A few years back and I would simply institutionalize my son after a question like that.
Now you never know what makes sense in this world.
“I want to create an Internet of Smells,” the dog tells me at breakfast.
“We agreed no venture capital pitches before noon,” I reply, peppering my eggs.
“That’s why dogs aren’t online: there are no smells there. We need SCENTS to compliment the sights and sounds of the internet. That’s how we live. That’s how we consume. By the way, are you going to eat all that bacon?”
I ignore him and sip my orange juice.
“Imagine smelling the grass at a ballpark when you’re streaming a baseball game,” he says. “Or smelling the salt water when your friend posts a picture of themselves at the beach.”
“But you’re not interested in salt water,” I tell him.
“No,” he says, “I’m interested in butts. I want to smell butts ALL DAY LONG. It’s all about the butts.” He belches, as if to make a point. “This is what I’m talking about: an online site where dogs can smell dogs’ butts, any time, all the time. Talk about a captive audience.”
“You’re already captive,” I remind him. “You’re domesticated.”
He puts a paw on my knee, like he does when I stop scratching his ear sometimes, and looks earnestly into my eyes.
“Facebook isn’t cool anymore,” he says. “You know what’s cool? ASSBOOK.”
I brush his paw off my knee and start to respond to his choice of words but he interrupts me.
“Assbook is the first social media site made for dogs, by dogs. It brings the power of smell to social media, which, for dogs, are one and the same.” He’s getting a little excited about his pitch, meaning his penis starts doing that weird thing. “Dogs create a SCENT-ENABLED PROFILE™ at Assbook and interact with other dogs’ profiles. Not only can any Assbook member check out photos of dogs, but they get the full genitalia and anal flavor that only an Assbook SCENT-ENABLED PROFILE™ can provide.”
“Really, can this wait until later?” I ask, chewing my eggs.
“You know how people LIKE posts on Facebook?” he asks. “On Assbook, members PEE on posts. Like, ‘23 dogs PEED on your post.’ That is the sign of an interesting post.”
“I get it,” I tell him. “How are you going to monetize?”
“Monthly corporate sponsors. And here’s the beautiful things - I’ve already got our first sponsor lined up: the Republican Party. Ever since the story broke about Romney’s Irish Setter shitting himself on top of that car, the GOP has been desperate to win back the dog vote. They are ALL OVER Assbook. They are eating it up. Seriously, can I have some of that bacon?”
“Everyone knows dogs can’t vote,” I remind him, standing up from the table. “But if you need an investor, I’m in.” I brush the last piece of bacon from my plate and he snatches it before it touches the floor, and he makes a face like he’s smiling, but everyone knows dogs can’t smile.
I know some people who don’t use office restrooms for certain functions. They’ve trained their bodies to wait until the end of the day. I’m not one of those people. At around 1 pm, an hour or so after lunch, I hit the office men’s room, as do an unfortunately high percentage of the large number of men that work on my office floor.
Today I was in the stall, doing my business, and checking something out on my phone. A guy got in the stall next to mine and closed his door a little too hard, causing the latch keeping my door closed to slip out of its hilt.
I looked up in creeping terror to see my stall door slowly swing open, away from me, out into the bathroom. I recalled that most stall doors swing *in* but that I was in the handicapped stall. And the handicapped stall door swings out. Which makes sense. Just not at that moment.
As the door swung out into the room, it revealed a dude leaning up against the wall, checking out his own phone, facing - and clearly waiting to use - my stall. And for a split-second, his eyes glanced up from his phone and met mine, registering the deeply unfortunate nature of the situation, but then they quickly snapped back to his phone.
I waited an endless second for his assistance, but it was not to be. It was either he or I that closed that stall door, and since it had swung out to him, he was actually a step closer to the open door than I was. And I was pantsless, mid-business. Yet in that moment when his eyes had snapped back to his phone, he had committed to pretending he was not complicit in the scene and was immune to all else at that moment but what lay before him on his phone.
He disengaged. But that split-second connection had betrayed his farce.
It was a bummer moment in that crowded men’s room. I had simultaneously learned about different stall types and human nature. I took care of some things, hiked my pants up, and shuffled off the toilet and out of the stall to pull back the door. In so doing, I noticed that there was another guy waiting to use the urinal, two guys using urinals, and one guy washing his hands at the sink - many of whom glanced over to see what was going on.
And as I reached out to pull back the door, I dropped my phone. It smacked on the bathroom floor and bounced on to the complicit dude’s foot.
The air seemed thick. I’m not sure if people were stifling laughter, but it was silent, except for one guy finishing up urinating. How had this become so awkward, so fast? What would the complicit dude do now, I wondered. Frozen. Mute.
Miraculously, he reached down and picked up the phone, the world turning again, and he handed it back to me. As he did, he quickly looked me in the eye, and somewhere in his look he acknowledged he should have closed the stall door in the first place. My bad, said his eyes.
I took the phone from him and returned to my stall, pulling the door shut and latching it, making sure the latch held. It was at that moment such an insufficient technology, so error prone and insecure. But humanity had redeemed itself, somewhat.
- Daughter: I'll read this one. [Looks at cover.] "Jumping On Pop."