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Levity is a many-splendored thing – especially when the butt of the joke is someone other than one’s self.
Ages ago, back when my younger brother was studying for the bar exam, I accompanied my dad and siblings to Danbury, CT for some fun in the sun on gorgeous Candlewood Lake. It was very blustery that day, however. Far too much for my dad’s little rowboat, so we decided to head over to a local pond called Hatter’s for some low-key (and sheltered) shore fishing.
I put out a few rods, and within ten minutes we started hauling in fish. Most of them were carp in the 10-lb. class, with an occasional bass or channel cat thrown in for good measure. My poor, law-school-bound brother was exhausted from cramming for his exam, and it was all he could do to stay awake. Finally, with 5 of us fishing and bites coming every 5-6 minutes or so, he decided to pass out under a nearby oak tree, his study book resting on his lap.
It worked out well for my brother. He got to get a few much needed “Z’s”, the tree kept him from getting badly sunburnt (he was only wearing shorts), and we promised to wake him up every time it was his turn to reel in a fish.
An hour or two later, a local angler showed up to say hello. Accompanying him was his chubby English bulldog. He was an affable creature (the dog, not its owner) and although I can’t remember the angler’s name, for obvious reasons the dog’s stood out in my mind.
It was Max.
It turns out Max had a passion for that particular pond, and despite those short, cubby legs of his, would waddle into the water, his stub of a tail wagging, and send water spraying for yards in every direction. I don’t know what came over the dog, but he eventually spotted my poor brother passed out under the tree and headed in his direction.
I knew Max wasn’t aggressive, so I wasn’t concerned about my brother’s safety. That changed, however, when the dog started eyeing his nearest leg. A second later (and without uttering a sound), Max pounced. Not with his jaws, however. Instead, he jumped on my brother’s exposed thigh, wrapped all four of his legs around it, and started humping that leg for all he was worth.
My brother, of course, woke to the surprise of his life: a soaking-wet English bulldog bumping uglies with one of his gams. He cursed and grabbed hold of Max, who clung to his leg like a 50 lb. sausage. After a brief but ferocious struggle, during which time I and several of my siblings nearly fell over laughing, my brother managed to dislodge Max from the object of his affection.
I can still remember my brother’s infuriated remark as the dog shuffled off, its permanent grin looking even more comical than normal.
“My leg’s all wet!” he bellowed.
“I bet it is!” I shot back. “I just hope it’s water!”
The moral of this story is: when you try to get a leg up, you never know when a catnap can go to the dogs… 😉