There is a moment in the life of any pet owner – forgive me, “animal companion” or whatever is popular and correct these days – when you realize your furry friend is not going to be with you much longer. This is not my first time to this dance. And yes, every time we lose one of our furry friends, I am emotionally devastated and swear off ownership forever and that lasts a few months.
Mavis the Pug Dog has been with us for a decade now. I look at photos of her from her first days with us,when we had first adopted her, and her mask and ears are dark black. They are now almost totally gray. She snuffles and snorts and hobbles through the house. Her skin allergies are worse than ever. She smells bad. She still loves sitting in my lap while I watch movies, hoping I will scratch her butt. I usually do.
Thinking about it, of course, makes me sad. Then I also watch her shuffling and grunting, and think, “Poor old thing.” Then I also wonder if the students at the community college where I work see me shuffling around and grunting, and if they think “Poor old thing.”
Unlikely. If I’m lucky.
I’m probably not that lucky.
It’s interesting: I’ve spent so much of my life writing and acting, and a key element of those two disciplines is observation. The changes in my body over the past decade, as youthful injuries starting taking their tolls, have been… interesting, I suppose. Whenever I meet up with old classmates, I am endlessly fascinated by what age has wrought, what it has changed, and also what it has not. The person inside remains basically unchanged. It’s the spacesuit that’s wearing out.
…Well, this got rather dark rather fast; all from that “poor old thing” anecdote that I thought was fairly amusing. I’m stopping short of saying stuff like “I know I don’t have all that much time left, and seeing where this country is goin’, I don’t much care, by jing!” and shaking my cane at all you young hooligans.
So I’ll shift gears and mention that Barnes and Noble is currently having their – annual? I just know it’s happened before, old age and memory, you know – 50% off Criterion DVD sale. I limited myself to two – which would net me free shipping – and therefore picked up the recently-released Kiss Me Deadly and a disc I had lusted after for most of that aforementioned decade: Gimme Shelter. I’m listening to its commentary track as I write this, directors Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwenn, and utility player Stanley Goldstein. That could be the reason for the cloud hanging over this entry. Gimme Shelter, though it didn’t intend to, documents the death of the 60s. They pretty much shambled around until around ’72 or ’73, but the fact Altamont didn’t play out like Woodstock was the rifle crack from the grassy knoll that put paid to a lot of idealism.
Ha, Maysles just mentioned that some people would say the 60s didn’t really end until the early 70s. I am vindicated.
Okay, movie’s over now. I suppose also seeing the Stones so freaking young didn’t help much, either. As either Goldstein or Maysles pointed out during the movie, you look at all those people in the audience and realize they’re 30 years older now – 40, actually, the disc came out in 2000 – and wonder.
Remind me to watch some uplifting movie this weekend. Lie to me, Hollywood. I’ll love you for it.