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When I was four years old, I did a thing which would live forever in infamy. This is not fair, of course; most people, at age four, are not actually people, but in fact a sort of monkey which is managing language, politics, and cause and effect relationships in a very rudimentary fashion. One should NEVER really be held responsible, in adulthood, for things one does when one is four years old, but apparently, this was among my most hilarious years, and my parents never grew tired of telling about how the neighbor lady called up one afternoon to tell them that I was peeing off the front porch, or about the time I attempted to escape punishment, only to discover to my tremendous shock that Mom knew how to climb trees, TOO...... ...and worst of all, the time I tried to get Cydney to eat the durn green beans. My parents hadn't been parents for very long when I was four; they'd only been doing it for four years, and had had no elder children upon whom to make mistakes and test pet theories. This made me the guinea pig. And among the things they wanted me to do was eat green beans. The kind that come in the can. Now, I was not a fussy eater, I am told; Mom was astonished that I would eat carrots in any form, that I liked to eat peas, and that I could even be counted upon to eat broccoli, given sufficient cheese atop it. Meat was never a problem, and very few vegetables slowed me down.But I did not like green beans. So naturally, they had to be served with every frickin' meal. I'm not sure why. Apparently, a certain amount of gustatory torture is considered to build character in four year olds or something. I dunno. I raised one of my own, and I never saw any point in forcing HER to eat things she found disgusting; there were plenty of other foods containing the exact same nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that she would eat with pleasure; why, then, would I come after her with a can of spinach cooked to the consistency of slime, ready to force it down her with a plumber's helper? I did not. For which she is no doubt grateful. But, regrettably, in the mid sixties, parenting had not yet reached the enlightened state, and it was considered necessary to find something your child hated, and then make him eat it. I'm sure there's a parallel between this parenting behavior and the state of modern politics... but I digress. I had an ally, though, with this particular issue: Cydney, the cinnamon boxer dog. She'd been part of the family for a year longer than I had, and we were fast friends as long as I could remember. And she could pretty much always be counted on to hang loose under the table and accept anything I did not care to eat. I had to be CAREFUL, of course; I wasn't supposed to feed the dog scraps, and I certainly wasn't supposed to feed her anything just because I didn't want to eat it. But I was a clever monkey; at age four, I'd learned the art of deception, which I think bolsters my point about politics. But I digress. Cydney didn't like green beans any more than I did. This presented a problem. How the hell was I supposed to fake the eating of green beans if Cydney wouldn't eat the damn things? Apparently, I was not the clever monkey I thought I was. I made a point of hiding the beans in my pants pocket, and then, rather than simply disposing of the beans in any number of other ways, with no one ever the wiser, I tried to get the dog to eat the beans elsewhere, where I had more time to work, and didn't have to look like I was using my politest table manners. Which led to my dad walking in on me in the bathroom, muttering, "Eat the beans, Cydney! Eat the beans!" while I tried to stuff them down the reluctant dog's mouth. This was 45 years ago. And to this day, if you bring up the subject of green beans around my father, he will launch into the tale told above. He couldn't have the decency to go senile or anything and FORGET about it, oh no. To this day, he will cheerfully spin the tale of Cydney and the green beans with all the relish and hilarity to which he told it to my first girl, my prom date, my college roommates, my first wife, my only daughter, and any number of people I'd just as soon hadn't heard it. Oh, yeah. Thanks, Dad. ******************************************************************************************** I've gotten used to dogs again this past year. I haven't had a dog since high school, but Berni has dogs, and we all got used to each other. And I find that dogs are rather conflicting creatures. On one hand, a dog is a sweet, loving, affectionate creature who adores you with all the love in her little doggy heart. On the other hand, that same dog will follow Henny the Cat around outdoors waiting for her to poop so the dog can scarfle down the turds like chocolate bonbons. Dogs are faithful, loving, and true, while often being remarkably gross, as well. This afternoon, I celebrated the three day weekend by barbecuing and smoking a variety of meats. Mmm. Orange beef, brisket with beer vinagrette marinade, beer chicken fajitas, several pounds of hamburger which will become dinner at various points in the week to come.... oh, yes. I like grilling and smoking outdoors very much....but at one point, I made the mistake of dumping a foil wrapper's contents over the rail into the yard... a hot mix of meat grease and orange marinade and beer and vinegar and so forth. A moment later, I saw Sunny cheerfully eating the grass I'd dumped it on. Mmm, sauce! "NO, durnit!" I shouted. "DON'T eat the dratted dirt!" And Sunny jumped back, looking guilty; apparently Daddy didn't mean for that delicious, wonderful smelling thing to be a doggy snack... but why? Sigh. Am I just unlucky? Today, I live with dogs that will eat dirt, grass, aluminum foil, leather shoes, epoxy putty, wood, potted plants, and cat turds... but as a child, I had one that wouldn't eat green beans?