I realized recently that I don’t write about my best friend nearly enough.
Being my best friend means one of two things: You’re either a dumbass, or you don’t have a whole lot of other options.
In my best friend’s case, it’s the dumbass thing. Lots of people have wanted to be her best friend, but she chose me.
I have a shitload of options for stories to write about when I want to post about her, but the one that popped into my head today was the One About the Dog.
About 300,000 years ago (or at least, that’s how the differences in our lives then and our lives now make us feel), Leigh had moved back to Texas, where she’d grown up, to attend graduate school. I visited her every year during my summers off from teaching so that I could spend my days convincing her to drink with me instead of studying. She was a big drunk and easy to convince, but she was also one of those people who managed to pull straight A’s regardless of how much tequila she’d had the night before—so no harm done.
One morning, after a night out with all of her graduate school nerd friends, Leigh and I hopped into her car and headed across the city to pick up a friend of hers who had spent the night fornicating with a gentleman caller. I mean, seriously, that whore wasn’t even married. Who does that? I mean, besides me, but it was only, like, 25 times, all with different people—so that hardly counts, right?
When we pulled into the neighborhood, Leigh quickly pointed out a small dog. “I’m not sure,” she said, slowing down to get a better look, “but that dog looks like Erin’s gentleman caller’s dog.”
We had been at the guy’s house for a few drinks the night before, and I was sure Leigh was right. That was the same dog. And he was currently digging a monster hole in the neighbor’s yard.
“Shit,” Leigh said, pulling over and stopping the car. “I’m sure he doesn’t know the dog is out here. I’d better go grab the poor little thing and take him home.”
Leigh hopped out of the car, grabbed the dog, and jumped back in. To this day, I have no idea why we didn’t just walk the few steps to the guy’s house to bring the dog back and pick up our friend. But for some reason, we decided to drive the rest of the way down the road to the guy’s house, dog in tow.
Before Leigh could start the car up again, I mused aloud, “Hm. He kind of looks like one of the dogs from Snoop’s video…”
Leigh’s face lit up. “He does!” she said.
So what did we do? Well, we did the only logical thing—what anyone in the same situation would have done—I sang the bass and she sang the treble.
“What’s my mother-fcking name?” I shouted.
“Snoop Do-oggy Do-o-oogg…Snoop Do-oggy Do-o-oogg,” she replied.
We continued to sing as Leigh grabbed the dog’s paws and made him dance at the steering wheel. The dog didn’t mind; you could tell he was having fun. As we sang and the dog danced joyfully, Leigh began acting as if the dog was also peppering quotes from the old lil Penny Hardaway commercials starring Chris Rock into the song. We loved those damned commercials and used lines from them constantly back then, whether they fit a given situation or not:
“Hey, Tyra, you left your toothbrush at my house!” Snoop Do-oggy Do-o-oogg…Snoop Do-oggy Do-o-oogg! “You can’t guuuuard me! The Secret Service couldn’t guuuuuard me!” Snoop Do-oggy Do-o-oogg…Snoop Do-oggy Do-o-oogg!
We were laughing hysterically, singing the song and shouting the quotes. The damned dog was so cute that I had to grab my camera and start snapping pictures of him shouting Chris Rock-isms and dancing at the steering wheel.
Somewhere in the midst of it all—we can’t be sure exactly when because we were so busy with the singing, dancing, and picture-taking—we suddenly noticed a small tapping at my passenger window.
We froze. I didn’t dare turn my head to look and see who it was, but the look on Leigh’s face as she sat there, silent now but still holding the dog in some kind of weird Snoop Dogg dance position, told me all I needed to know: It was the owner of the dog tapping on my window.
“Shit,” Leigh whispered without moving her lips.
We waited a few moments, the guy looking in the window, Leigh looking back at him, I with my back turned to him still, hoping—hoping against all hope—that he would just walk away so we could restore the dog with some sort of dignity.
To no avail. He tapped on the window once more—tap tap tap.
I slowly lowered my camera and turned to look at him, finding the button to lower my window. That five seconds that it took for that stupid window to come down were about the longest five seconds of my life. When it had finally lowered all the way down, the dog’s owner looked at me expectantly. It was as if he hadn’t just had me in his house only 12 hours before for a drink.
“Uh…we have—" I cleared my throat. “We have your dog.”
Leigh jumped in. “I know what it looks like, but we weren’t—"
“—molesting him,” I finished.
Okay, let me tell you guys something about me that probably won’t surprise you: I often make jokes that might go a little too far. I know, right? What kind of an asshole makes a joke about molesting a dog? Well, dammit, I did.
And I learned in that second—that very second—that people, especially adoring dog owners, do not like jokes about dog molestation. Who knew?
Leigh’s jaw dropped as she glared at me, a crazed look in her eye. “What? Why would you—of course we weren’t mol—" she couldn’t even bring herself to finish the sentence.
This is when I started to babble, because I felt like an idiot and was trying to rectify the situation—which, I have since learned, seems to happen naturally if I’d only shut the fck up. But back then, I was still learning. And still babbling.
“Well, actually, in Spanish, molestarse means ‘to bother,’ so technically, I suppose we were molesting your dog. If you’re a Spanish speaker.”
Leigh was now shaking her head as she glared at me, a mixture of shock, awe, and disgust painted all over her face. “While that might be true about the Spanish version of the word, Shay,” she said slowly, as if talking to a 4-year-old, “we’re not in Spain…”
“Right,” I agreed, nodding my head maniacally as I sensed that the conversation just needed to end and we needed to pass the dog back to the owner and collect our friend and get on with our merry lives—but not being able to do so because my face was red and I was still in babble mode, “Of course you’re right, we’re not in Spain, but we’re in Texas, and a lot of people in Texas speak Spanish quite fluently…”
I looked out the window at the owner for some support…I don’t know, a little nod of agreement about the Spanish-speaking thing, a little smile showing that he understood that we hadn’t harmed his dog at all, that we were good people who had only been trying to help when we picked him up from the neighbor’s house because we were afraid he was going to get lost…anything. Anything.
I got nothing.
A few moments passed as Leigh and I sat there silently, staring straight ahead. The dog’s owner stood, waiting, at the passenger side door. Slowly, I turned back to him, deciding to give it one more go.
“What I meant to say was that we did not sexually molest your dog.”
“Oh, holy shit, Shay. Just shut the hell up!” Leigh finally said, snapping out of it and passing the dog over to me to hand through the window to the owner. “I was going to say we weren’t planning to dog-nap your dog...” she explained, but you could tell the owner wasn’t listening.
He snatched the dog out of my hands, and I saw a few tears of relief slip from his eyes. He started to run back to his house, and we knew very well that he was headed straight to the utility room to grab the toolbox and get a ruler to measure the diameter of his dog’s asshole.
Just when he got to the door, Leigh called out, “Um, just tell Erin we’re out here waiting for her…thanks.”
Then she set her stare on me once again.
I tried to look sorry for the idiocy that had just come out of my big, stupid mouth, but I was too busy holding in my laughter so she wouldn’t get mad at me and finally wake up and realize what a complete and total dumbass she had for a best friend, her realization leading her to break up with me.
But because she’s a complete and total dumbass, too, she just started laughing. Uncontrollably. And that gave me permission to let out the laughter that I’d been trying to hold in. By the time our friend Erin had joined us in the car, we were both red-faced, shaking with laughter that was silent on account of us not being able to breathe, wiping the tears away from our faces as we gasped for breath.
“Oh, this is funny to you girls, is it?” Erin asked from the back seat, glaring back and forth from Leigh to me. “This is funny?”
This may not come as a huge surprise, but Erin did actually end up breaking up with us. We weren’t too sad; we knew it was for the best. Obviously she didn’t share the same sense of humor as we did, so it was only a matter of time.
And the dog? Last we heard, he was doing fine. Of course, that was about 14 years ago, the day after the incident.
Apparently Snoop Dogg came on the radio and he threw his little paws in the air like he just didn’t care.