Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Hair Of The Dog
By Linda L. Zern, Florida

My husband and I got rid of our kids the old fashioned way. We swaddled them, wiped them, smothered them, adored them, bossed them, and then firmly and finally kicked them out. They went. It was too late. We were addicted to the swaddling, wiping, smothering, adoring, and bossing. We were addicted to the caring—so we got a dog.

The dog arrived just as the kids escaped. She was free, adorable, and covered in hair. That dog and the fur coat she came wrapped in was proof positive that my husband and I had lost what little equilibrium we had managed to cobble together over the years. Just as our home had become clean, comfortable, and hypoallergenic, we filled it with a mammal that shed the equivalent of sixteen angora sweaters per lunar cycle. She’s a hair explosion. We adapted.

We started buying lint rollers in case lots from a start-up company in Indonesia. We qualified for the large quantity discount and the company Christmas card. Our account rep’s name is Omja; it’s a name that means, “born of cosmic unity.”

Last night my husband cracked open a new case of lint rollers and then pointed out that we were closing in on our thirty plus year wedding anniversary. He was trying to be romantic, but I got distracted by a tumbleweed of dog hair as it drifted languidly through the air in front of my nose. Waving a lint roller like a road flare, I expertly whipped floating fur from the air.

“Hold still,” he said, and with a flick of his wrist ran a lint roller down the back of my Winnie the Pooh pajamas.

I trembled and jumped a bit. It was hard to tell if the ‘old spark’ was still there, or I if was being electrocuted by a mix of sticky tape and static cling. Either way, I felt my innards flip-flop and my neck hair crackle.

“Sorry, I thought—you know—the shedding.” He gave me a half grin and a shrug. “There was dog hair on your . . . back parts.”

I watched a single hair drift and settle onto the top of his skull. Nodding, I rolled his head, noting how much white hair belonged exclusively to him now and not on the dog’s butt. Where had the time gone?

Climbing into bed, my husband lint-rolled his pillow and then mine, while I ran a lint roller across the part of the bedspread that catches our chin drool. In tandem, we ripped fur clogged sticky strips free from our matching rollers, wadded them into clingy balls, and tossed the wads over our shoulders.

“Honey, have I told you that the last thirty plus years have been,” I said, pausing, as another errant tuft of fur floated by, “a thousand kinds of fun.” I watched it settle and then drift like snow across the bedspread. I flashed on the image of a snowman wearing the shaggy coat of a mixed breed Golden Retriever with a dash of Boarder Collie. I chuckled softly.

Smiling his special smile at my apparent good humor, my husband ran his lint roller down the front of my Winnie the Pooh pajamas. I giggled. A dog hair stuck in my lip balm, making my lip itch. Lint rolling my upper lip, I returned his special smile with my own special smile.

Just as he leaned in to kiss me goodnight, our sixty-pound canine hair factory vaulted onto the bed and shook. Dog hair showered down like dandelion seeds in May. We lint rolled each other’s faces. Pushing in between us the dog flipped onto her back, burped a burp that smelled vaguely of plastic wrap, shoved her four legs skyward, and fell asleep in a puddle of her own shedding.

“A thousand kinds of fun,” I repeated, quietly.

We tapped our lint rollers together. They stuck. We left them that way all night.

Now that’s love born of cosmic unity.

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