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5:27 a.m. - 2002-05-22

CHAMPAGNE WISHES AND CAVIAR RAWHIDES

You know how there are some people in this world who are so completely fucking ignorant that you want to just run up to them, poke them in their eye, take their wallet and go running away, screaming out your full name and address, KNOWING that they're not smart enough to pick up on it to later tell to the police?

Well yesterday, I found the place where those people congregate.

It's called a "Pet Resort". And the collective IQ in this place had to be the absolute lowest you'll find anywhere short of a company picnic for Hooters employees.

Because our dog Maggie has quickly turned into the biggest burden since Abel had Cain, we've had to explore several different options in order to keep her fat and happy.

This "pet resort" is a block away from my office. I drive past it every day. I know about a week ago I was complaining that there's no such thing as a Doggie Daycare Center. Well, you guys were right. They're all over the place. I just never needed one so I always ignored them. Kinda like a transvestite hooker.

On my lunch hour yesterday, I decided to stop by this "pet resort" and inquire about prices. Seeing as how I drive past there every day, it's a block away from my work, it would be sooooo convenient to drop Maggie off there every day.

I walk in, and I swear to God it looks like a Hyatt hotel inside. Gift shops....fucking gift shops in this place. Palm trees. Waterfalls. And friendly people behind the front desk. At Maggie's vet, you're lucky if Ring Girl acknowledges your existence.

"Hi!! How can we help you?" Lil' Miss Friendly says from her leather receptionist chair.

"First, wipe that fucking smile off your face," I felt like saying. Instead, I opted for "I want to inquire about your boarding prices."

"Would you like to take a tour?" she asked.

A tour? A TOUR?!? Ummmmm...call me Miss Cleo here, but I'm guessing all we have back here are some cages with some terrified mutts in them, howling their lungs out. If you want to call that a tour, Sweetie...that's just fine. I'll play along with your little charade.

"Sure. I've got time," I shrugged.

This skinny little girl is beckoned to the lobby to escort me on my tour. She's not as chipper as Lil' Miss Friendly, but then again, Lil' Miss Friendly deals with human customers. Skinny cleans up dog shit all day.

Skinny starts me off in the (I swear to God) "VIP Lounge".

Yes...a VIP Lounge for dogs. For dogs whose shit doesn't stink. Well...it does, but nobody's bothered to tell them that.

There's a bed, a water dish, a tub full of chew toys, a television that shows "Lady and the Tramp" and "All Dogs Go To Heaven" on a continuous loop .... and a telephone system.

Yes. I shit you not. A telephone system where you can call your dog from wherever you may be, Lil' Miss Friendly patches you through and you can talk to your dog over a speaker while your dog gets more confused than Anne Heche at a gay bar with her husband.

There's a window there so the VIP dog can look out into the lobby and see all the people who come in and check out each dog that it won't dare have to come into contact with because those are shit dogs whose owners didn't care enough to reserve the VIP lounge for them.

Then I'm whisked through the shit dog room. These are the lowest of the low. Most of them are chained flush to the walls and are whipped on the hour every hour because they're shit dogs whose owners don't love them and just send them here in hopes that they die in the shit dog room.

This was PERFECT for Maggie.

Then we went to the doggie suites. These aren't as nice as the VIP room, but they still have a TV in every room, an automatic water bowl that keeps fresh water at all times, a bed and a window where they can look outside and see what's going on in a world where dogs aren't pampered like blind kids.

As we're walking toward the doggie suites, Skinny is telling me about how well the dogs are taken care of here at the Pet Resort. I'm wondering if this girl even HAS a rib cage and if she does it must be the size of a Hunts Tomato Paste can, because this chick is TINY.

We round the corner to the row of doggie suites and there's a flood.

Water everywhere.

"Ohmigod!" Skinny exclaims.

"Tee hee!" I chuckle, covering my mouth with both hands.

Apparently, Sir Fluff-A-Lot the Poodle fucked around with his automatic water dish and fixed it where water just poured out continuously.

Sir Fluff-A-Lot was perched on his bed, scared to go down into the inch-thick pond he had created.

"This never happens!" Skinny said, grabbing a nearby mop. "We always take such great care of our guests."

"Yeah," I snorted. "Tell that to Sir Fluff-A-Lot. That dog's scarred for life."

She mopped up the mess, gave Sir Fluff a treat and we went outside to the Doggie Play Area.

A big covered cemented area where the dogs are brought out either one at a time if they're anti-social like my dog or in a group if they're playful and fun.

No big whoop. If you've seen one big covered cement area with a shitload of half chewed rag dolls, you've seen 'em all.

We go back inside and I let her know that frankly, I've seen enough. How much is it for the VIP Lounge on a daily basis?

$39.95 a day.

I doubled over and spread my ass cheeks a little wider, because this was one helluva screw they were putting to me.

How much for the shit dog concentration camp area?

$18 a day.

How much for me to chain my dog to one of those handicapped parking signs out in the parking lot for eight hours?

$12 a day.

I decided that even though my dog has given me more love than I will ever receive from another human being in my lifetime, there's no way in hell I'm going to pay more than five bucks a day for her to sit in a cage eating her own feces like she's on day 118 of "Survivor".

Pet Resort.

Jesus God Almighty.

It's the ideal place for people who are tired of throwing their $20 bills in the fireplace to keep the fire stoked.


Maggie's first day at her $4.75 kennel went well.

By "went well", I mean she lived. I have no idea what went on there and don't really care. She came home, she was happy, she scooted her ass across the carpet, she passed out.

I'd say it was worth every penny, but nobody stopped by to look at the house, so it was basically $4.75 down the drain.

I guess we have to look at it like insurance. We're paying this IN CASE people stop by, not BECAUSE people are stopping by.

Whatever.

I just know that her boarding has taken away my eating lunch out funds.

The management at Arby's are panicking.


I talked to what had to have been the absolute dumbest woman on the phone yesterday.

My job consists of me writing stories about businesses I know nothing about.

To gather information for these stories, I conduct what we in the biz call "interviews". This is where I get on the phone and ask questions of people for 30 minutes and they wax rhapsodically about their business like it's the most important business ever in all of mankind.

...Usually, we're talking about a life insurance company or an architecture firm. These people are duller than a spork.

So yesterday, I'm talking to this woman. It's not an interview. It's just an initial phone call to SET UP the upcoming interview.

This lady talks for 27 minutes and doesn't say a word.

She doesn't want the story to be about her business, a real estate company.

She wants her story to be about the city's beautiful playgrounds and a waterfall in a nearby park.

"Can we do that?" she asks me.

I reassure her that since she has written us a check for thousands of dollars to tell her story, we can talk about anything short of pedophilia in her story. I don't give a rat's ass if she wants to talk about her fascination with polka music. She's the customer and in my book, the customer is always right.

They're not always the most intelligent bastards on the face of the earth. But they ARE always right.

So this lady goes on and on about a waterfall. How beautiful and majestic it is. And the reason she wants her story to be about the waterfall is because she knows "all the other real estate companies" will be talking about their businesses and she wants her story to be "unique".

Ummmmmm...yeah. That's basically the premise here, Dr. Retardo. The "other" companies have paid upwards of $10,000 to tell THEIR stories. If you want to waste your money talking about a waterfall and a children's playground, that's your business. But when your business goes bankrupt six months after we cash your check, don't come running to us to change your story.

Jeez.

I bet she'd make damned sure her dog got the VIP Lounge every day too.

Some people are just too damned ignorant for their own good.

And it's up to me to talk about them behind their backs.

It's a tough job. But somebody has to do it.


Andrew's latest fascination is with rocks.

The other day when we were walking around construction sites in our new neighborhood, he was carefully picking out rocks to take with him.

He'd spot a rock that he absolutely needed and stuff it in his pockets. He kept doing this until his pockets were full of rocks and he was walking like a bronco busting champion.

Last night, I noticed him walking around the house with something in his mouth.

"What do you have in your mouth?" I asked.

"Mmmmphmmph" he answered. It would have been the same answer if he had nothing in his mouth. The kid can almost say "shoes" and "boat" and that's his limited vocabulary.

I called him over to me, he came and I fished his mouth open.

A big shiny rock.

I don't think he was going to swallow it. He was just cleaning it. Or worshipping it. Or loving it. Hell, I dunno. A kid puts a rock in his mouth, there's really no rhyme or reason for it. I'd ask him in 15 years what was up with the "rock in the mouth" incident, but I'm pretty sure I'll forget about it before then.

Needless to say, after he went to bed last night, his rock collection got thrown away.

He's going to be one pissed off little rock collector when he wakes up.

I just threw away every hope and dream the kid had of being an archaeologist.

But I'll be damned if I'm ever going to give anyone the opportunity to legitimately call my son a "rocksucker".

Talk about scarring him for life...

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