When my daughter Casey was around five years old, my wife Barbara was going out for the evening, and I had a project I needed to finish, so Barb rented a movie (on something called “videotape”) for Casey to watch.
- She really didn’t like me very much.
- She was getting even with me for a practical joke I had once played on her involving a Baby Ruth bar and a toilet bowl.
- She was interested in improving my parenting skills.
- She had never seen Old Yeller.
Obviously, I hadn’t seen Old Yeller either, otherwise I would have opted for the 147th encore showing of Pinocchio. For those of you who have seen Old Yeller, you are probably nodding knowingly now because you have a pretty good idea where this little story is going. For those of you unfamiliar with the classic film, let me tell you that…
…the friggin’ dog dies!
I saw Saving Mr. Banks, and I enjoyed the film, but I have to say it was very dishonest in its portrayal of Walt Disney. It doesn’t even hint at the sadistic nature of a man who would kill off the main dog in a kid’s movie.
I was down the hall when it happened, typing away on a direct mail letter (that’s my day job), when the death occurred. The canine catastrophe was marked by the sort of unholy screech you might associate with a multi-car collision on the highway. You wouldn’t have thought a 5-year-old girl would be capable of such a sound.
By the time I got to her, she was in full “silent cry” mode, which was when she’d be going through all the motions of being hysterical, but could not gather enough oxygen to actually make sounds come out. Of course, being, as I was, uninformed as to the content of the movie, I naturally assumed that my daughter was suffering from an appendicitis attack, or else had been struck by rare indoor lightning.
I tried to calm her down, or at least get her to breathe, so she could tell me what was wrong. Finally, she moved on to the hiccuppy sob stage of grief, and managed to get out the words, “He died.”
“Who died, honey?”
“Old Yeller!” This evidently sparked the long-ago memory of the dog’s death two minutes earlier, and Casey reverted to the screeching stage, followed by the uncontrollable wet tears stage, which she kindly shared by resting her head on my chest so that I could feel as though I was somehow sweating from the outside.
I am not exaggerating when I say this went on for hours.
I bring up this sad tale now because Casey, who is 27 and engaged to be married, recently brought to my attention a website that could only have been created by someone who has gone through this same experience. It is one of those sites that is marvelously single-minded, like www.isitajewishholidaytoday.com, which I’ve previously mentioned in this blog (it does absolutely nothing but answer the question in its name).
Casey sent me this particular site, I think, to gloat. It was her way of saying to me, “Hey, look what they’ve come up with now that I’m getting married and will have babies at some time in the future.”
The site is called Does the Doggie Die?
It is nothing more than a list of movies with symbols next to them. A happy dog icon means no pets get hurt. A sad dog means a pet gets hurt but ultimately survives. A crying dog means a pet dies. A man with a headache means he didn’t visit this site before letting his kid watch a movie.
Trust me–doesthedoggiedie.com is as essential a parenting tool as a nursery room monitor.
See you soon.
P.S. This post is actually an excerpt from my new book, Kids Are Dumb; Parents Are Dumber, now available in paperback and ebook.*
*No, I’m not going to turn this blog into an ongoing ad for my hilarious book, Kids Are Dumb; Parents Are Dumber, which, by the way, would make a fabulous Father’s Day gift.