Squinchy Christ

So maybe you have been wondering what my dog’s name ended up being.  Maybe you have moved on to ponder other mysteries, like why Jesslyn doesn’t like Neil Young in the summer

Just in case it’s the first, I will tell you.  I have been calling my puppy Squinchy.  I don’t know; it just happened.  I meant to give him a real grown-up dog name, because he is a dog with his share of dignity and magnificence.  I tried all kinds of things, but I just kept calling him Squinchy. 

My brother did not approve.  As he said, “What if all this time it was Squinchy Christ instead of Jesus?  Could you take him seriously?”  To which I ask, can you take someone whose name is pronounced Geeze-us seriously?  Exactly.  We’re just used to it.

Leaving the question of whether  my puppy is a messiah aside, there was still the problem that when I call him Squinchy it sounds right, but a lot of times when other people say it I cringe.  So I have decided that his official name is Eamon. It fits his old-fashioned subtlety. But honestly, I am still mostly calling him Squinch.  You may do whatever you please.

Side note: A while back my brother asked my sister, “Was Jesus Christ Mexican?”




People have been asking how to subscribe.  I think I know, but it comes down to how much we share a common reality.  (see previous) When I look at this blog, I see a “subscribe” button up in the toolbar area.  Do you?  Or is it just there for me because I am writing this thing?

Good luck, and thanks for reading.

The Passable Phone

So I haven’t written in a while, because I have been preparing a manuscript for the Sewanee Writer’s Conference in Tennessee, which I am attending this summer, excitedly.  More than excitedly!  I am so, so, so (etc.) looking forward to it.  But it meant that this week, I transcribed 22,000 words from typewriter written pages to my computer.  My hands actually got sore.  And there was No Blogging.

But then, on my way to the post office to mail the thing off, I stopped for some groceries at Madison Market, and discovered that Reality is a Passable Phone, and I had to tell you all about it.  I’ll explain.  I was in the bulk section, buying bulk fig bars, which aren’t as good as packaged ones but fill some psychological food niche for me, when anyhow, I heard a woman talking by the bins of beans.  On the phone to her boyfriend, asking what kind of beans he wanted, I figured.  I looked for a twistie tie, she kept on talking.  She was using the phrase, “Red hot tips,” a lot.  Or was it “Red hot tits?”  She was talking about the Midwest and her parents and how she was hoping her dad was going to die so she could get all his money.  It was getting to be a pretty wild conversation, but hell, it is Madison Market — I’ve had conversations in the checkout line there about underarm hair.  It’s part of why I shop there: it’s human.  Anyways, people are always saying outrageous things for effect, especially when they’re on the phone somewhere public.  I picked up my basket and walked past her, and then I realized she was not wearing a headset.

It made me start thinking — why did the fact she was not on the phone change everything about the situation to me?  Either way, she was still clearly engaged in a conversation with someone who was not there.  Her being able to hear them because a satellite in outer space was beaming their words to her is really no more outlandish than her being able to hear them because they just in some way are in her head.

The only difference is that she conceivably could have passed the phone to me, and I could have heard the voice too.  And that, my friends, is the theory of the Passable Phone. Reality is a mutually agreed on construction and there is one of its walls.

Which brings me to banana phones.  Say someone, maybe my old housemate Liz, picks up an object, say a banana, has a telephone conversation into it, and passes it to you.  Probably, unless you’re shy or really cranky, you’ll take it and say “Hello?” And I think we do this with reality too — that everyone will pretend something is true, even when everyone knows it isn’t.

But enough bulk philosophy, invisible friends.

And a Dog!

Well, it happened fast.  My mom sent me an ad for some puppies my brother’s old science teacher was selling.  It was a litter of nine, part Border Collie, part Australian Shepherd, and part Blue Heeler.  They were raised around kids on the side of Mt. Si. Oh geez, they were cute!  Then my mom got one, named him Jack, and spun a vision of us raising sibling puppies out at the farm all summer.  So I went to look at them.  Uh-oh.  I asked my landlords what they thought, and even though I live in an apartment that doesn’t even allow goldfish, they said yes.  “You’re in love,” she told me, and I couldn’t deny it.   They offered me an old dog crate and some fencing.  Their ten year old promptly made a robot dog out of his lego.

That afternoon, I brought a puppy home.  Now he is sleeping on the hot-pink acrylic baby blanket my grandmother made me.  I haven’t found a name for him yet.  I feel like I know his name, but I don’t know the word for it.  Me, my brother, our dogs

This is what my dog is like: sleek blackness of creatures that swim and hunt at night, and the moon on pale stones, a phosphorescent wake.  His feet and nose are speckled like river stones, or trout, and the tip of his tail is a white-dipped flash.  He sometimes nurses in his sleep, with his tongue out, and he gets the hiccups.  He is both delicate and surging, and prefers to sleep just slightly touching my foot.  How do you say, in one word, the name for all that?