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The Life I Want to Live

December 24, 2009

I’ve always found it funny when people talk about being reincarnated. I’m not sure I want to do this whole life thing again, but when I think about being reincarnated, I don’t think about coming back as someone famous, or some great world leader.

In fact, I don’t want any part of that. Too much work. Jesus, you think I want photographers following me around, famous person, or having the responsibility of saving the world? No frickin way.

It is very clear there is only ONE destination for me, if in fact I do, at some point, get reincarnated.

I’m coming back as my mom’s dog.

This mutt has totally got it made.

I swear to God this dog sleeps at least 18 hours a day. At least. And if you try to move her during that period she will growl at you.

Oh, and when she isn’t sleeping she is probably eating or trying to kill a lesser animal in the yard.

She is a hunting dog, which by tradition means she would spend her life hunting. But our hunting trips are few and far between these days, so her hunting prowess has to be channeled on animals not used to being hunted. Frogs, turtles, cats, large birds, other dogs or the occasional lizard, snake or beetle, are all possible targets.

And speaking of eating, she gets all kinds of great food. Dog food, sure, but she also gets tons of stuff that mom gives her. Gravy on her food, organic produce, organic, free-range meat. Far better food than I get to eat.

Oh, and this dog controls the house. When mom is on the phone, the dog sits next to her and barks until she hangs up. The dog is insanely jealous and needs to be the center of attention. It’s pathetic. She will walk up in front of you, look at you, start to lose it and then start banging on you with her paw until you do something, anything, let her out, let her in, pet her, stop petting her, get her something, feed her, pay more attention to her, pay less attention to her, etc. It never ends.

Eat, sleep, bark, hunt, etc.

Did I mention she sleeps on a red, leather chair? Did I? Ya, it’s true. A chair bought SPECIFICALLY for her. I don’t have a red leather chair.

Due to some short circuiting of her internal, hunting wires, she will now go on point inside the house. She used to wait until she hit the porch before locking on a point, frozen, with only the tip of her nose searching for the target. But now, as she oozes her pudgy body off the leather chair, she locks on a feeble point, just for the sake of pointing. Her quality bar has fallen and can’t get up. This is my goal in life.

So for those of you looking for me in another life, I’ll be the fat little pooch controlling your house.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. December 24, 2009 8:56 pm

    My favorite post so far. You nailed it. She rules and the worst part is she knows it and isn’t going to make any kind of effort to change. Best to stay on her good side. She looks good on red leather. I talk on the phone too much anyway. Gotta go she wants out!

  2. Eric Labastida permalink
    December 24, 2009 9:02 pm

    Really nice shot of your mom. Kudos Dan!

  3. Rich permalink
    December 24, 2009 9:20 pm

    Hi Dan, We here about the DOG all the time. Your Mom keeps asking us to come down and visit,but I’ll be damned if I’ll play 2nd fiddle to a DOG. Just Kidding. Everyone needs someone, and I will admit that is one lucky dog.

    • December 24, 2009 9:25 pm

      Long time no hear. How are you guys? When are you coming to visit US?????
      Mom’s dog is spoiled rotten. You can’t really believe it until you witness it in person. I can’t only imagine it will guess worse with time.

  4. jim goodrich permalink
    December 24, 2009 10:29 pm

    I’ve known many of the Milnor animals and the same would be true for all of them. I agree with Daniel, which doesn’t happen often, there could be a lot worse places to be reincarinated.

    • December 25, 2009 1:02 am

      You are still in denial about being in agreement 100% of the time. Go Packers. Oh wait,no, they lost….again.

  5. Steve Behen permalink
    December 24, 2009 10:36 pm


    Sitting here alone at home on Xmas eve after finishing a half day in the office. Driving home from work I broke down and wept as I reflected on my sister and dad who both passed way in recent years. Then I get home, still reflecting on the both of them and fire up the computer… run across your post… yikes.

    Sitting here with a flood of tears falling down my cheeks as I read the opening of your post while my dogs stares at me and wags his tail. Thinking about the realities of our world and of all things my dog and dad. That picture of your mom on the porch with the dog… awesome. Not sure why this hit me so hard. But your art is like that. Reminding us of what surrounds us, both in a humorous perspective and whats more than real. You have that effect on me Dan and always have. Hopefully others appreciate your talent like I do and I hope they get it.

    Happy holidays.


    • December 25, 2009 1:33 am

      Steve Behen,

      June 1997.
      I am now employee 5463536454 in the Kodak World Empire.
      A few short days after employment I find myself back at KPRO World Empire offices, in a windowless meeting room.
      Underneath my brown, corporate, shoes, the orange, shag carpet felt deep and safe.
      I was in the back row, all the way to the left side, as a guy with a crew cut and brill cream in his hair used a long, wooden pointer to dissect a blueprint of an LVT Rhino.
      I wondered how I’d gotten there. What series of painful and poor decisions had led me to this place, and would I be given credit for this move when I died and faced my maker.
      I tried not to make any quick movements and always averted my eyes when the guy with the pointer looked in my direction.
      I wondered what lunch was going to be, and if there would be a window in the lunchroom, or maybe just a paint by numbers bugling elk.
      Suddenly the guy in front of me lurched violently to the side and then back, remaining perfectly motionless.
      “What the f&^% was that?” I asked myself as I slid my hand into my pocket and palmed the small knife I kept there.
      Suddenly the guy in front of me did it again, only this time to the left. It was a violent move, but showed someone in shape and someone who had probably done this many times before. This second time it drew small bits of uncomfortable attention from a few of the surrounding folks, who by then had had far too many cups of coffee. There was sweat on a few brows, a few quick glances, at both the mystery man, and also the closest exit.
      It was dead silent.
      And then, the silent was shattered by someone taking a huge bite out of an apple. Followed by the slow crunching of each and every chew. It was bold. Brash. Completely uncalled for and totally out of place.
      The crazy bastard in front of me, the same guy who had made the violent lurches, was chewing his apple, much to the fear of the rest of us.
      It was like he was in another place, or was so near the edge he just didn’t care anymore. Maybe chewing that apple was the last thing he was going to do before unleashing on the rest of us.
      I palmed the knife into position and my thumb caressed the small metal groove I would need to move the blade into lock position. I didn’t think I’d have much time, not with this psycho in front of me.
      The guy with the pointer was talking again, mentioning something about a hyper-complex digital camera thingy or some other stupid thing that would never catch on.
      The tension eased for just a moment.
      And then, very slowly, the violent lurcher slowly spun on the axis of his chair. Inch by painful inch he slowly twisted to the right, appearing first as a profile reminding me of those FBI warrant arrests, and then, facing directly at me.
      We were eye to eye, my blade in LOCK position.
      Hair cut high and tight. Red shirt. Crazed eyes.
      Slowly the guy opened his mouth, and then stuck his tongue out at me.
      At the very tip of his tongue, a small pill, purple I think.
      A snarled lip smile slowly moved across the stranger’s face.
      “One brings me up, and one brings me down,” he said, closing his mouth and dry swallowing the pill.
      Then, just as slow as he had turned to face me, he turned back around, and I hear his laughing quietly to himself.
      The buzzer rang and the guards called out, signaling out allotted time for lunch.
      I couldn’t shake the stranger’s face.
      I crept passed the guards, into the parking lot filled with American sedans, and I got on bus headed for Niagara Falls.
      I cited a family emergency and flew home the next day.

      If I remember correctly Behen, you were that stranger. And just so you know, you’re one of my favorite people on the entire planet.

      • Steve Behen permalink
        December 25, 2009 3:38 am

        Yes, I remember that meeting! There was a KPro party at some D&B type place the evening before. A festive one as I remember. I believe that party ended with a few people in my room late at night. Before I passed out, I remember someone using an ironing board as a shield while another Kpro co-worker was trying to snap them with a wet towel. Before departing from my room and heading to the meeting the following morning, I remember there was as hole in the wall of my room and some plaster on the floor. I put two and two together and it was apparent that a leg of the ironing board must have been thrust into the wall during the towel snapping melee. I also remember barely making it to the meeting on time because the alarm clock had been broken. It was laying on its side on the floor in a puddle of beer. Those were dark times. Building 69 was starting to crumble and K14 was fading from view. I am glad we both made it out alive.

  6. December 25, 2009 5:22 pm

    What this post conjured up is remarkable. When someone finds the kite strings it the pleasure is all ours.

  7. December 25, 2009 5:44 pm

    Oh man, I remember that meeting. I think you ended up in a cage at some club in downtown Rochester. The manager was none too happy about it. I think someone pulled the top on a road flare and we all got away. It’s always the quiet ones that have a road flare in their computer bag.
    I also remember a police escort on a train in San Diego, and two women fighting in the car behind us. Even with the mayhem behind, the cops never took their eyes off of us.
    The doors opened and we ran wildly through the streets near the hotel with the sounds of billy clubs jingling in too tight waist belts trying to keep up.
    We all had an early roll call the following morning and I’ve never, ever seen a more ragged and despair filled group of people in my life. The top brass could barely hold their contempt.
    I think I drove to Long Beach to do an event that afternoon and ended up sleeping in a closet on the Queen Mary.

  8. December 26, 2009 8:45 pm

    I really enjoyed this post and really, really enjoyed the banter back and forth in the comments.

    These are the type of images that illustrate a story like this in such a compelling way. The image of your mom is really good but the last image of your mom’s dog, asleep on the chair completes the story, at least for me.

    Really enjoyable read!


    • December 26, 2009 9:00 pm

      It’s funny how I put things up that I think will get a great response and nothing happens, than then I put up pictures of mom’s dog and people love it! It will surely go to her head.
      Thanks for reading! I’ve got more of her and dog in coming days.

  9. December 27, 2009 4:21 am

    Dogs are always gonna get a response. But in this case, it’s the story as much as the images. The combination of the two, the fact that this is such a universal subject… the simple quality of both make it worthy of a response. My wife constantly says she wants to come back as my dog… I’ll leave it at that but it’s all good.

    • December 27, 2009 6:14 am

      Are you calling my mom a dog? MOM!!! She reads this blog. Your on the shit list now man!! Kidding.

  10. David Wissinger permalink
    December 27, 2009 6:27 am

    All I can add is this: The world would be a far better place if dogs were in charge.

  11. December 27, 2009 8:19 am

    Timing is everything in life. I read this post on the same day that the girls begin to realize what life will be like to grow up with one. Picked up our first pup earlier today at LAX. It’s been a crazy afternoon but something about having a dog in the house changes life drastically.

    @Steve, so sorry to hear about your losses.

  12. December 27, 2009 10:17 am

    Oh man! Now I’ve gone and done it! Crap! You did tell her we read her poems her didn’t you and that we love them!

  13. December 29, 2009 5:59 pm

    This dog is in charge. She is slick, smooth, calculating and relentless. It came about slowly and one day I realized she had her red leather highway 281 chair and my new sofa. My place had been firmly established. I have a chair.

    • December 29, 2009 6:52 pm

      That is obvious. And I think past dogs might have had it even better!

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