The other night I was watching television and eating a chocolate orange when a commercial for the ASPCA came on. You know the kind of commercial I’m talking about: the kind that show three-legged dogs looking all pathetic against a backdrop of sad-sounding Sarah McLaughlin music. Normally when these commercials come on, I get teary-eyed, but on this occasion I was particularly sensitive, and I bawled. Like, try-to-hold-it-in-then-you-remember-you-live-alone-and-don’t-care-how-ugly-you-look-when-you-cry kind of sobs. But mere gut-wrenching sobs weren’t enough. I also had the urge to hold my dog, as if that simple embrace could somehow cross space and time and magically heal the abused animals and transport them into forever homes. So I picked up Ava, who was dozing on my lap, and cried into the back of her neck. Having been woken up, she was understandably all, “What the hell?!” but she knew it was futile trying to escape. I had her in a vice grip. Resignedly, she lay still while I wept into her fur, probably wondering when she could return to her nap.
Here’s thing: while all this was going on, I was still SHOVING FISTFULS OF CHOCOLATE ORANGE INTO MY SLOBBERING, BLUBBERING, PIE-HOLE. It’s like I was sad, but not so sad to where I still couldn’t enjoy a chocolaty treat while weeping for abused animals everywhere. So there I was, Ava in one hand, chocolate orange in the other, alternating between burying my face in my dog’s hair and raising my head to gobble up another slice, trying not to choke on it between my sobs. I learned an important thing about myself that night. Apparently tragedy, not even heinous tragedy like animal abuse, can keep me from enjoying chocolate.
It’s times like this where I am glad I live alone. I don’t know if I could have done that in front of another human being and still retained any dignity.