We have a dog named Maggie. She is a bronze statue that we purchased years ago at an art gallery in Sawyer, Michigan. The owner of the gallery bought it in an estate sale in Chicago. The artist is unknown, but that doesn’t matter to us. What matters is that Maggie is very well behaved, never barks, does not shed, and does not require walks in bad weather. The only downside is that people sometimes stub a toe on her.
Recently a couple was touring our house (folks we met at our garage sale), and when they spotted Maggie, I said, “She’s our last dog.” I was trying to make a weak joke about our aging – that you go through a series of dogs in your life, and when you get near the end you are on your last dog. What our friends heard, however, is that we had our last dog bronzed after she died – you know, like what you do (or used to do) with baby shoes. I guess they thought it was similar to what you might ask a taxidermist to do, only more durable.
Once I cleared the matter up, it occurred to me that having our last dog bronzed makes for a better story than finding a statue in a gallery, so why not stick with it? After all, we have learned from reading the news that we are living in a “post-truth era” where a statement that grammatically sounds like a statement of fact can and will be taken for the truth. And besides, Maggie might have been made from someone’s last dog.
To test out my new approach, I told another garage sale couple that Maggie had been bronzed from our last dog. I received looks of sympathy seasoned with horror, and the couple decided not to ask any follow-up questions, so I feel that my alternative version of reality is successful.
My task, now that Maggie is inhabiting that alternative reality, is to populate it with other stories. The world has suddenly opened up for me – stuff in our house, but also the scar on my hand, my previous career as an astronaut, the crime I got away with, the assumed name I use to publish my best-selling books.
But, of course, everything I write in this blog is and will be true.