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Dyslexic dogs untie! Cats off your chinas!

September 10, 2021
Robert Kahn

By Robert Kahn

Deputy editor emeritus, Courthouse News

I wish I had a tail. I could wag it, thump it, curl it around my nose and sleep on the back porch no matter how cold it is.

A tail would let us poor human beings know what the others are thinking.

Wagging? How fast? Drooping? Poor you. Straight up? Proceed with caution.

I wish I had a tail.

My dog Cleo taught me this. She’s a big girl, Anatolian shepherd and golden Lab: 110 lbs., on a diet. Sweetest dog in the world. She loves people, and when she meets a new one, she leans up against her, the way she rescued me when I met her at the shelter.

Like most old guys, I get up in the middle of the night for this and that, then stumble to the kitchen for a swig of orange juice. As I stagger past her in the dark, Cleo, on the couch, makes her tail go “thump thump thump.” I scratch her belly, then stumble back to bed and Cleo says “thump thump” with her tail.

It means Glad to seeya. Seeya later.

I wish humans had tails, or better yet, flowers on our head, like saguaro cactus.

For those so unfortunate as never to have seen a saguaro in bloom, it sprouts lovely white flowers with yellow centers on top of its head and arms. After the flowers fall off come tasty red fruits. The O’odham people of Arizona collect the fruits when they fall to the ground, or knock them off when they’re ripe, and eat them as is: lovely fruit with black seeds; or they brew tiswin from it and throw a party.

I’d like humans to have flowers on our heads because — I don’t want to shock you here — flowers show that the cactus is ready to reproduce. So hummingbirds and other less handsome pollinators get an early shot at tiswin, and a few lucky saguaros get to reproduce.

Human relations would be so much easier this way. When a guy or gal walks into a bar, they could tell at a glance who was ready to reproduce and who wasn’t.

Flowers? “Hi, what’s your sign?”

No flowers? Walk on.

I wish I had the powers of an octopus. Not only does the octopus have eight arms, which would come in handy at the Kroger, but their arms are covered with suckers, which would make it a lot easier to tidy up the house and smooth down the sheets as you make the bed after doing the laundry, while hanging up the clothes.

But that’s not all: An octopus can grow back an arm if he or she should lose it through carelessness, such as, for instance, one arm starting up the power mower while another arm is clearing wet grass from the blades.

For a human, such an event would be a catastrophe.

No big deal for an octopus. He’d make do with seven arms until he grew back the other one.

Long ago, when I was 10, I read in the Encyclopedia Britannica that the existence of birds is an argument against Man being God’s Favorite Creature. (They capitalized those words in those days, and generally left women (Women) out of it.)

Anyway, the Encyclopedia said that if Man were really God’s Favorite, God would have given Men (and maybe (W)omen) wings. (Stop me before I capitalize again.)

The argument struck me with force. Not because it makes any sense, but because I’d never thought of it that way.

For many years after that, when I heard something I didn’t understand, I’d traipse to the room with the Encyclopedia Brittanica and read up on it.

But here’s the thing: I can’t remember the article in which I read about men and birds and god. And I ain’t gonna search for it in that Encyclopedia (1957 edition, 24 volumes).

To start with, it’s 12,000 pages. Lots of them with later editorial additions in small type. And you can’t do a CRTL/F search on those wood pulp babies.

Now we come to the crux of the matter: Why am I telling you this?

Because I wish I had a tail. That’s all.

Dogs have tails. Does that mean god likes dogs better than humans?

(If She didn’t when She created us, I bet She does by now.)

God could have given us tails, right? But She didn’t. Why?

Could it have been prejudice against humans?

Has God got something else going on?

Looks like we’ve got the makings of a class action lawsuit.

But what should we demand? Besides the tail. And in what venue?

I’m willing to pay the court fees and throw out all the other demands in negotiations.

All I want is the tail.

(Courthouse News columnist Robert Kahn is doing well at home, under light sedation.)

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