A Weekly Journal Chronicling My Life
As It Intersects With The Garbage Dump Community Near La Ceiba, Honduras

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I'm A Grandfather

I hate when people refer to themselves as the parents of their pets, or worse, when older adults begin referring to the pets of their grown children as their grandchildren.
I'm not quite sure what makes me loathe it so. 
I have to think that the stoic folk of my great-grandparents' generation weren't giddily anthropomorphizing every whimper and sigh that their four-legged children emitted.
Did they send pictures of their pets 'round at Christmastime to help announce the Birth of Christ? Did they screen their cats for HIV/AIDS? Did they take their dogs to "Doggie-Daycare" or the local "pet spa"? Did they spend as much money on their pet's health and entertainment as they did on the children that they actually, biologically produced? 
The salt-of-the-earth, level-headed folk of 70 years ago treated their pets like animals. They chained them outside to a tree, they gave them scraps of food off the supper-table for their dinner, they expected them to perform a useful function, and, when their health finally failed them they quickly and painlessly disposed of them with a .22 caliber rifle.
Thus, maybe my disdain then comes from something I see at work in the modern psyche, something that has undermined the modern family and societal interrelationship, something that keeps parents clinging to child-rearing more generally because their own children have become cold and unfeeling and have rejected...never mind, that's too deep for this blog...we'll talk about it later.
I think more superficially though that the OCD monster in me likes to categorize things properly and without a blurring of the lines: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Genus, Species, Race. Everything has its place and order and ne'er shall we blend the categories simply because you have a ridiculous emotional attachment to a soul-less, conscience-less beast that only "loves you" insofar as it can receive pleasure and sustenance from you. In other words, unless you've actually married and produced children with Checkers the Miniature Schnauzer please put the kibosh on the whole my-pet-is-my-child hokum because it's just not true and it makes you appear infantile and absurd. Again that's the OCD monster speaking, not me.
When I first purchased my animal I vowed to never anthropomorphize her actions or intentions. She is a lower life-form driven entirely by survival habits and pleasure-seeking chemicals in the brain. She no more loves and is attached to me than any other person that could satisfy, on a consistent basis, those two basic drives. If a vacuum cleaner could consistently feed, caress, and shelter her she would just as soon attach to it.
Most importantly though, I vowed never to call her my daughter or allow my mother to refer to her as a grandchild.
Two weeks ago Keiser, who has lived at Maureen's house for nearly 2 years, had puppies. Maureen had planned this event; she cross-bred her with a Belgian Shepherd back in September. The resulting mix is supposed to be something akin to the perfect dog. The puppies are perfect...I feel something inside of me that is similar to warmth and affection when I think of them. Oh feelings. 
It was with much chagrin and dissimulation then when today, upon leaving church that Maureen's mother approached me, hugged me and asked if I'd be stopping by to see if my grandchildren had opened their eyes. I smiled nodded and said that absolutely I'd be stopping by to see them. What kind of parent would I be if I didn't?
Perhaps the most beautiful animal ever.
 Except for maybe her offspring.
 They eat non-stop.
 Keiser is a patient parent.
Much like her father.