THE DOG WHO HUMPED GOD
There is a peaceful park where I sometimes go to read when the world gets to be too much for my tired brain. There, the autumn air blows tranquil, sweet, and cool. It's on the campus, and the students have honored the space with their creative efforts. Scattered throughout the quad are various works of sculpture, some surprisingly good; some simple but oddly moving. You will find twisted abstract representations of post-adolescent angst; intricately carved pieces of found materials arranged in cunning combinations and some anomalous creations that beggar description.
Near the bench where I like to sit is a fairly good representation of Michelangelo’s Jehovah Giving Life to Adam, carved from what appears to be a piece of driftwood, undoubtedly scavenged from one of Indiana's bountiful lakes. If you want artistic junk, our lakes are a treasure trove. Once I found a piece of Styrofoam that looked like Liberace in profile. My wife found a geode that, if you squint at it just right, looks like an out-of-focus television playing a Bon Ami commercial. This particular statue is not a bad reproduction of the Italian masterpiece Buonarotti so eloquently conjured from his magnificent brush, though Old Jehovah's carved expression, rather than radiating equal measure of wisdom and compassion, seems more like the cynical leer of a grifter about to pull one over on the doe-eyed, innocent Adam -- which, upon reflection on the whole Garden of Eden affair, with the Churchez-le-femme scam involving the woman, the infamous fruit, and, of all things, a smooth-talking serpent, may not be all that far from the reality of the situation. Talk about the original Sting.
Cynicism aside, it's October, and the air smells of cinnamon, wood smoke and dried leaves. I have a book of short stories and a warm drink, so not much can go wrong on a day like this. As I settle into the comfortable complacency that comes easier the further I advance into middle age, a small dog, a Welsh terrier I believe, wobbles into my range of vision.
I say he wobbles, because he's missing his left hind leg. This subtraction doesn't seem to have diminished his self-esteem a single jot; he struts about with all the confidence of a senator. I know the dog is a "he" because the missing hindlimb provides an unobstructed view of his undercarriage, and his credentials as a male canine are both impressive and
completely intact. Although missing a leg, this dog is complete in a manner his other doggy comrades might envy.
As this abridged but confident rake surveyed his domain, his eye lit upon the sculpture of Jehovah and His young protégé. The impudent cur lurched over and sniffed Jehovah's sandal, circumambulated the base of the monument, and studied the situation with a keen, practiced eye. I watched transfixed; was this saucy cockerel going to desecrate our most sacred metaphor? Was the divine spark of life passed to us by our creator about to be doused with a spray of urine?
Oh no, it was worse -- much worse. That wretched creature worked his way onto the sculpture and began wriggling his hips in an unmistakably erotic manner. His lip curled in an expression of lust or scorn, the randy devil looked in my direction as though daring me --me, who was shaped in God's own image, to try to stop him from humping Our Father's Heavenly Calf.
But I couldn't move, nor could I speak. I was nailed to the spot. The philosophical implications of this tableau set off neuronal firings in my brain of such scope and magnitude that I was for the moment paralytic. But in contrast to my physical paralysis my mind was a beehive of convoluted activity. I imagined with perfect clarity the sniggering specters of Sartre,
Nietzsche, Freud, and Voltaire sitting on the bench with me, nudging each other and passing a bottle of schnapps. Even Nature Herself seemed shocked to silence by this outrage. I swear I could hear the sound of a single leaf whispering through the air in slow motion: shoof, shoof, shoof.
Within my very essence, gears turned, pieces meshed together. All of this meant something, something--big. I was on the verge of a titanic, cosmic revelation, something that would change the course of human destiny, possibly the enlightenment of the entire human race. I was almost there; it was just within my grasp, when an earsplitting shriek split the air.
The moment was gone. My grasp on the infinite secret slipped away. The leaf's graceful dance ended as a chill wind spun it aside. A tiny, gnarled elderly woman staggered onto the scene, leaning on a cane:
"Willis! Wi-i-i-i--lis! What are you doing? OH DEAR GOD THAT'S GOD! You Ba-a-a-a-ad dog!"
She waved her walking-stick, a bright, neon-green tennis ball on the tip describing figure-eights in Willis's direction, breaking the blasphemous spell. Willis, his lust for Divine carnal relations at least temporarily sated, slid down and oscillated over to his mistress, tongue lolling. She cast an apologetic and somehow scandalized look in my direction, as though I were somehow responsible for urging her dog to such unspeakable irreverence. Willis turned his head toward me and sneered.
To this day I'm puzzled by Willis's motives. Was it simple leg-lust? If so, why go for the cold statue when there was a warm, vibrant leg attached to me, not ten feet away? Was it my breath? I've faced sexual rejection before, but can my self esteem hold up under being turned away by a dog? Or was Willis making a defiant statement, humping the leg of the God who cruelly deprived him, an innocent if excitable little doggie, of one of his limbs?
All I know is that if it ever becomes my good fortune to visit Italy, as I've always dreamed, and if I stand in the Sistine Chapel and gaze up at Michelangelo's most splendid masterpiece, what should be the finest and best moment of my life will be diluted by the memory of a shrill, Midwestern voice shrieking, "Willis! OH DEAR GOD THAT'S GOD! you Ba-a-a-a-ad dog!"
Thanks, you horny little SOB.
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?