Our dog is arriving today. He didn’t want to fly out with Becky and so decided to drive cross-country with two friends. Last night, my dog was in Las Vegas. I’ve never been to Las Vegas.
We got Beauregard a year ago this week. He was called Serpico then, by the guy who found him in Prospect Park. He doesn’t look much like a Serpico. He’s about the size and shape of a beagle and has the coloring of a Rottweiler. He has huge paws and, in repose, a look of general confusion. I came up with the name Slurpico, but we resisted the urge.
I have not seen Beauregard in nine weeks, though I have been kept abreast of his bowel movements. I told Becky yesterday that in a way I missed Beauregard more than I missed her, because, after all, I got to talk to her on the phone every day and–well, I was trying to make the very interesting point that the bond between man and wife is essentially a higher meeting of the minds while the bond between a man and his dog is a more primal, physical one, but Becky didn’t find this very interesting.
I tried talking to Beauregard on the phone a couple of times, but when he heard my voice, he would run around the apartment frantically looking for me, Becky says. Though now I wonder if she was just saying that to make me feel better.
I can’t wait to feel him.
* * * * * *
People keep asking me what it’s like to write for TheSimpsons. I don’t really know. Mostly so far I’ve watched other people write for TheSimpsons. But I’ve learned this much:
- No joke is so funny that it can’t be thrown out.
- It can always be funnier.
The way the process works, basically, is that you sit in a chair all day saying funny things. And if you have nothing funny to say, which for me is most of the time, you just sit around.
I thought I knew some funny people. I’ve worked at the NationalLampoon, Spy, and BeavisandButt-Head; I know NewYorker writers, Letterman writers, and at some point or another have been cornered by every one of Manhattan’s young wags. But I’ve never been in a room with this many funny people (I am not stupid enough to try to provide an example here).
Back in New York, I was the sourpuss, the guy who never cracked a smile, never laughed at anything. Now I laugh all day long. I’ve never had so much fun.
It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
* * * * * *
The most common phrase heard in TheSimpsons writers’ room is, “We already did that.” I pitched an idea a couple of weeks ago, and one of the writers said, very nicely, “Actually, we once did a joke about Homer inflating a pig by blowing in its ass.”
* * * * * *
Phone message from Becky: “It’s 3:15. Beau doesn’t even know me. I think I’m going to cry.”
I can’t concentrate for the rest of the day. If Beau could forget Becky in a week, I’m thinking, he’s going to bite me. My mind drifts off. I’m remembering that when Becky and I would go out for the day, Beau would steal our shoes and underwear and we would find them on the floor in a pile, undamaged. I realize: Instead of barking at him on the phone, I should have FedExed him my underpants.
* * * * * *
7: 30 p.m.
Becky and Beauregard arrive to pick me up from work. For weeks I had been imagining him leaping from the car and jumping all over me, like he used to when I had been gone only a day. He sits in the front seat and stares at me.
Out of the car, he walks right past me to some bushes. He sniffs around and eventually wanders over my way. He lets me pet him, but he would let anybody pet him. (Note: Call about security system for the house.)
He is so cool. He is acting almost exactly like the scariest kind of ex-girlfriend of all. She doesn’t still love you. She doesn’t hate you. She hardly thinks about you.
It will take some time, I console myself. My dog will have to learn to love me all over again.