Im thinking that might be a cringe worthy word. You can almost not say it without grimacing. I had my dog neutered this week. I have this inflatable cone thing on him and he is still stoned. I took him to a discount place and it was a little like a fast food restaurant. The cattle call to bring them in was interesting. The dogs all trying to bark with dominance. The throaty barks turning to a whine as they are lead to the genitalia guillotine. They have the dogs come in one by one, and each one does the same thing. You are expected to return exactly on time. They give discharge instructions en masse. So, 30 of us standing around trying not to look guilty. We all know we have eliminated any chance of procreation in our pets. We have paid a masked person to yank off parts that each of us hold dear. Eye contact is help to a minimum. Each pet is brought out one by one. I am second to last. I was 2 minutes late and almost had to wear the cone of shame. Each pet came out. Each owner looked apologetic at their pet. The tech showed the owner the surgical site and a tattoo indicating the procedure. In her mind, I am sure, she screamed, “look at what you paid for! See this tattoo, it is the permanent mark of your shame.”
We are given the instructions. In the distance, there is high pitched barking and puppy horror as they realize they have no balls. I commented on the high pitched barking, no one got it. That or they didn’t realize how funny that is. Dexter G. Smalls (that’s my dog’s name) trotted out, ears folded back. He peed on the floor and flashed his tattoo like it was a naked mud flap woman. He trotted to the truck, jumped in and sat in his seat. I got in, started the car and started to drive home. As soon as we pulled out of the parking lot, he glanced back to make sure no one could see him, I assume, and whined the whole way home.
Ive spent the day pondering my life. Ive looked at the successes, like two wonderful children. Ive looked at my failures, like staying in a loveless marriage way to long. I spent time thinking about the last few years since the divorce. It has been some of the greatest ups and downs of my life. I was neutered by my ex. She made sure the kids despised me. She hid money, tried to starve me out. She pushed away my family from her and my kids. It was a brutal time for me. I had made serious mistakes. I had blown it, but no one deserves that. The friends and family we had, shied their eyes from me. They stopped talking to me. They said some of the most horrendous things. It was a game for her. She tried to sell my deceased mother’s wedding dress for one dollar. She then exposed my underside. “See this tattoo” I looked back and made sure no one could see and cried. I did it again today. I cried about the missing time. I cried about losing myself and not feeling like I was enough to get out rather than screw up the marriage. I cried because I couldn’t figure out how to defend myself. I dried thinking of friends that couldn’t stay. I cried. I also cried in celebration. I celebrated that I had kept moving forward. I cried because I stayed sober. I cried because I persevered. I cried because I never stooped to the mean and petty actions I thought about. I cried because I maintained my integrity. I cried because I never lied about my culpability.
Both Dexter and I will be ok. We just have to know that those testicles that we thought were so important don’t define us.