As a column writer, I can share my real-life experiences with countless people. This is much more rewarding than when I try to tell a story firsthand to friends. Here’s an example of something that happened the other day ... I took my dog Toby for a walk and about a third of the way around the lake, he decided it was too cold and snowy, so he took off back to the shopping center where I had parked the car. A woman walking out of Kroger, where I usually shop, said she saw my companion run inside the store when the automatic doors opened. I went to the service desk and told the lady that my dog was somewhere inside. She said, “OK, I’ll make an announcement to see if we can locate him.” Then she asked, “What kind of a dog is it?” This struck me as very funny. I guess they didn’t want to hand over the wrong dog.
In any case, this is the kind of story I love to repeat, so first I called my buddy Bob. He chuckled through the part about Toby running into a supermarket. “And listen to this,” I said, trumpeting the forthcoming hysterical ending, “the woman at the service desk wanted to know what breed he was before she got on the PA.” I waited for the laughter. But instead Bob said: “That’s odd. Do you think Toby knows he’s a beagle?”HUH? What does that mean, Bob? I tried to explain the reason the last line was funny, but there was no point. Eager to share this whimsical tale with someone else, I called my friend and editor, Heidi. I knew she’d get a kick out of it.“I was walking the dog around the lake yesterday…”“You walked him near a lake? I hope you didn’t let Toby get too near the ice!”“OK, Heidi, but listen. So Toby is about 30 feet ahead of me and …“What? You didn’t have him on a leash? Who walks a beagle without a leash?“Not the point of the story. So all of a sudden he takes off — ““His feet were probably cold. Don’t you have booties for him? By the way I hope you didn’t have to chase him with that bad knee of yours.”“LISTEN TO ME, HEIDI! This lady is walking out of the store and tells me that Toby got into the supermarket and I imagined he was howling at the butcher. And, yes, I know you are thinking of cutting out red meat, Heidi, but I really want to finish my story.”“Fine!”“So I walk up to the counter and tell the woman that my dog is loose in the store and I ask her to get on the PA system to see if we can locate him. You will never in a million years guess what the woman said to me before she made the announcement.”“I assume she wanted to know what kind of dog it was.”Dejected, I put down my phone and decided that I was only going to relate my future experiences through the written word where I can make my point clearly without being interrupted and losing my train of thought. Hold on, there’s the phone. It’s Heidi. She wants to know why I prefer Kroger to Marsh.