A Boy's Best Friend

A zillion people seem to have seen this video already, but I missed it until I accidentally saw it on Facebook, where it had been posted in early April by HypeDoJo and already has 12 million views.

Might sound like a lot, but since the population of the United States alone is 319 million, give or take, there are probably a lot of folks out there who still haven't seen it. Thought you might enjoy it.

I didn't care for it because I don't like dogs. Don't hate me. I have a reason.

Growing up in an apartment building in Elmhurst, Queens (one of the five boroughs of New York City, Queens is known as the "borough of the dead" because it has so many large cemeteries that there are more dead folks than living at any given moment), I lived in a very small apartment with my mother. We moved in when my folks split up—I was seven, so 1965—and lived on the fourth floor; naturally I took the elevator a lot.

There was a weird bastard, must have been in his thirties (short black hair dotted with some gray, button up shirts that never fit quite right, black corduroy trousers that were inches too short revealing white socks), who lived with his mother on one of the floors above us. Even as a 7-year-old, I could tell this dude had some issues.

They had a dog, a medium sized black and white mutt, kept on a red leash. All was fine when Bizarro and his mother travelled the elevator and halls together. No sign of trouble. But by the time I was 10 years of age, the creep used to wait for me when I was taking the elevator alone and no other adults were around, then follow me in with his dog. And from the lobby to the fourth floor, he would purposefully allow the dog a long leash and let it bark and snap at me, sometimes only an inch or two from my hands.

I never told anyone.

After a few years it occurred to me that I could avoid the dog by taking the stairs, which I had always avoided since they were completely enclosed, somewhat dimly lit, and smelled of piss. However, despite my wariness, I took the stairs two and three at a time, getting up to the fourth floor pretty quickly. And there was no dog.

About six months later, on my way down, that weird bastard was waiting for me in the stairs. He grabbed my hand and rubbed it on my crotch for about a second before I started cursing at him (kids from Queens can use foul language like you've never heard). Pushed the sucker out of the way and ran past.

Then I stopped taking the stairs and resumed using the elevator. I saw a lot less of him after that.

As a kid, dogs terrified me, and as an adult, they make me uncomfortable.

This will sound really stupid, but it took about 35 years for me to figure out that the weird bastard was using the dog in the elevator to get me to take the stairs. Finally connected those two dots in middle age. Funny thing.

There is one dog in the world who has won me over; a dachshund named "Bertie" (shorBertiet for Albert) and he lives in Los Angeles. Whenever I visit his parents' home he is most catlike and promptly sits in my lap. He gazes at me lovingly with limpid brown eyes, although it would seem unlikely that he remembers me from year to year. He also likes to play tug 'o war with you and his blanket. Over the past few years his muzzle has grown white like an ancient spirit, but he doesn't know it.

Perhaps one day I'll get a dog.

But not today.