Monday, May 17, 2010
My Dog Ate Your Homework
Let's face it. I am probably not going to have any children. I am not really sure that I am cut out for parenthood. The thought of having someone other than myself as the center of my world is a thought I am not sure I could ever wrap my head around. When it comes down to it, I really want to look out for #1. Me. Myself. I. Sure, that makes me narcissistic and shallow. You can even give me that speech saying that you used to feel the same way before you had children, and now you can't imagine your life without them. I get it. People like having children. They like to procreate. Don't get me wrong, the process of procreation is totally fine with me. In fact, I am all for it. I just want to stop short of producing any offspring. I have two fabulous nieces,a wonderful nephew, and a little buddy I think of as a nephew. I enjoy hanging out with them, and being able to spend time with them. It is also nice to come back to my adult home and do adult "stuff"; although, my conversations and activities usually consist of things that my older niece and nephew enjoy doing as well, such as downloading music on iTunes, talking about celebrities, and watching stupid videos on YouTube. I have always wanted to be one of those people who had bohemian dinner parties where the guests sat around and drank wine, ate exotic food and debated politics, literature, and history. My friends and I, however, usually drink whatever is available at the time, eat whatever is available at the time, and talk about the latest issue of People magazine. Not exactly what I dreamed of, but it will do. Another reason I am not looking for offspring is that I am fairly certain that the odds are on my side when it comes to long-term care. Out of two nieces, a nephew, and a near-nephew, surely one of them will be able and willing to care for their old, broken-down uncle when age and time collide and I need support in my golden years, and really, isn't this one of the main reasons people have children, so they will have someone to take care of them in their old age? See why not having children is a good idea for me? I do, however, have dogs. Two of them. Duke and Dudley. Duke is a chocolate lab who weighs 125 pounds and thinks that he is a lap dog. Dudley is a 70 pound mix, rescued from the pound when just a puppy. Duke was actually rescued as well, just not from a pound, but from my sister. The dogs being our only link to offspring, I suppose that we do spoil them. I would, for instance, allow them to sleep in my bed with me if given a choice. This idea was nixed as apparently a queen-sized bed is not big enough for two adults and two large animals. But my love for the boys is so great, I am right on the borderline of being a pet owner that buys his dogs t-shirts and outfits to wear. I have a friend who I make fun for dressing her dog in hats, but truth be told, if Duke and Dudley could wear regular dog clothes, I would buy them. D & D, however, are too big, and I can't afford to buy adult sized clothes for them, except perhaps a University of Kentucky jersey. How awesome would that be for game day?! I am also guilty of buying dog sunglasses, but that was back when I had a convertible. There isn't as much of a need for them now that we have an SUV. One advantage that dogs have over children, and there are many, is that their puppy-stage lasts only a year or two, whereas children remain puppy-like for years. In fact, most human males remain puppy-like until their mid 20's, which is a long time, and I am not sure I want to invest that much into a relationship. Plus, dogs can be crated when you leave your house, or want to take a nap, or have company. Try crating your children and see what kind of backlash you get. Duke, however, who is just coming out of puppy-dome, almost did not make it. When he was only a year old, Andy and I had a Saturday of tailgating and football-watching planned at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. As any good college football fan will tell you, you can not just show up around game time for the game. You must go early and stay late. Tents, lawn chairs, cornhole games, grills, and drinks are needed. Occasionally, the 10ft. inflatable wildcat is also needed. This particular Saturday was perfect for football. The sky was sunny, the temperature was 70, a slight breeze was in the air. This would be an all-day affair. We felt guilty crating Duke and Dudley for the entire day and most of the evening, so we decided that we would leave them in our sunroom with access to the back yard for the day. It was their first time being left alone unattended and uncrated. We told Dudley he was in charge (he is the older of the two) and instructed them what they could and could not do (no pay-per-view movies, no other dogs invited over). I was teaching various accounting classes at Sullivan University at the time, and the term was almost over. I had just collected semester projects from two classes the previous week, and had the stack of papers, reports, and printed spreadsheets all nicely stacked and bound in the sunroom. Mistake #1. I did not tell Duke that he was not allowed to look at them. Mistake #2. When we came home from the game later that night, I walked to the sunroom to see my babies. What I saw, though, was what appeared to be snow in the sunroom. Small bits of something white was covering the floor, the chair, the couch, the table, and trailing out into the back yard. As I walked into the room I realized that the white stuff was not snow at all, but tiny shards of two classes' semester projects. Duke had gotten bored with his 100 allowable toys in the room and yard, and had not only unbound the papers, but also had shred them and spread them from one end of the room to the other. I started hyperventilating while Andy ushered the dogs out of the room, scolding them both. The pieces were ripped into such small pieces there was absolutely no way to discern one person's work from another. I was forced to call my boss the following Monday and tell him what had happened. He told me that I was the only professor he had ever heard of whose own dog ate the student's homework. We decided that I could either give each student an "A" or I could tell them what happened and not count the project. Since this was a semester-long project and my students had been working on the report for weeks, I was afraid of option #2. I went ahead and gave them all an "A" and hoped none of them asked for their project back after the semester. Duke's punishment was severe. I hardly talked to him at all for the rest of the evening, and made sure he slept in his crate that night. I think my point was made. I could see it in his big, brown eyes. I hated to get that rough, but it was needed. Ok, so maybe my reasoning for not having a kid is that I am sure I would be a total pushover, and my child would be completely spoiled rotten. I would probably be the parent who makes scenes at ballgames or bake sales if little Keithy didn't win (can you win a bake sale?). If Duke and Dudley can bend my will by their puppy dog eyes, imagine what a child would do to me! Yes, I think I will just continue to work on having a bohemian dinner party. Maybe I will serve Indian food and Brazilian wine. I wonder who is on the cover of People Magazine this week?