The luck of the Dope-ish

As much as I hate superstition, so many things went wrong Saturday morning, I could only think I was having one very UN-lucky day.

It started as soon as I got up. Frankly, no matter how late I get up, I’m non compos mentis for at least an hour. Then again, since I don’t do anything that hour except feed the dogs and drink vats of coffee, I don’t have to be functional. But Saturday was different, because right after I woke up, I could see only out of my right eye. I rubbed my left eye, thinking it was the ocular equivalent of CPR, but it only made my eye itch … and I STILL couldn’t see out of it.

I quit rubbing and shook my head, trying to clear my brain, if not my eye, and suddenly it hit me: It was my stye.

I’ve had it since I was a wee poppet, and ultimately it’s no big deal. From time to time it acts up and my eye gets itchy and/or goopy. But all I have to do is soak it with a hot compress a bunch of times and it’ll go dormant, or whatever it is that retired styes do. So I soaked my eye, and in a little while I could see out of it, at least a bit better.

Then once that blessed event took place, I made my coffee. But after that, disaster struck: When I went to put my all-time favorite mug on the counter, it tottered and fell on the floor, shattering into shards o’plenty. Not only was that mug my favorite; it was also my oldest. It’d been my daily vessel of deliverance for at least the last 15 years. And now it was no more. RIP.

So I did the only things I could. I cursed loudly, cleaned up the pieces, filled a mug I didn’t care about, and drank. After I’d finished my first quart du jour, I decided to start my day. Or more exactly, I decided to RE-start it. I’d pretend the earlier mishaps hadn’t happened and from that moment on, everything would be copacetic. Just a regular Little Mary Sunshine, I was.

Clear thinking

‘Twas time to walk the dogs, so I saddled them up and shelpped them out to the car. I belted myself in, started the car, and put it in drive. Then — ever the cautious driver — I looked left, looked right, looked left again, and started to pull out. But just after I did, I got a weird tingling on the back of my neck — it was my fail-safe primal warning system going on alert.

I slammed on the brakes.

And good thing I did, because some jamoke flew around the blind corner at 75 mph, at least.

People speed on this section of Route 3 all the time, but at speeds where I can see them coming and get out of their way. But it wouldn’t have happened with that jackass. If I’d kept going, at best I would’ve gotten rear-ended — at worst I would’ve gotten T-boned.

I sat there, waiting for my breathing, pulse and blood pressure to return to normal. When they did, I mulled over everything that’d gone wrong in only the last hour or so.

My superstitious Seide would’ve said today was a very unlucky day. But I refused to bow to such muddled thought. Instead, I examined those events with a clear, dispassionate, logical mind. Yeah, sure, a bunch of things went wrong in a very short time, but that was that, and it was over. It had no bearing on the future. Period. I laughed aloud at the very notion.

Then I drove off. After all, whether Things in the Universe happen due to luck, displeasing the gods, or for no reason at all was irrelevant: No amount of philosophizing would get my dogs walked — only I would. So walk them I did.


For you of delicate disposition, I’ll try to describe the next event in the least graphic manner. Still, you might want to have a stronger friend read this section first and then relay it to you in less disturbing terms.


— On their walk, the dogs did what they inevitably do — use The Great Outdoors as their loo. Now I realize there are people whose religions forbid them from cleaning up after their dogs, but I’m not one of them. And while cleaning up after Daisy, I saw something in her poop that made my blood run cold. It was several rice-sized, rice-shaped and rice-colored things that, though small in size, are the equal of any Old Testament curse. They were tapeworm eggs. This meant Daisy was carrying Big Daddy and Big Mama tapeworms themselves!

I tore back to the car and called High Peaks Animal Hospital. When Meg Holmes answered, I all but shrieked into the phone.

“Tapeworms!” I yelled. “Daisy’s got tapeworms!”

“Don’t you use flea preventives?” she said, cooly.

“Yeah,” I said. “Without fail.”

“That’s strange,” she said. “Usually, that prevents worms as well.”

“I know,” I said. “And I’ve no idea how she could’ve gotten ’em.”

And that was the truth. My dogs are never off leash, and when I walk them, I watch them constantly. So while I don’t stop all incidents of canine rascality, I do cut most of them off at the pass. No matter. Something went wrong somehow, somewhere, and Daisy had worms. And dogs being what they are, it might be only a matter of days before the others had worms — unless they ALREADY had them.

Meg told me to bring in a stool sample and it’d be mailed out on Monday to the lab. Remember, today was Saturday. Now I had a day-and-a-half of anxiety before I found out how badly Daisy was infected … and that’d just be the beginning. Daisy would need meds; the other dogs and the cat would need to be tested. And if they also had worms, they’d need meds. And if they had worms, I’d have anxieties and I’d need meds as well.

I finally calmed down. What the hey, this sort of thing is just one risk of pet ownership. It could be a big hassle, but it was NOT the end of the world. Then again, the only thing that’s the end of the world is the end of the world.

By early eve, I’d come to grips with The Tapeworm Troubles, except for one thing: how she’d gotten the worms in the first place.

The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I got. And the more frustrated I got, the more I thought about it. And suddenly, late that night and amidst all the shpilkes, I had a note of clarity … PERFECT clarity, in fact.

I thought of one other thing that’s rice-shaped, rice-sized and rice-colored and can be found in dog poop. Rice.

But where would Daisy have gotten rice?

Where else? From me.

Whenever I go in the kitchen, Daisy, the former street dog who’s totally food-driven, follows. I rarely give her snacks, but in dogthink, this means each time she follows me into the kitchen, she’ll get a whole bunch of treats.

Friday’s meal was Fiesta Mexicana, and when I was putting the leftover rice away, I dropped a bunch in Daisy’s bowl.

And with that recollection-cum-revelation, all was right with the world.

What had seemed an unlucky day had instead turned out a very LUCKY day.

I no longer had a stye. I’d avoided a car wreck. My dogs didn’t have worms.

And ahead of me lay the exciting search for another all-time favorite coffee mug.


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