

“So, I’ve wanted to try cups forever,” I continued. “My sister gave me one to try from a pack of disposables she bought at Target. I tried it in Munich. And it got stuck. In. My. Vagina. And I spent one hour squatting on my bathroom floor like Gollum, trying to hook the fucking thing so I could get it out of my vagina. It was the WORST. I just kept wondering how I would explain to Francesco that I got some silicon doo-hicky permanently lodged up there.”

“That sounds terrible,” K laughed, “when I tried it,  the same thing happened. My boyfriend had to help me get it out.”

“AH! Jesus! REALLY? Awful. So, after that shitty experience, I still wanted to try a cup. I bought a Lena on Amazon. And it took three cycles to figure it out and I felt like a fourteen-year-old again, trying to figure out tampons. And to not freak out about how it might be sucking out my guts (note: It can’t suck out your guts, apparently). But on the fourth cycle, I finally figured it out. And, it’s awesome. Except, I think it might be too small because it leaks a little.”

Then it occurred to me that she might be all like, “she has a giant vagina.” So I quickly added that my lady cave is perfectly compact. And I don’t even know why because vaginas come in all sorts of sizes and it’s TOTALLY FINE. Still. I tried to overly explain.

“I mean, it’s not like my vagina is huge. My last gynecologist had to use the small speculum. She even waved it around and said, ‘I only use this small one for my special ladies,’ which was weird and kind of scary. And F was in the corner like, WTF is happening?”

K burst out laughing. “You have the WEIRDEST gynecologist stories. Seriously, who are these people you go to?”

“Right? I noted that I DO have weird gyno experiences,  “anyway, my vagina isn’t like enormous or anything.”

K paused, “I was just remembering one time when I was over at your house and you told Francesco to buy you Super tampons and he asked, ‘like extra large?’ and you were like, ‘Yes, extra large, for my EXTRA LARGE VAGINA.”

” And it’s not extra large. It’s just extra bleedy. But yeah, that conversation sounds like me and F.”

“It does.” She agreed.

I pulled up Amazon on my phone while we were talking, “So, I’m going to order the same cup but in a bigger size. I’ll let you know how it goes.”

“Thanks, yeah, definitely let me know how the HUGE one fits.”

And then I just glared at my phone while K laughed.

“This should be a blog post,” K said.

“Hmm. Yeah.” I agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

My Best Friend, Rock

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When I was four years old I had pet rocks. My mom and I lived together in a small low-income apartment in Ogden, Utah, and we weren’t allowed to have normal pets like a dog or a guinea pig. There was no particular reason why I chose rocks instead of some other free or cheap inanimate objects like twigs or grass. It just kind of happened. One day my mom and I were returning home from the grocery store and I spotted some stones around a tree. They weren’t really beautiful or interesting, just your typical gray, flattened golf-ball-sized stones, and it occurred to me that they’d make pretty good pets. I ran over and picked them up, careful to brush off the ants, and returned quickly to my mom’s side.

“My pet rocks,” I showed her.
“Well that’s nice,” my mom said in a way that told me how interested she actually wasn’t. She heaved the grocery bag over her shoulder and we continued to head inside our humble dwelling.

New Note

While my mom put the food away, I marched directly into the bathroom to give my rocks, “a bath.” I filled up the bathroom sink with soapy water, testing the water on my wrist to make sure it wasn’t too hot.
“Hold your breath,” I told my rocks, before plunging them into the water.

I scrubbed. I sang. I rambled on with a manic level of excitement. I told them everything about me, as quickly as possible:

My favorite color was: Not pink
My favorite toy: Castle Gray Skull
My best friend: Rocks!

I didn’t have any friends.

I went to daycare but those kids didn’t talk to me anymore.  I’d been shunned, eighteenth-century style, for a teeny-tiny incident that had happened a few weeks prior.

During an of afternoon recess, a group of us had gathered on the playground. Some of the other children were talking about their siblings. I didn’t have one yet, but everyone else was Mormon and had 7,000. One little blonde girl proudly bragged, “The stork is going to bring my family a baby sister soon.” I rolled my eyes because doctors deliver babies, not giant birds. I waited for someone else to call her on her bullshit but nobody did. The others just smiled stupidly and nodded. Clearly, I was the only one who knew anything about life or babies.

So, I told everyone. And I drew a diagram in the sand. “Babies,” I explained, “come from chicken eggs that grow inside of your vagina.”

“What’s a vagina?” One of the girls asked. I dropped my pants and pointed to it.

“This is a vagina. You have one, too. There’s probably chicken eggs somewhere around there already,” I shrugged and pulled my pants back up.

New Note (1)

It took less than an hour for my impromptu sex-ed lesson to spread like a wild fire throughout the school. Parent’s called. The daycare teachers were so horrified that they glared at me and whispered to each other when I walked into the room. I received the same treatment as a forty-year-old truck driver who’d walked onto the playground and whacked all of the children over the head with his dong. I felt ashamed and embarrassed mainly because I knew that’s how the adults wanted me to feel. Their eyes were very clear about it. Although, I was super confused why. By the end of the day, the other children had stopped speaking to me.

I’d been a little lonely ever since. But, no longer. Because rocks. And rocks, unlike the assholes at school, just listened, non-judgementally, to all of the super cool shit I had to say.

I named my rocks Moon, Star, and Crystal, which also happened to be the most popular stripper pseudonyms of all time. After their bath I patted them dry, one by one, wrapped them in a blanket and set them on the chair next to me during dinner. Later, I took them to bed and laid them gently on the far left side of my pillow. My mom tucked me in,  shut off my light, and I whispered stories to Crystal, Moon, and Star, about the badass adventures I would have one day when I finally owned a Pegasus, until I passed out.

For the first few weeks, Star, Moon, and Crystal were faceless. They were just gray, on gray, and hard to tell apart. But one day I found a marker and drew them a set of black circles for eyes and a turned-up line for a mouth.”Now,” I told them, “you can see and stuff.” And there was a part of me that was pretty sure that they could. Or at least hoped that they could. I imagined that without eyes, it was probably pretty horrifying to be launched down a slide or taped to a swing. I wanted them to have a good time, too. Even though they were rocks, I liked to think that they were participating in our friendship in their own, stoic way.

“Now,” I told them in my magician voice, “you can see and stuff.”

And there was a part of me that was pretty sure that they could. Or at least hoped that they could. I imagined that without eyes, it was probably pretty horrifying to be launched down a slide or taped to a swing. I wanted them to have a good time, too. Even though they were rocks, I liked to think that they were participating in our friendship in their own, stoic way.

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I’d been having a great time, painting with them, storytelling, and jamming cottage cheese into their little line mouths. I tied a string around them and dragged them behind me, up and down the sidewalk, so they could get their exercise. I tried to teach them to read, and sometimes took baths with them. Life was totally sweet for me. And, even though they were rocks, I liked to think that they were enjoying our time together, in their own, stoic way.

If my mom was concerned about my exhibitionism, bizarre interpretation of the anatomy/baby lesson she’d given me, or my new best friends, or lack of actual human interaction, she never let on. She went about our daily life as if I were perfectly normal. And she asked me about my rocks the same way a parent would ask  their child about their pet hamster, “Oh, did Crystal enjoy her nap?” Years later, she told me that the whole pet rock thing was fucking hilarious. I can imagine her, cigarette in hand, on the phone with my grandma while I lectured Star about being a bully, “No, seriously, this kid has lost her goddamn mind, and it’s a fucking hoot.”

Then one day, after weeks of playing rock jump rope, rock, rock, goose, and rock tag, I met a boy outside of my apartment building. He called me a rude name and I kicked him in the willy with my red cowgirl boots. He got back up and pushed me into a thorn bush. We became fast friends.

Shortly after, my mom returned Star, Crystal, and Moon to the wild.

A Disagreement About Mad Men

 

thug life

During the day when I’m not trying to iron out a book or writing a blog post, I work as a copywriter. Basically, I work in advertising and marketing, writing persuasive prose designed to give a nudge to the masses. It’s manipulative but sometimes rewarding to see how ideas or words can motivate people in different ways. I felt better about my job before I got really into Mad Men on Netflix.

My husband and I are watching all of the seasons, 1-10 million right now and all I can think is, “I’m a dickweed for a living.” Great. Also? Thank god I didn’t grow up in the fifties. I spend a lot of episodes hoping that one of the babes will punch out one of the more sexist dudes who are all “my hands are broken cause I have a penis, I can’t mix my own drink.” So, I was pretty excited today to see the episode where Joan’s husband was whining and Joan, tired of his shit, knocked him over the head with a vase. Finally! And, then the next day he returned home with a dozen roses for Joan like, “you were abusive, so here’s a pretty reminder,” because the fifties were swell. 

I was eating spinach and Francesco was sitting next to me during the episode. I wanted flowers too so I leaned over and stabbed him with my fork.

F: Ouch! What the hell?!

Me: You’re supposed to buy me flowers now.

F: Are you insane? Says who?

Me: Says t.v. And we all know that t.v. mirrors real life.

F: No! You assho—

Stabbed him again.

F: Stop that! You don’t even like flowers!

Me: it’s not working! Maybe it needs to be a vase? Do we even own a vase?!

F: I’ll buy you a vase if you stop poking me. Jesus. Psycho.

Me: It worked!

The moral of the story is that forks are a multipurpose tool invented by a genius. And? You’re welcome, ladies.*

Jabbing your partner could lead to tetanus, probably. I don’t recommend it. Unless you’re trying to kill them.*

Don’t kill your partner, it’s the least effective way to get flowers or vases.

Going To The OBGYN Is A Lot Like Trying On Shoes Only Not At All

I sat in the pink gown with the scratchy paper draped over my lap waiting for the doctor to come in to give me my yearly checkup. My husband, Francesco sat awkwardly in the corner repeating, “200 dollars?” He was shell shocked that we had forgotten our insurance cards and were forced to pay for the visit up front. “The money will be reimbursed when  you call in with your policy number,” the receptionist told us while I handed her my forms of 3,564 questions that ranged from “Insurance provider,” to, “Is your spouse hitting you?” Francesco was suffering from some form of financial ptsd as he usually does in his day to day life. Because he’s responsible and cares about our savings in a way that I wish I could but know I never will.

On our drive to the clinic he had tried to convince me to, “Ask the doctor how much everything will cost. Maybe we can get it cheaper somewhere else.”

I turned, “Really, where do you think we can get a vaginal exam for cheaper? What makes you think I want a cheap exam? Maybe I don’t want a discount doctor to poke my ovaries.”

Rolling his eyes, “It’s fine to ask. Maybe your dad’s friend doctor could do it?”

I threw my hands up, “Are you insane!? Dr. Mandorlay is a family friend. I am not showing him my vagina! We have insurance you crazy person! And we’re not even that poor! What the hell is wrong with you!?”

He made a right into the parking lot of the clinic, “It’s never a bad idea to save money. We don’t know how much this might cost.”

“That’s kind of the point of insurance.”

I sat on the table swinging my legs anxiously. It’s kind of twisted but i’m less worried about someone seeing my vagina than displaying it. Going to the gyno for me is awkward because of that weird moment where you have to unveil your lady bits to someone sitting one foot away from it. Preparing to go to the doctor is like going on a date where you know you’re going to get lucky. I shave, rub my legs down with lotion so she doesn’t judge me for having dry skin. I spritz my thighs with a bit of rose oil perfume so the doctor can sit down to a nice fragrant mist. I bet she’ll appreciate that, I think, she probably wishes that more of her patience oiled their legs. Then I get dressed and stress about what I’m wearing. If I wear something too comfortable I might give the doctor anxiety about having to put her hand in my hoo-haw. When I see women in sweats outside their homes I don’t associate them with the cleanest vaginas. I mean, if you can’t even bother to put on real pants who knows what’s happening down under. Do I want to go business attire? Slacks and a button-down? Do I want her to think, Power Vagina? I settle on leggins, a t-shirt, and cardigan. I went with “Casual vagina.” I started to apply makeup than worried I might take it too far. I usually wear red lip which seems a little inappropriate considering the circumstances. Like I’d somehow overdressed and was expecting something more than a simple exam. I decided on minimal makeup to somehow make it less weird. 

Come On In, Everyone! Gif By: http://www.okmoviequotes.com/

The doctor came in and introduced herself. A Colorado native, she’s been an OBGYN for a decade or so. She married into a Sicilian family. She spoke with my husband a bit about his native country, Italy, and then moved onto me. In the usual fashion, she sat on a chair and rolled up to me.

“Scoot down, scoot down, scoooooot way down. Alright, great! Now straddle for me,” she yelled in between my legs like she was screaming into a tunnel. I heard her reached for something, “Great! Lookin’ good!” I took that as a personal compliment, “Thank you.” So all the lotions and shaving weren’t crazy. Something clanked loudly, “Hmm, gotta find the right one,” more clanking. I couldn’t see her over the scratchy paper blanket. My husband peered out of the window into the parking lot. He was either uncomfortable by what the doctor was doing or he was trying to find a back alley surgeon.

“Let’s see if this speculum works. Nope. This one? Nope. Hmm. It’s your lucky day. I only use more than one for my special ladies.” I felt like I was trying on shoes. Shoes for my vagina. “You’re cervix looks healthy.” I felt scraping with her tiny, evil mini broom that they use to test your cervical cells for abnormalities. ouch. ouch. OUCH. She was finished.

She stood up, “Go ahead and get dressed. So do you know if you’re close to your cycle?”

I sat up, “Uhm, well, I want to ax murder my husband so that’s a good indication that it’s near.”

“Uh-huh,” she wrote something in my chart, probably, “psycho.”

“Also, you see my sister and she said you said she has a tilted uterus or something. Is that me too?”

“No, you don’t have matchy vaginas in that sense.”

“Cool. Is it weird that we both come to you?” It had just occurred to me that it might be odd for us to both see the same doctor.

“No, a lot of family members see the same doctor.” She smiled, “I hope you’re doing okay. I hope I didn’t kill you.”

“Jesus, could it get any worse than ‘death by pap-smear?” I laughed.

She smiled, “No, it probably couldn’t. So, see you next time!” She left.

I hopped down from the chair and started to get dressed. The tile was cold on my bare feet. I wondered why doctors offices were always freezing, like a meat locker. I contemplated taking a picture of a giant plastic sculpture of a uterus. I noticed how much space it takes up in the body which totally made sense and explained why I had to pee so often. My bladder was being pushed around by my big ass uterus. And, who invented the weird table with the feet stirrups?

I turned to my husband who was now standing anxiously, “would it be weird to do it in here?”

His eyes bugged out of his face, “Yes, yes it would be weird. What the hell is wrong with you!? Get dressed!”

I pulled on my pants, “It was just a question. I wasn’t like hitting on you. Plus, I thought you might want to get as much bang for your buck as possible. Since, you know, you’re stressed about the cost of maintaining my lady bits.”

“I’m not stressed! I was just say…Please stop talking,” he ushered me towards the door.

“Fine, but can I at least have ice cream now?”

“What are you five?”

“I just had a metal duck head inside my guts. I think I’m entitled.”

“Fine-a. We can git gelato on the way home.”

I would be free for another year, given that my results come back as normal.

Dog Park People And Observations: Our Savior The Dog And Aquanet Addiction

photoI’ve spent a lot of time at dog parks. Back in college I fostered dogs for a group that took adoptable dogs from high-kill shelters. Often, my fosters were labs or pitbulls, breeds that require a lot of exercise to be happy and healthy. Dog parks are a great place to socialize dogs while they run their little legs off. Oliver, The Most Difficult Dog In The Universe, is the first small dog I’ve ever had. I’m more nervous with him at the parks so I tend to stay in the small dog areas with the crazy people.

All dog park people are a little “weird,” in the sense that it’s the only place that owners are forced to interact and free to talk nonstop about their pets. Every dog owner wants the freedom to ramble about how “unique, special, brilliant,” or in my case, “fucked up,” their dog is. The dog park is this safe haven to let the crazy flag fly. We, the dog park people, are a tribe of mushy soft freaks whose lives, one way or another, revolve around our intense love and affection for our little four-legged fruitcakes. No matter where you are in the world you’ll find the same types of people in every dog park. I lived in Italy for four years and the dog park people there were the same as dog park people in Utah, Arizona, and California. In every dog park you’ll find:

The Know It All: This is the person that has read a dog book or two, has paid for a shitload of dog training, and wants to tell everyone how they should train their dogs (this person is often me).

The Random: This is a person who does not actually have a dog. He or she is simply at the dog park for no fucking reason whatsoever. Maybe in company of their crazy friend, or just to peruse and watch doggies play. In one case in Italy, The Random, was a public masturbator who stood on a hill overlooking the dog park while he jerked his salami, terrifying both humans and K9’s alike.

The Worker: This is a person who doesn’t actually own the dog he or she is in care of. They’re professional dog sitters or some relative but they are having a great time pretending like they own a dog.

The My Giant Dog Is A Lamb: This is the person who always, without fail, brings their one-hundred pound dog into the “tiny” dog area proclaiming, “he’s large but he’s really sweet.” These people are under the assumption that the small dog area exists to protect smaller dogs from larger ones. This is partially true. However, it’s not always the case. I go to the small area because my dog is a dickhead and he’s afraid of large dogs. As soon as he sees one he flies into little-man complex mode. Then, after Oliver runs over and bites the shit out of someone’s giant dog, I have to explain that, “My dog doesn’t like large dogs, which is why I’m in the area for small dogs.” Without fail, the Giant Dog Is A Lamb Person will not remove their dog from the area, instead, they’ll sit on a bench and glare at me and my dog for inappropriate dogpark behavior and I’ll fantasize about her/him getting hit by a bus (the person, not the dog. I love dogs).

The First Timer: These people are the people who have probably never had a dog before but they’ve heard that the dogpark is a great way to socialize. So they trot down with their six week old puppy and let the poor thing get mauled by mastiffs and excited boxers who just want to smell the puppy. The dogs aren’t trying to be mean, but they’re without a doubt scaring the shit out of the tiny, helpless puppy. The First Timer, often naive about the actual damage that can go down in a dogpark, talks merrily about what a blessing it is to have a puppy. They prattle on about his or her’s little quirks and the difficulty of potty training while their puppy is pinned on his back ten feet away, trembling. The entire dog park is usually on edge when there is a First Timer around. You can see us all mumbling things like, “asshole,” and “dipshit,” under our breathes, shaking our heads in disappointment, edging slowly towards the puppy so that The Know It All can nonchalantly interject information about the proper age for dogpark socialization and puppy parvo.

The Silent: These are people who come to the dogpark yet it’s unclear why. They come in, throw a ball (or stick or toy) obsessively, avoid interactions with other people or dogs, and leave.

The Saint: These are sweet folks who have obtained their dogs from a rescue group. They lovingly watch their dogs play, knowing that they had saved their lives. They are devoted dog owners. They are also the people who upon asking, “what kind of dog is that?” will ruin your day with the heartbreaking story of Little Orphan Annie’s abandonment, abuse, and rehabilitation.

The Guilty Puritan: This is a person who has had a purebred puppy from birth but feels like an asshole for it. They know the statistics on animal shelters and they truly love dogs but they couldn’t help falling for that tiny little face in a pet shop window.

My Dogs Are My Only Friends: Every dog park is sprinkled with either a single person (often recently divorced) or a married couple who have lost touch with all other humans in their lives. In Italy, these were often old men who owned a cell phone for the sole purpose of snapping pictures of Fido. They would often stop me in the street with “Look at my dog!” and I’d be stuck there for forty-five minutes as they showed me picture after picture of their dog at home. Sometimes they’d also throw in their other three dogs, recently diceased but were terribly missed. This variety also comes in the form of older Italian women pushing their chihuaha across the bumpy cobblestone in a dog stroller. In the United States, this variety is on the cusp of fascinating entertainment and Norman Bates scary but of the animal loving variety.

The last time I went to a dog park was a month or so ago with my friend Ty. Francesco was out of town and Ty was abandoning AZ for the east coast so we were having a last hangout hoorah. I like Ty. We met in Salt Lake City, we’ve been friends for going on five years. He’s the kind of friend who will yell at you when he feels like you need to be yelled at but will also come over to your house to have painting parties and fly to Italy for your wedding. Ty is not a huge dog person but he’s the kind of guy who will see your dog going absolutely batshit crazy over a toy in Michaels and buy if for him when you’re not paying attention. That stuffed, pastel, Beanie Baby unicorn is still Oliver’s favorite toy and he carries it around on most days. Also, I love Ty’s mom and am campaigning for her to adopt me.

Ty and I entered the small area of the dog park around ten a.m., where a variety of dog park people camped out on a picnic table with their tiny dogs nearby. We introduced ourselves and then Oliver got into a fight with a My Dog Is A Lamb person’s dog. Then, feeling victorious, he trotted off to drench agility tunnels, tennis balls, and vegetation in urine. Ty stood in the 100 degree sun because he “liked it,” but really I just think he wanted to avoid interacting with any of my fellow dog park humans who were huddled together taking up the only shade in the park. Everyone asked about each other’s dogs as dogpark people do. “What kind of dog is that? A rescue? How old? Did he come all the way from Italy?” Slowly, the mormon looking humans with the poodle left, then the lesbian couple with the terrier left, and the My Giant Dog Is A Lamb person left, until eventually we were down to only me and Ty and a young military couple. Ty eventually joined me on the picnic table as the other humans fled the park.

It was getting hot and it was just about time to leave when the gate opened and two small Oscar Meyer wiener looking dogs rushed into the park. Their caretaker was on the opposite end of the field slowly making his way over towards us but the dogs arrived way ahead of him in only a second or two. One wobbled, the other joyfully greeted us with tail wags, circle spins, and a loud string of cackles. “What the hell was that?” I turned to Ty, “Did that dog just make a dolphin noise?” The remaining dogpark humans stared in confusion towards this tiny little dog that sounded like an ocean animal. “EhhEHEHEHEHEEHEHEHEH eh eh. Eh. EH EH. EHEHEHEHEHEHEH. Eh. Eh.” The dog then ran over, lifted it’s leg and peed in the communal water dish. “Eh, Eh, eheheheheh.” Fucker. “Wait, is that a vagina? Is that a girl? Have you ever seen a girl dog lift it’s leg and mark something?” I asked Ty who shrugged and mumbled something about not knowing shit about dogs. The Military Couple shook their heads as they talked amongst themselves. Dolphin Dog’s brother was hobbling around enjoying the grass and flopping occasionally into the dirt. Eventually their caretaker arrived.

“Do you know that your dog lifts it’s leg and pees? It sounds like a dolphin. What kind of dog sounds like a dolphin?” He smiled lovingly towards Dolphin when she cackled and peed for the third time in the water bowl. The group started their usual questions, “How old are they? Where are you from? What the fuck is up with Dolphin?”

Since Ty was leaving me for the northeast his face lit up when he realized that Caretaker Of Dolphin was from the same city that Ty was running off to.

“I’ve been searching for a house in that city because I’m moving east next month,” Ty said to Caretaker, “Is there any particular area that is better than others?”

Caretaker paused, “Hmm, you know what, there is this thing called a sex offender database. If I were you, I’d check that thing first so you can avoid the rapists and pedophiles.”

Seeking out perverts and avoiding them isn’t necessarily a bad idea but his advice was random and seemed out of place. If I were to check would Caretaker be on that list? Had Caretaker been a victim of one of these listed perverts?

Ty shot me a look then continued, “Uhm, okay, yeah, I’ll check that out. Thanks. But are there any areas that are better or nicer? If you were moving there is there one area you’d prefer to live over another area?”

Caretaker took a step forward and moved his sports sunglasses onto his head, “I’d just check that database. You can never be too careful.”

There was a short break in the conversation before Caretaker turned back to our dogs, specifically Dolphin who suffered from separation anxiety, like Oliver, except Dolphin went about it more violently.

Caretaker explained that Dolphin basically turns into a Sharknado when left alone, “Yep, I bought my new $4,000 recliner and Dolphin ate it. She ripped it into pieces. I left her home one night and she just ate it. I’ve had her since she was a puppy, I didn’t realize getting a puppy was bad back then. She’s been better though since I got Brother, he’s a rescue. He was abused and starved and that’s why he walks funny. I’m so happy that I could give him the life that he deserves, where he’s safe and loved.”

“Awe, poor guy!” We watched his funny walk with newfound empathy. I decided based on that information that Caretaker was a good person. “Dolphin ate an entire recliner? Like she digested it?” I asked, eyeing her ten pound frame.

“Well, no, but she ripped all of the leather off. Pulled the stuffing out. She also ate all of my wood figurines.”

“I’m sorry. I misunderstood. You’re what?”

“In my spare time I carve little people out of wood. She ate them.” He giggled, “She’s a real terror.” Dolphin looked up and put in her two cents, “Eh, EH EHEHEHE. EH!”

I nodded as sympathetic as I could, trying to understand what it would feel like to be the kind of person who widdled wooden people. I pictures a lonely man sweating over a choice piece of pine. I pictures Geppedo and Pinocchio.

“Yeah, she’s real weird. She’s not as strange as my cat used to be though. Back when I was married my wife and I had a cat.” He paused to reflect on the fact that he was married once and had a cat. “Anyway, the cat was named Watermelon and it was addicted to Aquanet hairspray.” This caught my attention. I was now hooked on the story. “You know, that Aquanet hairspray that they used in the eighties to get the big hair? The aerosol can? Well, my wife was all about it. Then at some point she started running out of hairspray just a few days after she’d bought it. She kept blaming me! Like I would use her Aquanet! Then, one day we were having coffee and we kept hearing this, ‘pssssssssst’ noise coming from the bathroom. We went to check it out and found our cat pushing on the nozzle to let all the gas out! He had his face in front of it so he could shoot himself in the head! It was like crack for him! Like hairspray crack! We made sure to keep it capped after that and he’d sit by it and cry, and meow! He wanted it so bad!”

I pictured a small Siamese cat with cross eyes shooting himself in the face with hairspray. The fur on his head slicked back and hardened into an organic helmet. Later, with hollow cheeks, a skeleton of his former self, he could be spotted outside of dingy rock-n-roll bars trying to sell himself for a little extra cash.

“When we divorced my ex got the cat ; I should have fought harder for him. He was a great cat, it was a sad situation. He died shortly after,” he shook his head in mourning.

“Oh no! How did he die?”

Ty and I both leaned forward in anticipation. He let out a long sigh, “One day she left in a hurry…she was so stupid. Anyway, she left and forgot to put the cap back on after she’d done her hair. She came home a few hours later…and…well…he overdosed.”

“On Aquanet?”

“Yeah…”

Ty and I left the park shortly after. We walked back to the car with Oliver leaping, pulling and barking along the way. I thought about the difficulty of being a good dog owner, about how hard it is to be patient, about how the world would be a better place if everyone that had a dog loved them as much as most of the people that go that park every week. I thought about how annoying it is to live with another species, about how hard it must be for dogs to adapt to us and how we take for granted that they can’t understand us, talk to us, yet they have to give in to our care. I thought about all the things that dogs have done for humanity, for different people from all walks of life. Dogs have an incredible ability save us. They literally save lives in war, like Sargent Stubby, they guide the blind, cheer up the sick, detect seizures or cancer, and sometimes they save us from ourselves. Sometimes they are the bizarre, cackling, pride and Joy of a lonely man who lost his wife in a divorce and a cat to haircare product addiction.