Refusing to learn any of life’s lessons


The truth be told, I’m not a very smart man.

Over the years, I’ve learned that a person’s true intelligence has little to do with how much information on history or the arts an individual has been able to retain over the years, and more to do with how a person reacts to the situations before him or her, and how that person learns from past mistakes or transgressions. When grading one’s intelligence based on that model, I score somewhere between a piece of drywall and Paris Hilton — and I’m not going to tell you which one is ranked higher.

I recently got another puppy.

It was only last summer that my world was rocked when a pug puppy named Bailey stormed into my house and life, and left her figurative and literal mark with a trail of urine and chewed furniture throughout Casa McCann. I was ill-prepared for the onslaught of Bailey at that time, and promised myself that would never happen again.

And here’s where my stupidy took full flight.

I brought a chunky, wrinkled Shar-Pei named Guinness into the home this past weekend. She’s a beautiful dog, loves to play and be held, and absolutely adores Bailey. It’s unbelievably cute to watch Guinness shake her tail and start hopping around whenever Bailey gets close to her, and you can’t help but smile when you watch her follow Bailey around the back yard like a little sibling trying to hang out with the cool older kids.

The only problem is that Bailey is not so keen on this new addition to the family.

See, Bailey has become accustomed to being the reigning princess of the house. She’s been held whenever someone is home, has enjoyed her own little corner of the world in which to eat and drink and she pretty much does whatever she feels like doing. That’s all changed with the addition of Guinness. Now she can’t go anywhere without being nipped at by this saggy little bundle of joy, and the 100 percent attention she received before has been cut in half. I’ll give you a little example of what I’m talking about.

Mornings have become routine for Bailey and myself. I wake up, let her out for some quality potty time and fill her water and food bowl. She then follows me back upstairs and lies down on my feet while I shave, and then musters up the energy to crawl 4 feet to the shower, where she lies down against the outside of the tub while I scrub some deadline residue off me.

I came up with the brilliant idea the other morning of bringing Guinness upstairs with us while I got ready. Have I already said that I’m not a very smart person?

Bailey settled right into her routine of lying on my feet while I shaved. This worked out great ... right up to the point when Guinness thought it would be a good idea to walk up and bite Bailey’s tail and send the Wonder Pug into a frenzy — a chain of events that culminated in a rather gruesome result for the half-asleep newspaper editor holding the razor blade close to his face.

You know, the flow of words that can come out of a man’s mouth after two small dogs nearly kill him in his bathrobe is astounding. I happen to know that there was a slew of profanity, a near-backhand to a puppy and a little crying for my mommy coming out of my mouth, but the rest of the sounds were a hodgepodge of strange whistles and grunts. It was very similar to Darren McGavin’s rants in the classic film “Christmas Story.” Remember that part where him and Ralphie were changing the tire, and the lug nut got flipped into the air and ...

But I digress.

After tending to my wounds and assuring Guinness that I wasn’t really going to Fed-Ex her to Afghanistan after breakfast, I climbed into the shower. I peeked out and saw Bailey curled up on the little rug outside the shower, and Guinness was chewing on a toy on the other side of the room. All seemed well in the world.

Until I got out of the shower.

There before me was a mess like I had never seen before. How long was I in there, I thought to myself.

Trash was strewn across the floor, as were the clothes I had hung up on a hook to wear that day. The rug that Bailey had been innocently napping on was now in a pile on the opposite side of the room and Bailey herself was sitting still in the corner, rocking back and forth and mumbling something about evil forces trying to rip our lives apart.

Meanwhile, Guinness was lying on her back, paws up in the air and an empty toilet paper roll next to her head.

Why did I do this? I remember the nightmare that was Bailey when she was a little puppy. Heck, I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, drowning in my own sweat, when those memories push the Malaysian bikini team out of my dreams. Am I really dumb enough to go through all this again?

Yup.