The Bedlam Farm Men's Group
With Red's arrival, and the surprise emergence of Strut (we thought he was a she) and the good company of Simon and me, we have a quorum for the Bedlam Farm Men's Group. We had our first meeting after the flap in Michigan over a legislator using the word "vagina," which almost brought the State Assembly to its knees. I asked the boys why it was not okay to say "vagina" when discussing them, but it was okay to advertise penile implants and sex pills on every TV channel. Simon just brayed. Strut crowed. Chill, boys, I said.
I had our second meeting today. Simon got a cookie, Red obsessed on the sheep, and Strut did what most men do, he strutted around making a lot of noise.
I told the crew about something that happened this morning that startled me. Maria and I were having our usual breakfast on our very beautiful screened porch when I looked out over the lawn (dog people, you can handle this) and I saw that something was hanging out of Lenore's butt by a blade or two of grass. This is a familiar thing to Lab lovers and owners, and to Lenore's owners, the point where love meets reality and you just have to go and help it get out. If you live with Lenore, or most Labs, you will often go to the edge of your comfort zone.
"Lenore has some stuff hanging out of her ass by a blade of grass," I said, and I got up and went out with some towel paper and took care of it in a second. In a minute, I was back eating breakfast. Maria looked a little shocked. "I think you are a good man," she said, something I was not expecting that at this moment. It was not my finest hour, or so I thought. Did I want this inscription on my tombstone?
Here lies Jon Katz.
He was a good man.
He pulled a blade of grass
out of Lenore's ass.
"You didn't complain or yell or ask me to do it," Maria said, "you just interrupted your breakfast and went out and pulled that blade of grass right out of her ass." She came over and kissed me. You never get mad at the dogs when they throw up, she said. You just clean it up. She even wrote about this on her blog.
Simon was wide-eyed, and was nosing my pockets for a cookie. Strut had blown himself up like a circus balloon and looked as if he was about to burst with self-importance. Red assumed his herding stance, deep into a crouch. He cares about sheep, not social issues.
"Boys, why am I telling you this story?," I asked. "Is it to make me look good? Do I really need to pull a blade of grass out of Lenore's butt to feel like a good man?" But this, I said, was the point. The bar is really low these days. But seriously, guys if you take anything out of this meeting, it might be this:
A good man does not complain, or yell at people or animals for doing things they cannot help. He does not ask women to do things that he can do. He is not, if possible, a jerk about things. He does not tell women what to do, nor does he ever discourage them from being what they wish to be. It does not take much to be a good man, I think. So do it. Big lessons in small things.
Simon gave me a long and level look, and I could almost hear him thinking: "God, did you really eat the rest of your breakfast right away?" I thought I heard the sound of something heaving.