The Boy’s Club

Here we are at break of day, the wind howling outside, and all the males in the house are surrounding me on the couch. We are our own gang. Raebert the impossibly good and gentle Deerhound. Buster the impossibly cute Scotty, Elliott the impossibly discerning cat, and me the impossibly impossible one who pisses off the whole world and is still the chief of this particular tribe. And right now, precisely in the middle. See how that works?



Lord of the Jeep



You may have heard that Raebert had a trauma some weeks back. But if you’re of noble blood, you always come back. The native spine and heart kick in. There’s a kind of trumpet call to the soul, as exemplified by Peter Tchaikovsky.

The trip to the vet. A heroic adventure. The bosomy vet tech part begins after 4.5 minutes in. (More formally known as the “Nipple Interlude.” You’ll understand when you hear it.) Before that there’s lots of not going anywhere today, getting reluctantly into the Jeep, people looking through the windows of the Jeep in Salem, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the hoi polloi at the vet clinic. At the beginning, though, there’s the piercing act of courage to go see vet boobs… Call it a breast quest. Mammary bravery. Whatever. The thing that gets us off our giant deerhound ass. Maybe you missed the lesson of the leash. When to keep it, when to slip it.

Or, as Lady Laird characterizes it…

Shaking, quaking, panting, drooling. Indeed. Just don’t let a deer cross his path.

Same thing, mostly. If a deer had crossed his path, he’d have been all over it. No quit in our boy, you can bet on that. Which his mother was anxious to point out and I confirm. You can see how regal he is in utter darkness today. Most of his kind are afraid of the dark. Not Raebert. One of his many prodigious royal talents is sleeping when it’s dark.

I concede he was a bit tentative yesterday in the daylight when we embarked on the massive expedition to see the vet for an annual checkup. Some of us were concerned that after the difficult grooming episode he might be resistant to traveling somewhere by car. No such thing. After we hauled him out from under the couch, we snapped on the leash and he was so unconcerned that he didn’t move at all.

He was just being considerate of his 12 year old greyhound companion Molly. As soon as Lady Laird thought of it 5 minutes into our sudden schedule crisis and brought her upstairs, Raebert got to his feet and trooped, like a trooper, out to the Jeep. Molly jumped in, but she’s no Scottish Lord. If you’re a Scottish Lord, you need servants to place each and every one of your feet in the proper locations and then lift them into place, approximating what in a commoner sort of being would constitute an easy leap.

But the key criterion is eager anticipation of what’s coming next. Raebert had that in spades. It’s a half hour trip to the vet’s office and he was so looking forward to it that he stood the whole way, trembling with excitement. Molly lay down and went to sleep on the Turnpike. Raebert chose to vibrate continuously instead. Remarkably, his noblesse oblige was so pronounced that upon arrival at the vet’s office he insisted that Molly disembark first. He was so adamant that even after she had disembarked he wanted proof, in writing, which when we couldn’t produce it caused him to stand like an old school gentleman, in the back of the Jeep, unmoving, in fact immovable, until we threatened him with telling the vet about his habit of eating women’s jewelry.

Scots do not like scandals. He consented to enter the veterinary establishment.

But there was a problem. The place was filled with common dogs and cats. As soon as the first peasant exclaimed, “What is that?!” upon his arrival, he commenced to quiver in aristocratic disdain.

Lady Laird quickly picked out a remote corner bench where Molly and Raebert could await their appointment without further unwelcome contact.

Molly is such a party girl. While Raebert delicately concealed himself under a bench half his size, the old girl was trying to plunge out of our corner and meet everybody. “Greyhound,” everybody yelled. “Come here, beautiful.” A small child across the room pointed his finger at Raebert. “What’s that?” he demanded to know. “A wolfhound,” somebody answered. “They kill wolves.” “Right,” the kid laughed. “All the wolves under the bench.”

I was screwing myself up to tell the kid that deerhounds do not kill wolves but deer and how did some little rugrat know whether there was a deer under the bench or not when the vet assistant came out to call for “Molly and Raebert.”

Suavely, I dragged Raebert past the pugs, poodles, and Pomeranians who were behind him in line and, with no help from the terrified vet assistant, planted each of Raebert’s four huge feet on the scale. Then heaved his body upright for the first time since we’d entered the clinic.

She should have helped. Even Raebert knows that his sacred corpus must be contacted at times by servants. But she was distracted by the fact that his eagerness to meet the vet was causing his whole body to shake to a degree that changed his weight from 102.4 to 103.8 pounds every nanosecond. I called a halt. “He weighs 103 pounds,” I told the girl. She agreed.

Once in the office, Raebert lurked demurely behind Lady Laird’s handbag, certain no one could see him. Then a pretty vet tech came in. She wanted to trim nails and do heart worm tests. She had breasts. Raebert left the room with her without a backward glance. So much for accusations of cowardice. Lords are fearless when it counts.

True, there was a certain amount of hiding afterwards — under my seat, behind Pat’s handbag, underneath Molly — before the vet showed up, but she had breasts too. Raebert became so relaxed by their roundness that he rolled on his back to show her all the stuff deerhounds have on their belly. When we told her he was a bit of a diva, a drama king, she just laughed at us. Then he looked her in the eye. She looked back. Never a good idea. She was his from that moment on. (I removed the card with her phone number from his collar before we left the joint. What faithful retainers do.)

Then we went back to the car. He still wanted help getting back in. Because Mommy was inside paying the bill. Why should he have to get into the Jeep with only one valet to assist?

He stood the whole way back home. Still vibrating like a motel Magic Fingers bed. What lords do. Masters of all they see. Attuned to all the manifestations of their chattels. It’s inspiring.

Isn’t it?

He forgives.

He just sprung it on me is all. The vet is cute. She has boobs. I like boobs.

He just sprung it on me is all. The vet is cute. She has boobs. I like boobs.

He’s getting better. You’ll see. As long as his mommy gets home safe from her Formula 1 fantasy, everything will be fine.

A Raebert Poem

As I just told my wife, easy for you to say when he's not on your foot.

As I just told my wife, easy for you to say when he’s not on your foot.

Raebert’s squashing my foot.
I’m not yelling. But Ow.
He’s heavy. Ow.

We all know poetry’s a young man’s game. This time an old man borrowed it for a bit. How’s it feel young’uns?

Raebert is good

Before we knew him, he knew us. He was waiting for us. Don't talk to us about scary.

We were premature in announcing his return to health. But he rose to the occasion of Father’s Day. Go figure.

He looks exactly like this puppy pic from his breeder, only 50 pounds bigger. Sorry we haven’t been able to get a really good picture of him yet. He’s been sleeping a lot and it still pains him to lie down and stand up. They were too severe on the inside of his hind legs. Last night, he slept from 10 pm to 11:59 am, blowing off breakfast entirely.

But he has this thing he does, where he comes out to the couch, slides past Lady Laird and backs his butt onto the cushions between us. Hasn’t done that since the haircut. Three times today. The last time he did his signature move, where he follows some ecstatic rump scratching with a turnaround that curls him up on the couch between us.

Then he does a little kissing of us and the signature deerhound groan of contentment. Stillness and peace.

Sorry. It’s complicated. I’d let it go, but this is his site. And it’s Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads, especially the ones with human bairns. I know you have it immeasurably tougher than I do.

For all the good women

(I’m not responsible for the racist-looking cartoon. Just
wanted you to have the best possible audio recording.)

Meaning my wife. And Barbara. And Edna. And all the others who are just good of heart. I love you. It’s not a sexual thing per se, although (she’ll kill me for telling you this) Lady Laird was running around bottomless this morning, and I’m so old my first thought was how cute that is. Time to turn the old stallion out to pasture, I guess. (Well, we’ll see about that when she gets home.)

I’ve been obsessed with my boy Raebert. I really thought he might die. But did I do the heavy lifting? No. Lady Laird did. Like she always does. I suffered and she did all the work. I woke her up when Raebert was having a trembling fit. Because I didn’t know what to do. Women know how to be moms. Almost invariably. Men suck at that.

The only thing I’m good for is writing obituaries.

Which I don’t have to write one of today. Because I have a good woman in my life. See?

We, meaning men and me specifically, tend to take too much for granted. It never occurred to me that my peremptory abandonment of this site would cause anyone to lose sleep.

It never occurred to me? No. Because I’m an egotistical jerk. Who is continuously forgiven for being so by a good woman. A good woman all other men of my acquaintance are terrified of. They admire her, love her, and all that. But they shrink and hide when she gets that look in her eye. Nobody who knows her can believe she puts up with me. I don’t either.

I love Raebert. He loves her more than me. As he should. As we all should. She knows exactly where to stroke the place that hurts.

I apologize.

The Lady Barbara made me feel guilty, the way good women can do.

So I am going to do a real not a fake apology.

I was wrong to leave so quickly. I know I offended people who have been loyal for years. I was being selfish. I value everyone who reads my words and it’s wrong of me to interpret silence as uninterest.

The fault is all mine. Please forgive me.

I will post here again. As soon as Raebert can lie down again without a painful interlude of wondering how to do it.

An Update from Lady Laird

He's better now, but it's been six days of fear and general hell.

He’s better now, but it’s been six days of fear and general hell.

Just a note to explain why RFL has been so cross. Raebert finally got his haircut on Thursday, despite his daddy’s constant balking and irrational paranoia.

He seemed okay when I brought him home, but then he collapsed on the way up the stairs. There followed days of not eating, immobility, random body-trembling anxiety attacks, and emotional rejection of both of us.

RFL hasn’t said “I told you so” in so many words. I believe him when he says the worst he was anticipating was an onset of itching and accelerating scratching that could leave Raebert as nearly naked as a flea allergy once left Psmith. But that probably doesn’t explain all the unreasonable dread. It must be a Scottish thing.

Like the switch that suddenly flipped when Raebert went down and sent him away from here to “Instapunk Rules,” where he is still working and posting.

I just thought you all might want to know at the end of this diary that the deerhound is almost back to 100 percent. Almost.

He looks beautiful. We keep reminding him of SNL’s Fernando, who famously declared “It is better to look good than to feel good.” He’s starting to come around. Now if his daddy would follow his example. Maybe when his knees stop hurting from sitting on the floor with Raebert for so many hours.


[Disregard the post signature. I don’t know much about WordPress. But this is me, known here as Lady Laird.]