Sunday, June 8, 2008
"Face" Your Fears
When I was a wee lesbian of four, my older wiser five year old friend, Satan, dared me to pet a neighborhood stray dog that was busily eating a bone. It was a black retriever mix, and we had always had dogs and I had no reason to fear this one. I reached my hand out toward the dog, and faster than you could say "years of therapy" that dog was attached to my face, by it's teeth. To my bottom lip to be exact, and it did not want to let go. I thought to myself, what should a four-year-old do in the situation? So I let out a blood-curdling scream. Kimmy, the evil five year-old ran towards my house, yelling for my mom. We were in the neighbors yard raiding his rhubarb prior to the dare.
My mom came running out in her robe with her hair up in curlers, swinging a broom, and bellowing some kind of sadistic war cry as she pummeled the animal into releasing me and getting the hell out of Dodge. I could not have been more embarrassed, but since I was in dyer need of saving, I decided not to make a big deal out of it at the time. She ran to the Kimmy's house with me in her arms. I had hopes of revenge in my tear filled eyes, but instead a wet wash cloth was jammed into my mouth, and Kimmy's Dad was frantically driving us somewhere while my mother said things like, "What happened? No, don't talk!" We got turned away from a couple places before finding a doctor willing to stitch me up. Even then, doctors were afraid of law suits and facial stitchery was a dangerous area for them.
I told you that so I could tell you this. I love animals, I've always had dogs and would risk my life to save one, even one I don't know, but if a dog is acting aggressively towards me, I get scared.
When I was in high school I had a friend named Sally. Sally was cool, she played the guitar, she was gay, in fact you could say she was the Melissa Etheridge of our neighborhood. She had a dog. A large German Shepard named Bear. Bear was always on a chain in the side yard. Every time a group of us would walk past Bear, everyone would greet him, "Hi Bear." they'd all say walking by while he sat and watched the line of girls pass, but when it was my turn, the phrase wouldn't even be halfway out of my mouth, and he'd spring at me, held back by the chain, straining and growling and barking at me. I did not know what I'd done to offend him, but thanked the heavens for that chain.
One day I went to see Sally. I arrived, and went to the front door to knock. I was standing there after knocking and peeked around the corner to get a visual of Bear. He was not there, but he had to be...I knocked again, no answer I turned to go down the stairs and who came trotting around the corner to greet me? You guessed it. Bear, unfettered and larger than life. The second I saw him, I felt the rush of adrenaline course through me. I must've been beet red. I said to myself, this is it, I'm going to die now. I decided since I was surely about to be eaten alive, I'd let him start with my hand, so I held it out... as an appetizer. Bear sniffed it rather than digging right in, and then licked it. Slowly, I sat down on the step and began to pet him. We became friends, he never growled and barked at me again, what the hell was that about anyway?