Monday, September 15, 2008
This is the big fellow looking for raccoons. Seriously. He spends a good part of his day and night obsessing about them.
A lot of the big old trees on our street have been cut down over the past few years because of disease. Its a crying shame because from our house you can see the canopy that starts at the foot of the street and spreads out over the neighbourhood. Its beautiful. The grandaddy of them all happens to be in our neighbour's back yard. From the park one street over you can see it towering over the near century old homes. It makes for a lot of raking in the fall. And right near the base of it raccoons love to rest, day and night.
Toronto raccoons have nothing to do with their tiny little wild brothers. They are monstrous waddling obscenities. I may as well take my compost and dump it in the alley beside my house for all the good the city issued bin does in keeping them out. Geniuses distributed tens and tens of thousands of these things - they stop raccoons like the Polish cavalry stopped the Panzers. Not very effectively.
Now while I may dislike these scavengers the big fellow hates them. The title of this blog refers to skunks and truth be told its a misnomer. He has had run ins with skunks, four in total, and the first three ended badly for him and for me, but for skunks he has respect and likely a little fear. The fourth time he saw one he noted his presence about fifteen feet away and veered hard left after his opening move. Good thing because I had no tomato juice in the house at the time.
But raccoons? He hates the fuckers. He will sense that they are beside our house and pace the length of it snarling. He hears them fighting in the trees and prays to his canine God for wings to join the fray. If he could talk he would utter the following five sentences immediately:
1/ Cut off my nuts, will ya? Tit for tat - give me those garden shears.
2/ Jesus all these years and you never had the courtesy to give me a beer! Come on!
3/ Woof. Woof.
4/ I'm going to go find myself a snoodle. Don't wait up wanker.
5/ Enough of this chicken flavoured cereal. Give me some raccoon stew, you little prick.
Unlike the skunks he's had better luck with the coons. After a year of going mental as coons climbed trees, walked on the hydro wires and slept about fifteen feet from him overlooking our yard, we were walking in a nearby ravine in February and there happened to be a little bugger sleeping in a tree. Problem for the coon is that the snow was deep and he was only about four feet above the ground. So the big guy goes bounding through the snow, gets to the base of the tree, jumps up and bites the coon in the ass. A rude awakening.
He then comes up out of the ravine with a big shit eating grin, whips out a little notebook and crosses out "Bite raccoon" on his 'Things to Do Before I Die' list.
Before you say anything, its a fairly extensive list, and he has managed to do most of it. Getting into the garbage. Check. Taking a big crap on owner's sister's bed. Check. Humping owner's leg. Check.
And since then he has two more successes with his foes, a lot more involved ones at that. He has caught two of the buggers - knocked one off of a fence by slamming into it - and has torn them up pretty good. If he were to pass on tomorrow he would be a pretty happy pooch. He's had a good life.
Personally I haven't a bucket list. I have a beautiful family, which is really all a man can ask for. When I was young I sowed my wild oats, as they say, no regrets there. I have travelled, not to everywhere that I want to go, but I have been across Canada and to Ireland, Scotland and England. Spent some time in Dublin and London. A lot more to see and hopefully I will get to see it.
And when it comes to sports I have been pretty lucky. I remember a few years back before the White Sox won the Series reading that the odds of neither the Cubs or Sox winning all of those years was five thousand to one. Imagine! Of course the White Sox have won it all now. And the Red Sox too. But for Cubs and Indian fans the suffering continues. And imagine being a fan of the Canucks or the Kings? Jesus, not even past glories to hitch your wagon to.
As for me I have seen all I have wanted to see with only one exception. Ironically the sport that I care about the least has been most successful for me, with six Bulls' titles in the 90s. The Bears won in '85. In baseball there were back to back wins for the Jays. Even Tottenham Spurs won honours last year, after only a few years of being my team. And in hockey, 2002 was the pinnacle for me as Canada won gold in Salt Lake City. I wept tears of joy, I kid you not. Add in the other international successes, the World Juniors, the Canada and World Cups (I saw a whack of the '91 Canada Cup, including the semifinal win over Sweden, live) and everything I have ever wanted in sports has come true for me.
With one exception. Of course, its only the biggest one. Stanley.
I loved the Oilers' dynasty but they were my second team. I loved the way that they played. The genius of Gretzky, the brutish snarling Messier, the sublime sniper Kurri, the pest Tikkanen and the weird stickman Anderson, the underrated D and the cool Fuhr. A terrific team, by my estimation the greatest ever. Each year I cheered for them to take it all. Once Chicago was out.
Wirtz killed my love for the Hawks but it was nine years after the Oilers' last Cup that I changed my stripes, so to speak, nine years too late to claim a Cup as my own.
Forty years and my team has never won the Stanley.
God, if you love me, and all that is holy, you will get this done. And soon.
Posted by Black Dog at 4:13 PM