When I found the corpse of my skein of string, I sighed a heavy sigh, for string is a good thing. This was a grade of string just above kite string, good quality stuff, the kind that people once used to tie packages up before tape was common. My grandmother was good at tying packages up with string, and they would never come apart because the knots were always perfect. But the corpse of the skein was not perfect and it was not even so much as salvageable, and I wondered if I should just throw the whole lot of it out.
It was The Loki Mutt, of course, who had plucked the string, and turned it from an orderly and tightly wound spool on a cardboard tube, rather like a pyramid in shape, into a mass of spaghetti looking earthworm funeral zombie looking for brains and dead string mess. I could find something, maybe a stick or something long and round, to wind some of the string on, but mostly this was just sad looking and defeated. I would never know if there was some part half chewed through and weakened. I could not trust this string once it had been puppy chewed. Yet I could not bear to toss it out so I tossed the mass into the utility bin near the old computer desk. It was not safe there either, so it seemed. I was really surprised that The Loki Mutt managed to drag it out again, and kill it again. But we are talking about someone who was just a puppy at the time. I discovered the mass of spaghetti looking earthworm funeral zombie looking for brains and dead string mess in the same place it had been before, and I knew The Loki Mutt had struck again.
After raising my share of puppies I can tell you a puppy will be a puppy and if that isn’t what you want then either get an older dog or a stuffed toy. Puppies destroy things. They chew. They dig. The can get into small places and drag stuff out that you would never suspect. They chew. There isn’t anything down at mutt head level they do not consider fair game. They chew, and when they are done chewing they chew some more and they will fall asleep chewing and wake up chewing. Either make some sort of arrangement for what a puppy can and will chew on or the puppy will. This is one of the Great Truths of Life. There is no escaping this. If you try to keep a puppy from chewing you are going to traumatize the hell out of the animal and in the afterlife I will hunt you down and set fire to you with a flamethrower that spits out a sticky substance that not only burns but makes you sound like Justine Beiber when you scream. Hell is going to sound a lot worse than anyone ever imagined.
String isn’t a good chew toy at all, and there is just no explaining why The Loki Mutt would think it was, or for that matter how he came to be in possession of it twice. It is ultimately the responsibility of the furless monkey to bring mutt food and put string away, and I thought I had. I wonder how many parents have come home to discover a child has found the gun, or some wicked device that was tucked away in a drawer near the bed. It could be worse, and it has been, I could imagine a puppy getting choked on string, and having to tell people this is what happened. It would be my fault, and it wouldn’t be, for who thinks of such things, really, like the father who hides the key to the gun cabinet high on top of the same piece of furniture, never thinking that a chair, and several books a ladder makes and suddenly life has changed, it’s over, and whatever time is left is sandbagged with regret and regret and regret.
Of course, there really isn’t a comparison to losing a kid to a gun and losing a puppy to string. Yet each person’s failures or successes are things deeply personal to that person, regardless of what else has happened to someone else out there. You could bury a puppy that choked on string and be as miserable as you could be, yet somewhere out there in the Universe is someone putting a child’s body in the ground and no matter what else happens, neither of you will ever be truly at peace with yourselves, and you shouldn’t be, either and you should be. Kids and puppies are going to die, each and every day, and all we can do is all we can do. Most of us get by fairly well, but there was that woman in Atlanta who was busted for prostitution and in the three days she spent in jail her baby died in her apartment. She had left him alone, thinking she would be right back after a few tricks, and the neighbors said the baby cried for a day and a half then stopped. She didn’t want to tell anyone she had left a baby alone at home, out of fear of losing him, and humans do not always have the intellect we’re purported to have.
I finally checked the cabinet where the skein of string was supposed to be in the first place, and there it was. But there were two masses of dead string, too. It took a while but I finally figured out Lucas had dissected two softballs, and that’s where all the string came from. I didn’t see that coming, totally forgot about string inside of softballs, and it made me wonder how fit I am to judge other people who have clean forgotten what a puppy or a kid can get into. I suspect the more neatly and orderly our lives are, the more we seem to look down upon those who are not. Having a puppy or a kid keeps us away from all that, ever it may bring.