I didn’t have a dog growing up, but I did have a beloved family pet: Cornelius J. Franich, also known as “Corny,” a snake who entertained our household every fortnight when we fed him live mice.* So even though I’m no fan of canines, I’m intrigued by the Dog Wars controversy. To recap: Everyone knows that Mitt Romney once strapped his dog to the top of the car for a 12-hour drive from Massachusetts to Canada. Which is just cruel and unusual punishment. I mean, Canada. Ugh!
Romney’s ancient enemy – Barack Obama, POTUS – has his own shady history with the dog race. In Dreams of My Father – the book that all your friends swore they read cover to cover back in 2007 – Obama discusses some of the food he ate as a young boy living in Indonesia:
I learned how to eat small green chili peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.
“Dog meat!” exclaims John Q. Public. “Dog meat! Rabble rabble rabble!” Now, I don’t really care about the dog angle, because – as noted above – I don’t care about dogs. But as a snake owner, I feel I have a dog in this fight. And I have to admit that – far from being offended – my takeaway from this story is: When Barack Obama was a child, he lived through the feast scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom every single night. Crunchy grasshoppers! Tiger meat!
I hope that, on Sunday nights, Michelle Obama treats the kids to a tasty dish of snake surprise. I hope that someone will make a movie in which it turns out that Mitt Romney’s dog was actually fleeing to Canada to avoid being eaten by Barack Obama – it could be a topical reboot of Homeward Bound! I hope that, from now on, older brothers will torment their younger siblings with scary stories about Barack the Dogcatcher, who sneaks into houses at night and eats adorable puppies after drowning them in a vat of Tabasco sauce. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.
*Corny actually had a life worthy of a Thackeray novel. He escaped his cage in the confusion of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, only to reappear seven months later in our backyard. (The animal control officer theorized that he either spontaneously hibernated or sustained himself on baby birds.) A born escapist, Corny somehow got out of his cage a few years later, climbed into an electrical socket, and was discovered on our neighbor’s lawn. When the snake was eleven years old, it stopped eating. A visit to the veterinarian revealed that Corny had been living a lie, Crying Game-style: He was a she, and she was preggers! After giving birth to a litter of unfertilized eggs, Corny settled in for a long, happy, quiet middle age. I think we sold her to some kids from Sunnyvale or something. Good ol’ Corny. If you think about it, she’s probably killed tens of thousands of mice, and since snakes live forever, she’ll kill thousands more. The end.
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich
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