And this year’s Oscar goes to …
We had a dog when I was a kid named Missy, the greatest little terrier-traveling salesman mix ever born. She also was quite an actress.
One night, our neighbor’s much-bigger dog decided Missy would be his Scooby snack. He took what appeared to be a hunk out of her hip before she escaped. She crawled home, scratched the door, then collapsed, spent and bleeding.
Mom wrapped her quivering, whimpering body in a blanket, and she and Dad rushed to the vet, while three kids nervously paced.
When they returned an hour or so later, Mom carried the blanket, but no Missy. My heart stopped.
Then Missy bounced through door, wagging her little stub of a tail, walking in a C-shape, like she always did when she was busted.
The second they’d put her on the vet’s exam table, she had jumped up, magically healed, Mom said. The hunk out of her hip was a tiny cut.
For months after that, she’d limp every time we asked, “Oh, Missy, does your little leg hurt?” Except she kept switching the limp, confused about which little leg was supposed to hurt.
I think Big Guy has been channeling Missy this week. Tonight’s performance was the best.
He was getting ready for bed, making it through pajamas, medicine, teeth and stories without protest. I was ready to escape when he bolted for the foot of his bed and the nearby nightlight.
It’s show time!
“Mommy! It HURTS!” he howled, holding up his left ring finger.
I joined him at the nightlight, but didn’t see even a tiny scratch. So I defaulted to my “OK, nothing’s wrong but I’ll humor you” tactic. “Hurts, huh? Let’s see if a kiss makes it better.”
Several kisses failed to cure. “I need a Band-Aid,” he pouted, pointing to his left pinky.
“I think it will be all right in the morning, but if it’s not, we’ll get a Band-Aid then.”
“Ooooh. Hurt, hurts, HURTS! Look, it’s bleeding!” he shrieked, switching back to the ring finger.
That’s when I figured out his script.
A few days ago, Little Guy managed to maim himself. Sprawled head-long into a wooden bench and came up bloodied. You cannot imagine my relief when there was only a tiny cut on his cheekbone – I’d feared seeing exposed optic nerves.
Still, between the tumble and the dripping blood, he was upset. We don’t have a lot of oozing accidents in our house. Plenty of busted butts and bonked heads, but little bloodshed. So Little Guy wept as I cuddled and rocked him.
About an hour later, Big Guy came up with a tragically stubbed toe. He got a not entirely merited Band-Aid, a cuddle and a kiss, and it was all better.
Problem is, everyone keeps asking about Little Guy’s eye. You can’t help but notice. That shiner could cut through a December valley fog. People start humming the theme from “Rocky” when they see him.
Tonight, we were out on a walk and ran into one of Big Guy’s favorite people. Who, of course, asked what happened to Little Guy. I’d like to say I saw the drama coming then, but I’m really not that perceptive.
Two hours later, I was racking my brains trying to figure out a happy ending. Maybe I should have just gotten the blamed Band-Aid and been done with it. That didn’t seem right, though. Unlike the over-hyped stubbed toe, there was nothing at all wrong this time.
Big Guy’s fake wailing grew and grew – he can’t quit summon tears on command, but give him a few months. Finally, I did an exaggerated eye roll. Not exactly the epitome of sympathetic maternal love, but this was pure theater. He knew it, and he needed to know that I knew it.
His glimmer of a grin must have been similar to Missy’s expression all those years ago. Busted! Curtain closed.
I’m going to feel like crud, though, if gangrene sets in overnight.
Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.