Almost anyone you ask will tell you, if they know me, that I am a man of immense dignity.

Well… no. That’s not entirely accurate. In fact, almost anyone you ask will tell you, if they know me, that my life gives every appearance of having been designed to provide comic relief for the rest of you...all of you. As a matter of truth, a review of my life turns up hardly a shred of dignity. Allow me to illustrate my point with a recent tale:

I live across an intersection from one of The Valley’s best known--and most widely beloved — individuals. We have been friends for over a quarter of a century. We share lifelong interests in music, we’ve worked together on several occasions, he has even provided the music and party atmosphere for three of my daughters’ wedding receptions. A great guy.

We also share a love of dogs. And here is where the tale begins.

Last Sunday morning I slept in a bit, meaning my lovely Sheltie, Maizie, had to be patient about her early morning stroll. About an hour and half of patience. She is a 4 and a half year old gloriously beautiful little beast, with a wonderfully happy-to-be-alive personality. My friend and neighbor is, in the meantime, the rightfully proud owner of two the world’s most beautiful dogs...a pair of Malamute Huskies, either one of which could be the Top Dog at the Westminster Dog Show. Kyro is close in age to Maizie while Tug is a mere youth of just over half a year in age. Tug is filled right up with youthful exuberance...and he has had his little heart strings plucked by the Fair Maiden Maizie. Twice recently my Sheltie and I have strolled around the side of the house facing Tug’s side yard to find him sitting, staring hopefully in our direction from the edge of his lawn. He knows his boundaries. Maizie, as it turns out, is a bit of a tart! A gentle woof of invitation, a coquette-ish “Hey Big Boy, come on over to my place,” and a half turn so she can look ever so coyly over a shoulder at her target. Poor little guy! He’s helpless, putty in her paws.

You’ve seen how baby goats hop around stiff legged…? That’s what Tug looks like as he breaks all the rules of his training and bounds across the road to be with his lady love.

There’s nothing so sweet as the innocence of first love. No dog has ever looked happier than the wide-eyed adoration in Tug’s perfect puppy face.

This is what transpired--again--on the Sunday in question...Maizie on one end of her retractable leash, I in my PSU short pj’s and my nearly threadbare lightweight summer robe and slippers at the other end of the leash. I looked across the street and spotted my good friend watching his prize puppy forget his rules. He shouted out an apology (which was not necessary at all) and said he couldn’t come after Tug because he wasn’t really properly clothed. No Problem. Easy as pie. All I had to do was walk Maizie across the road and Tug would surely follow. And from that point, personal dignity was completely out the window.

Now...I will admit my flimsy robe wasn’t really cinched up properly, the belt was barely crossed at the front, let alone tied up. Regardless, I strode fully upright, shoulders back, round mound of abdomen barely contained by that puny strip of belt cloth, ghostly pale lower legs flashing in the morning sun, whiter than the factory paint job on my Nissan Sentra. A step or two behind me, my trollop of a she-dog was cavorting enticingly, reeling in poor little Tug, whose hopes soared ever higher.

Turns out, my friend was right...I actually was adorned in more clothing than he, albeit what I wore was hardly top shelf. My wife has taken to describing my PSU pj shorts as nothing more than a skort, and an ill-fitting one at that, with an elastic waistband that is well past its prime. floosie pooch continued to dance seductively around my ankles, withTug utterly smitten, close behind.

Suddenly and without warning, I was off balance, locked up tight at the ankles by my dog’s leash, and the release button to loosen it wouldn’t budge. These things always happen in slow motion, and as I tipped beyond the point of no return, my friend made a desperate grab to hold me up, to no avail. My collapsing bulk tore through his grip like a downed water buffalo under the weight of half a dozen hungry lionesses. His lawn is baked as dry as mine, so the cloud of dust kicked up at impact had every appearance of a NatGeo Nature Documentary.

Robe and pj shorts wildly askew, I floundered on the hardpan, struggling to my knees with the help of my friend...just two grown men in their underwear on a Sunday morning, clinging to each other by the roadside. From about a hundred and fifty yards away, the sound of my brother in law on his front porch, laughing hysterically, as I found my glasses in the withered grass and slapped them back on my beak.

Maizie and Tug, meanwhile, are quietly making plans for a next date.

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