Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Balls to dogs

Today we drove the Black Boat, our unfeasibly large hire car, to my wife's cousin's place. There was her, three of her kids, two befuddled cats, a toy poodle, a rabbit and a Great Dane, all incredibly excited to see us.

'Incredibly excited' translates as 'all jumping up and down at once': dog #1 and dog #2 would take it in turns to peer around either side of a pillar, while the smaller children showed me the water balloons they'd put in the freezer. I don't ever want to be prescriptive about child-rearing, but I'm unsure that it's a good idea for children to go round freezing water balloons. Unless you think they should be creating tennis-ball sized lumps of frozen water to fling at people. It would explain why Canadians are such hardy souls, if they become inured at an early age to having blocks of ice caromed off their faces by their nearest and dearest.

The children continued to circulate rapidly around the house, like little hairy particles of Brownian motion, and the poodle yapped a bit more and tried to eat one of the cats, and then the Great Dane wagged its tail and smacked me in the nuts. I doubled up with pain and had to sit down for a minute to regain my composure: a Great Dane has a fairly muscular appendage for thwacking people with, and although some people think tail wagging is a sign of happiness, this was more like an act of aggression. I mean, I don't show I'm happy to see you by slapping you round the chops.

Still, when you're a guest in someone's house it's considered ill manners to chastise their canine for nearly castrating you, so I had to grin and bear it. Apparently the dog does this on a fairly regular basis to the man of the house, which to me seems a fairly good justification for keeping cats instead, but again, horses for courses. The children were highly amused by this and started punching each other in the nuts, which they seemed to find funny as they fell to the floor, but suggests they need to work on their self-preservation instinct. After all, it's a big hard world out there full of animals intent on thwacking you in the happy sacks; you don't need your brothers doing it to you too.

Then again, we all need hobbies.


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