Monday, January 19, 2009

Why I avoid animal stories...

Over winter break, while she was visiting, Eugenie read "Marley and Me" a book about this dude and the rambunctious Labrador he and his wife raised and lived with for 13 years. When she left, she left it behind for me to read, as I had remarked at the number of times it made her giggle. Brought it with me when I left home, and in keeping with the theme of the weekend (ie, pretending not to know what science is), I read it through in the last two days.

It was good. Lots of funny parts, easy to read, moved along and kept me interested. But then you get to the inevitable part of every animal story out there, and it seems, particularly dog stories. Every dog story ever written, the dog dies. Sometimes heroically, sometimes unjustly, often of old age. Regardless, the dog moves on to a different existence, leaving its adoring human behind with a profound sense of loss and grief, and a head full of memories tinged bitter-sweet.

I read these books, and I'm a sucker. Almost without fail my nose starts to get drippy, my eyes water, and I end up scrambling for a tissue box or handkerchief. "Where the Red Fern Grows" - fantastic book; trainwrecks me every time. Eventually as a kid I noticed the pattern, and started trying to avoid such books. Who can stem the tide though? They're everywhere. "Old Yeller", "Call of the Wild", "White Fang", "Shiloh", "Sounder", ... , ... On and on.

I've learned to mostly stay away, and am no longer at an age where assignments can force them upon me... But every now and then one slips through the cracks. And I find myself laughing, and, inevitably, exuding a certain moisture from the viccinity of my eyeballs. Sigh. Sometimes it's good though I guess to have your emotions stirred up a bit. Not something that journal articles usually bring to the table, that's for sure.

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