I am colonoscopy-years-old and still can't assert any kind of authority
Taylor Swift, who is 33, sings, ”I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser.”
Honey, just wait until you are 48 and being b*tch-slapped by a rescue dog who weighs less than a stand mixer.
This is what my days look like now. I am awakened at 7 by Lilo the Daschund-Yorkie-Chihuahua-Minpin.
(Sidenote: we got his DNA done and the 43% Yorkie was rather shocking, especially to my husband, who specifically requested any new dog be 0% Yorkie. But that’s Yorkies for you, they secretly rule the world. Unless you live with one, then it’s no secret).
I spend 10 minutes attempting to stay in bed longer while he begins to eat the buttons off my pajamas, followed by my nose. I do have a large nose, so maybe it’s for the best.
Then I take him on a walk. This used to be a somewhat pleasant activity. Sure, he acted out some kind of Iditarod fantasy the whole way, but I managed fine, because I am 10 times his weight and can essentially perform as a kind of dog treadmill just by virtue of gravity. I put on my podcast, zoned out, and just manhandled his ass.
And to be fair, I, like Michael Douglas, did invite this utter disaster into my life during a moment of weakness and pure imbecility and have no one but myself to blame. Lilo/Glenn Close has other behavior problems as well, for instance last week nipping at our friend Gary, who thankfully settled for a new J. Crew dress shirt and not multimillion-dollar civil litigation.
So Raleigh the dog trainer was called in. Within moments, Raleigh the dog trainer had Lilo’s attention. Maybe it was because he called him “Sir,” or maybe it was because Lilo sensed Raleigh was being paid quite a lot of money. Raleigh made it all look so easy. Raleigh said Lilo only needed to understand who was boss and this could be communicated through leash “popping,” making a scary “Disney Villain” face, and saying NO.
“But we’ve been doing that incessantly since he arrived.”
“Say it with more conviction + Disney Villain face.”
We just needed to be consistent, just like with human kids, he said. Raleigh spent most of the time teaching us leash training as the foundation of all obedience (that part is not like with human kids, do not put a leash on your children, just as a legal disclaimer. OK some of them do require a leash. Just don’t expect it to stop them from online shopping with your credit card). Then Raleigh left with instructions to practice all he had taught me til next time.
And that is when things really broke down. Like the very instant Raleigh left.
Because here’s the thing, Raleigh. The many things. I am raising two human kids, beings whose rearing has real, major consequences for myself, my children, and human society. Beings I cannot just put in a crate in another room if I grow tired of them. Beings who were born rather plus-sized and exceeded the weight of a stand mixer before they could even move independently. Beings who really, really need good, consistent authority.
I basically survived each day of their early lives just pin-balling between boredom and frustration and exhaustion and tantrums. Sometimes they even threw a tantrum, which only made it worse.
The sad truth is that even with such high stakes—I can’t impose order on a junk drawer. I can’t mould the behavior of play-doh. I can’t enforce a rule somebody doesn’t want to follow even if armed. The rule breakers would see me with the gun and immediately and correctly identify that I had neither the skill nor temperament to use it. Then they would wrest it from my hands and shoot me.
Raleigh is clearly a talented dog trainer and a nice person. But his regimen has taken the one feature of my relationship with Lilo that is actually tolerable—our walks—and turned it into a tedious grind. If I were to do this properly—and there is pretty much no way I will—I would be correcting Lilo every few steps. I would be unable to listen to any podcasts. This would be a tragedy.
Meanwhile, Lilo is still running this house like some kind of mob-boss-casino-magnate-former-POTUS whose diet mainly consists of things that should kill him and yet they do not.
Also—and stay with me, I promise this will be at least partly relevant—I am having a colonoscopy today. Well, I hope I am. Without getting all graphic on your ass (see what I did there), the prep, which has been not the most fun ever—mainly because I actually do need food to be anything close to a pleasant person—is maybe not doing a thorough cleaning job. Kind of like the maid service I pay like a kajillion dollars to clean my house that prioritizes folding the toilet paper hotel-style over actually removing dirt off the floor.
My husband had this issue with his last year. It turns out he has a “big and tall” colon that needs extra cleaning (and presumably a special colon apparel store). It was a thing. I fear I will have this same thing. Our 15-year-old daughter—who has the soul of an 85 year-old—is now already worried that she, too, has a big and tall colon and that her colonoscopies will be involved affairs. I told her to maybe use that mental energy to fold her laundry instead.
Anyway, my point is not that I have an internally large butt, to say nothing of its outward appearance. My point is that I am OLD. I and all of my generation. The colonoscopy waiting room is like The Breakfast Club with wrinkles and NO breakfast or food of any kind. But I’m betting most of them have their sh*t together, or at least removed from their colons.
I’m betting most of them can handle a small rescue dog and some of them even run entire corporations. Of people that is. Although some of these smug clean-asses could run a corporation of rescue dogs, I am convinced of that.
I will say this of myself, that after almost 49 years, I am very, very good at managing myself. I am also very, very good at relationships with other people who generally manage themselves. I am also pretty good at providing some nicely arranged words to inspire others to manage themselves, if they are so motivated.
But if y’all don’t want to handle your sh*t, then there is no pretty much no prep that I can offer that will clean that out. Not if you are a kid, not if you are a messed up adult, not if you are a rescue dog.
And that is what I have learned about myself so far. I am a very bad pack leader. With a large colon. It’s doubtful at this point I will ever be a good one. I am more likely to have a clean colon at 3 pm this afternoon.
And it’s not because I am too nice. I am plenty mean, trust me about this. But I am also lazy. Particularly involving non-imaginative tasks. If it’s repetitive, systematic, requires more organization than creativity—that is not a thing I’m going to want to do.
I don’t have any happy or inspirational ending here. Just a large colon.