Squinchy is the kind of dog you have to talk to. This is a fact; my friend Brigid, who is reading up about dogs because she doesn’t have one yet, said so. It is a characteristic of his breed. This is good, because I’ve always talked to him in full paragraphs. This is also good because if I wasn’t talking to him I would be talking out loud to myself.
More than just talking, though, Squinchy invites song. You are my Squinchy, my only Squinchy, you make me happy, when skies are gray, I sing when I scratch him in the morning. If I’m feeling silly, I make a parody out of my mom’s parody of a Comet commercial I’ve never heard. Squinchy: you make my teeth turn green. Squinchy: you taste like gasoline…. I sing him into everything. Christmas time was full of Oh Holy Squinch, and Squinchin’ Around the Christmas Tree. “In Spite of Ourselves” by John Prine is a frequent one, especially the part about he ain’t got laid in a month of Sunday — I caught him once he was sniffing my undies, which needs no modification. (Sorry, Squinch, I know that we cut your balls off and sent you into a life of cross-species platonic devotion. But remember, He’s my Squinchy. I’m his honey. Never gonna let him go.)
Of course, this could say more about me than about Squinch. After all, the five year old I babysit is always telling me to STOP SINGING! But I’m not the only one. Nate adapted a Presidents of the United States of America song: Squinch sat alone in a boggy marsh, totally emotionless except for his heart. Mud ran up into Squinch’s pajama’s, totally confusing all the passing paranhas. My cowboy flea classic “Oh Home on the Squinch” isn’t the only surrealist Squinch song, I guess.
My class wrote him a ballad, with lines like Squinchy is awesome. He loves his possum. He looks like a blossom and he loves to do summersaults.
And even Nate’s roommate sings, Your brain is full of spiders, you’ve got garlic in your soul, Mr. Squinch.