Monday, April 2, 2007

Uber, Jaycie, and HealthFactsAndFears

The world doesn’t really need more highly personal blogs, but if you really want to know how recent political epochs align with elements of my personal life, I’d say we can break my life, and the past few decades of political activity, into three eras demarcated by the lifespan of my parents’ first dog, Uber, and my own birth.

I was born in 1969, during Woodstock. From that point until about twenty years later, Reagan’s election notwithstanding, I’d say the left was in the ascendant in Western civilization, but on April Fool’s Day in 1989, according to the official records at the pound, my parents’ dog Uber was born (named by me after Nietzsche’s ubermensch, since I was in a sophomore philosophy class at the time and considered the dog “beyond good and evil” — possessed of a great, playful personality, though not very rules-conscious). From Uber’s birth onward, coincidentally or not, it was all downhill for communism and not a bad time for globalism, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, and the spread of libertarian ideas, if not exactly for full-fledged laissez-faire policies (a sort of leveling-off of government growth rather than a radical reversal of it).

Uber passed away, deaf and blind but still even-tempered, in mid-2005, around the time it became apparent that Bush’s re-election euphoria would not translate into Social Security privatization, the creation of an “Ownership Society,” or clear-cut victory in Iraq. (The pound claims Uber was partly golden retriever and Chow, but she sure looked and sounded precisely like a Tibetan terrier to me, from the big feet to the big eyelashes, right down to the specific health problems, personality, and lifespan.)

In these less certain times, shortly before April Fool’s Day 2007, my parents got a new dog, Jaycie, already estimated to be some six years old (my hyper-cautious parents didn’t want a dog who might outlive them, though they’re only around sixty years old and look younger than that). Jaycie looks sort of like Winnie the Pooh (mixed with a Chow) and is afraid of thunder (and very sensitive to noises in general, a big change from living with a deaf Uber in her final years) but is completely unfazed when the cats attack her (this is helpful) and, surprisingly, revealed (on a recent walk at a nature park) a fondness for lying down in the middle of a stream and letting the water rush over her. Read into that what you will. (It arguably makes her less Nietzschean and more Taoist than her predecessor.)

This year, by the way, not only marks the start of the Jaycie and eras but the fifth anniversary of the blog I edit and helped launch at the American Council on Science and Health, The day job deals strictly with human health and unscientific claims, though, not dogs, which will have to be addressed primarily on this site.


Jacob T. Levy said...

Pounds identify every dog as either part retriver, part shepherd, or part spaniel.

Except that every black-and-brown dog is identified as part rotweiller. Recently met a very handsome dog in the park that was, without any doubt, a purebreed gordon setter; the owner had just trusted the pound that it was a particularly strange-looking rottie mix.

Shawn Macomber said...

That was beautiful.