existential pug reflected on paper

[Author’s Note: I have this week off from teaching high school and the whole house to myself. My wife is on vacation with her family—a trip I couldn’t attend due to other teaching commitments—and my kids are away at school, so I decided to put my column aside for the week and rest. But my pug, Buster, who has stepped in for me in the past, agreed to write a column in exchange for cheese. He is writing about a purchase my wife and I recently made after having a few drinks. We thought it was hilarious and fantastic. Buster, quite clearly, didn’t agree.]

Buster 1
Buster on the sheets. Photo by Nate Mapplethorpe.

GrazianoIs that gray-haired bastard laughing at me? What else could it be? He must be laughing at me.

Look at the two of them, the blonde and the gray-haired son of a bitch, so smug and poised, giggling at their fancy new purchase: a queen-sized sheet with my likeness on it.

It’s just that it’s clearly not me. But I guess all pugs look the same, right? This is some dangerous talk for these stupid people to say.

I sleep at the foot of their bed every night and now I’m supposed to be peacefully napping on top of a picture of another pug’s tongue? The whole chilling scene reminded me of Percy Shelley’s sonnet, a haughty cautionary tale called “Ozymandias.”

As soon as I was tucked into bed, the first thing I saw was a picture of a pug that looked like me and was, quite literally, larger than life. I am the “King of Kings” or the “Pug of Pugs.” But unlike Ozymandias, I know that time will lead me into oblivion, and so will all of you.

One day, long after I’m gone, this piece of paper will be buried in a landfill, or burned. The blonde woman and the gray-haired bastard felt the need to mock me with my own death? Why do they have to put on that sheet and laugh hysterically while I look at them in awe? They didn’t even offer me cheese or puppy dog ​​peroni to ease my discomfort.

These are patients. I suspect they are sadists too.

Buster 2
Buster feels uneasy about the sheets. Photo by Nate Mapplethorpe.

But like the American poet Walt Whitman, I think, both figuratively and literally, that I am now “great” and “I contain multitudes.” I will continue to “scream savagely” as they try to strip me of my identity and individuality.

What if the pug on their sheets looks like me?Don’t I own my own? Purpose? I imagine they tell their friends that the pug on their sheets is also named “Buster.”

But if we are all considered the same, what is the purpose of names?

I guess the gray-haired bastard could stop using bylines in his columns, too. There are millions of other columnists, just like him, copying articles and claiming to be smart. So what makes the gray-haired son of a bitch any different? Why not put his nameless face on the sheets too?

So come on, gray-haired bastards and blondes, laugh. Hardy-ha-ha. But know this: The next time you conduct your matrimonial relationship on those sheets, you sick man, I won’t be sleeping at the foot of the bed.

I will laugh silently you I closed my eyes.

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