2009 Begins With a Spasm


My Marley.
My Marley.


Yesterday, I strained my back trying to rein in my tears at the end of Marley and Me.   It’s the only explanation I can think of since I don’t play professional football, I haven’t taken up Ultimate Frisbee, I didn’t receive a free shiatsu from an unlicensed masseuse, and the last time I checked, I wasn’t 70 years old or carrying 50 lbs of books around high school.  Again.

I can affirm that I went to see an afternoon showing of Marley and Me with my parents before our New Years Eve dinner reservations, and tried not to sob like a baby during the scene at the vet, thinking of my old border collie Sofi.  When the credits rolled and we stood up to leave, all the muscles in my back seized and started to spasm.  It was ever so much fun.

Why, oh why didn’t I just let the tears out?  They were coming anyway, and it’s not like I’m a thirty-something hetero male with machismo issues.  It’s just that I never cry at movies.  Or, I never used to cry at movies.  I’ve noticed that my crying threshold has weakened as I’ve increased in years.  And let’s face it, animal movies are always so much more heart-wrenching than people movies, regardless of their quality.  I can watch CSI during dinner, but show me a dog with a thorn in its paw, and I fall to pieces.  Plus, I knew it was coming.  I knew how the movie ended, I had braced myself, and still I bawled.

It didn’t help that I spent half the movie thinking, “That could be me – minus the wife and children.”  Pilot is my Marley.   His latest trick is to take a bite out of our fingers, and when scolded, offer a paw as a sign of contrition.  He knows that my mom likes it when he shakes.  I like it when he doesn’t pee on the floor or vomit on my carpet.  

He’s unconscious right now, snoozing on top of my pajamas, the little rascal.  I’ve been entertaining myself lately watching dog movies to see what attracts his notice.  He seemed interested in The Ugly Dachshund (which made me think of Ben, Theo, and Calvin) last night, but was completely oblivious to 102 Dalmatians.  I wish I had a video camera to record all his antics.  I really have to read that book, though if I start to cry again, maybe I’ll slip a disc.

And, heck, this blog is my column.  I’d love to be a paid columnist except that newspapers are failing and columnists are on the front lines, so that’s probably not going to happen.  John Grogan certainly made it sound good, though.  

One of the things I liked most about the movie, was that it seemed real.  Jen and John had the same arguments I’ve heard my parents have.  Having a dog is both wonderful and endlessly aggravating.  

Much like the children in the audience.

My favorite moment came when the little boy in front of me who could not stop moving up and down, up and down, up and down, declared that he had to go to the bathroom.  His ever-lovin’ daddy most likely told him to tell his mother, since the boy then ran down to the end of the aisle and repeated his wish to use the facilities.  I can only assume then that the mother told him to ask his father, since the boy came back and still had to go to the bathroom.

This restroom emergency came during the part in the movie when Jen talks about the sacrifices you have to make as a parent.  And people wonder why I don’t want kids.


Quote of the Day:

What I really wanted to say was how this animal had touched our souls and taught us some of the most important lessons od our lives. ‘A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours,’ I wrote. ‘Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things- a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.'” – John Grogan, author Marley and Me

Link of the Day: Dog clones.  Frankly, I think it’s a little creepy.  Dogs are meant to be loved, lost, and mourned.  Then you start again, and love someone new.

Add Your Thoughts