My Dog Frank

I was about to get on the freeway on my way to Santa Barbara when I stopped to pick up a hitchhiker. As the guy was getting into the car he looked back over his shoulder and called out, “Goodbye Midnight.”

I asked him who he was talking to and he pointed over to some bushes where I saw a black Labrador Retriever. The guy said he was moving into a Christian Group Home that didn’t allow pets, so he was going to abandon his dog there at the freeway onramp.

Long story short … I kicked the guy out of the car and took the dog home. And had one of my first real insights into … Christians.

This was back in 1973. Just about every black lab I knew was named either Blackie, Pooh-Bear, or Midnight. I looked at the dog, he looked at me, and I named him Frank. Over the years I learned a lot from Frank. He wasn’t into rationalizing. He didn’t spend any time justifying his actions. If I put out a new brand of dog food and he liked it … he ate it. If he didn’t like it … he wouldn’t eat it. As a dog Frank wasn’t expected to give any reasons for his likes or dislikes. Many times over the last 37 years I’ve envied him that.

If I’m watching a movie I like, I’m not thinking. I’m not analyzing the plot, the actors, the editing or direction. I’m just digging the movie. Afterwards if someone asks what did I think of the movie … I can’t get away with “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it.”

If they liked it and I didn’t … the next question is, “Why?”

Why didn’t I like something they did? Now I have to start thinking about it. I’ve got to analyze the film and come up with intellectually sound reasons to justify why I didn’t like the movie. Then the person I’m talking to tries to find weak spots in my argument and the debate drags on and on. That’s about the time I wish I had the same rights and privileges of a black lab named Frank. No one ever bugged him about why he didn’t like Purina Dog Chow.

I am at my most Frank-like when it comes to politics. I initially don’t want to think about it.

I was going to college in California when Ronald Reagan was governor. Regarding the student disruptions at UC Berkeley, Reagan called out the National Guard and said, “If it’s to be a bloodbath, let it be now.”

That made quite an impression on me. On a visceral level. This guy didn’t seem to mind killing students who were protesting our ongoing war crime du jour: The Vietnam War.

10 years later he was running for president. I didn’t know anything specific about his proposed foreign or domestic policies. I had no idea who his advisors were going to be. All I knew was here was a guy that could casually use the word “bloodbath” and should be kept as far away as possible from the big red nuclear button. What was unsettling was I knew lots of people my age that were going to vote for him. They’d ask if I was going to vote for him. I’d say no … they’d ask “Why” … and then I’d have nothing to back up my answer other than the 10 year old bloodbath story.

Later on I researched and found loads of reasons why he shouldn’t be president. He was a typical Republican. Which is shorthand for a lying corporatist whore.

When George Herbert Walker Bush was making his run for the White House I couldn’t vote for him either. I never paid attention to any of his campaign speeches. Aside from being Reagan’s Vice President all I knew about George H.W. Bush was that he was a former Director of the CIA. I just thought if someone used to be the head of the world’s largest terrorist organization, that should automatically disqualify him from being president. Made sense to me.

Why didn’t I consider voting for Bob Dole? That’s easy. In 1996 Dole said that smoking is not necessarily addictive. That meant that Dole had either been bought by Big Tobacco, and was … y’know … a lying corporatist whore, or incredibly stupid. It didn’t make any difference either way. Not Presidential Material.

George W. Bush? Easier still.

He Couldn’t Talk.

Who cared if he could surround himself with people who actually knew things? There was clearly something wrong with his mental processes. He was obviously an idiot. A customer service rep for a cable company should be able to think and speak clearly. That goes for The President of the United States too.

This last go-round was another no-brainer. John McCain is a war criminal and war monger who picked a bona fide crazy woman as a running mate. What more did anyone need to know?

In Oliver Sack’s book, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat” he wrote of patients in the brain-damaged ward watching one of Ronald Reagan’s speeches.

Sacks wrote, “What was going on? A roar of laughter from the aphasia ward, just as the president’s speech was coming on, and they all had been so eager to hear the president speaking … there he was, the old charmer, the actor, with his practiced rhetoric, his emotional appeal … and all the patients were convulsed with laughter.”

They were aphasiacs. People who had lost the ability to understand the meaning of words strung together. But they still retained an ability to understand the “feeling-tone” of communication. “Thus it was the grimaces, the false gestures, and above all, the false tones and cadences of the voice, which rang false for these wordless but immensely sensitive patients. It was to these (for them) most glaring, even grotesque, incongruities and improprieties that my aphasic patients responded, undeceived and undeceivable by words. That is why they laughed at the president’s speech.”

If brain damaged patients understood Reagan was a liar, what does that say about the majority of Americans who elected that clown twice?

The Democrats should have won every major election in my lifetime … but they didn’t. I guess it would have been against the rules or something for Al Gore to look at Bush and say to the people, “They’re kidding … right? The Republicans think this is the best guy for the job? He barely squeaked out of school, he’s failed at every business he tried to run, and his friends loaned him the money so he could buy into a baseball team. As governor he ran his state into a ditch and the only thing he seems to be good at is executing people. And by the way … have you noticed he can’t speak more than two sentences in a row without smoke coming out of his ears? That’s just plain weird.

Figuring out Politics in America should be easy. The Republican candidates put before us have been so woeful and lacking. From Tricky Dick’s Checkers speech to George W’s “deer in the headlights” delivery … everything radiating from these guys said, “I Should Not Be President.” They were so pitiful that hundreds of millions of dollars had to be spent to convince us otherwise.

And sadly … it works. It is demonstrably true that tens of millions of Americans were so stupid they didn’t know that George W. Bush was an idiot. When he ran for reelection they were so stupid they didn’t even know he had destroyed their country. Now that Obama has signed the hamstrung and hobbled healthcare insurance reform into law … we’ll see Republican politicians screeching and gibbering in front the insane Teabaggers … positioning themselves for yet another run for The Oval Office.

If Frank were still around he’d give them one sniff and lift his leg. If only the rest of us were as discerning.

My Dog Frank March 23, 2010

Listen to this segment from The Mike Malloy Show here:


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