Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Good Summer

Have you ever noticed that no one ever asks, "Having a good winter?" "Having a good spring?" "Having a good fall?" The obvious answer to the first: no, it's freezing and miserable; ditto to the second, and to the third, well, of course not, because winter is coming right up, or I'm stuck on the sidelines watching interminable soccer games in the freezing cold (pick your season).

Where does that come from, anyway, --"having a good summer?" What could be bad about summer, especially if you're a dog? (And by the way, I'm really bummed that the old adage, from a New Yorker cartoon caption, that "no one knows you're a dog on the Internet" is no longer true. According to Monday's New York Times, "On the old Internet, nobody knew you were a dog. On the new targeted Internet, they now know what kind of dog you are, your favorite leash color, the last time you had fleas and the date you were neutered." Ads Follow Web Users, and Get More Personal


"Having a good summer?" is totally the opposite kind of question from "How are you doing?" "How are you doing"" opens up the possibility that someone might say," Oh, I'm completely miserable!" (because it's winter, perhaps). There is no such honest response allowed to "having a good summer?" The only accepted response is, "Absolutely! We're just back from the Vineyard and off tomorrow to ---" (fill in another perfect destination).

Here's what could be bad about summer if you're a dog. Think about it: Are your pets having a good summer while you're off sailing at the Vineyard? Or are they toughing it out at some "pet resort" that is far from all-inclusive?

By the way, has anyone heard whether Bo Obama is headed to the Vineyard, too? I doubt it.

Here's how to tell if your folks are going on vacation without you:

First, are your rations becoming a bit thin? They might be trying to push down your weight—boarding prices vary by weight, not by volume of barking.

Second, have they dragged out that old bed of yours? Some old toys? Remember, kennels are not responsible for personal belongings that may have shifted during doggie playtimes. Your folks will choose only the oldest stuff to pack with you. Meanwhile, they've been shopping for their carefully weathered wardrobe for months.

Third, has your mom sounded desperate as she dials all the old reliable places, only to have them say, one after the other, "Sorry, we're booked!" ?Hey, maybe you'll get to head to the Vineyard after all.

One of my favorite responses to the "How are you" question is this one from the Rev. James A. Woods, dean of Boston College's Woods School of Advancing Studies. No matter when you meet him, he always says, "Extraordinary. Very extraordinary." And he is. And so is summer. As long as your folks are not on vacation.