Sunday, September 27, 2009


Dear George,


Remember how I was saying I wanted to be a standup comedian.  Well, so far my career is going along very well.  At first I was contacting the local comedy clubs, but the economy is so bad that hundreds of furloughed people are trying to become comedians, and I couldn’t even get on the waiting list.  So now I go down the street and do my gig on the corner outside of Graeter’s ice cream parlor.  There’s a lot of pedestrian traffic there, so it’s an excellent place.  I share space with the sax player and the homeless guy selling newspapers.  I bring Mike and Duffy along, and they go to sleep at my feet which definitely adds to the authenticity of my stories.  I wouldn’t say that anybody has actually stopped to listen to my routine yet, but most people hear at least one joke as they’re passing by, and one old guy laughed out loud last Tuesday.  Here’s what I currently tell them.  See what you think.


Thanks for coming by, folks.  I really appreciate your attention.  These are my sheepdogs, Mike and Duffy (point to dogs at my feet). As you can see, they are very handsome.  What you don’t know, though, is these dogs have an amazing capacity.  They can actually speak perfect English.  Of course, I’ve asked them not to interrupt me while I’m talking today.  And they’re so smart that they won’t even utter a word.  But if you stick around till the end, I’ll wake them up and you can try asking them a question. 


My sister-in-law Ami got very excited when we told her that the sheepdogs could talk, and she came from New York to stay with us.  When she arrived, we told her she would hear Mike and Duffy talk any time.   Each morning she greeted them, “Good morning, sweet doggies.  What do you have to say today?”  But the dogs never said a thing.  This went on for days and days.  Finally Ami concluded that we must have imagined the dogs were talking, and she walked right past the dogs without her usual morning greeting.  Mike just stared at her and then he blurted out, “Well, what’s the matter with you today, Miss Hoity Toity?”


Ami and Katja decided to have a party so we could show the guests how smart the dogs are.  When everybody had arrived, Katja called Duffy into the room and, at her command, he stood on his back legs, put his paws on her shoulders, smooched her on the cheek, and pressed his body against her chest.  Everybody applauded except this tall, dark, handsome guy at the back of the room.  “What’s so great about that?” he said.  “Anybody could do that.  “Oh yeah,” I said to the guy, “would you like to try it?”  “Sure I would,” the guy said.  “But first get that sheepdog out of here.”


Katja got pretty embarassed, but, after she recovered, she brought Mikey in and took him over to the piano.  Mike jumped up on the piano bench and began playing a complicated Bach sonata.  The tall handsome guy by that time had had too much to drink, and he started talking loudly during Mike’s performance.  Mike growled at him and then backed him into the corner.  “Don’t worry,” Katja reassured the frightened guest, “his Bach is worse than his bite.”


We like to walk the dogs around the neighborhood.  Everybody in Clifton knows them, and the dogs enjoy the attention.  Whenever we take them down the street, they start running circles around us.  They nip at our heels and bark and nudge us to go this way and that.  We’ve always been baffled about this unusual behavior.  Finally one of our dog-wise neighbors explained what it means: “You always herd the ones you love.”


Recently we were walking home on Ludlow Avenue. Duffy stopped to sniff at the base of a telephone pole outside the new Ace Hardware store.  It seemed like he was taking forever.  Finally Katja started tugging at his leash. “Let’s go, Duffy!  Come on!  Let’s go!”  “Wait a minute,” Duffy said, “it takes me time to check my p-mail.”


Now that the dogs are older, they’re allowed to go out by themselves.  The other day Duffy went over to the US Bank and went up to a teller. He could see from her name plate that she is called Patricia Wack, so he said "Ms. Wack, I'd like to borrow $30,000, please."  The teller asked for his name and he replied that he is Duffy Jagger, son of Mick Jagger, and a personal friend of the bank president. Unconvinced, Ms. Wack explained she would need some identity and also some security against his loan. Duffy produced a tiny pink porcelain elephant and handed it to her.  The confused teller said she would have to consult with her manager. 'There's a dog called Duffy Jagger at the counter who wants to borrow $30,000," she told her boss. "And what do you think this pink elephant is about?"  The manager looked back at her and said, "It's a knick-knack, Patti Wack, give the dog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone.' 


Sometimes the dogs get carried away with themselves.  Mikey was walking down Ludlow Avenue the other day, claiming to everyone he encountered that he is the most powerful dog in all of Cincinnati.  He met a Chihuahua at the corner of Middleton and said, “Who is the mightiest dog?”  The poor scared Chihuahua said, “You are.”  Mikey got to Ormond St. and saw a cocker spaniel?  “Who is the mightiest dog in Cincinnati?”  The cocker spaniel trembled and said, “You definitely are”.  At Telford St. Mikey asked the same question of a schnauzer, and he got the same answer.  Finally he encountered a Great Dane at Clifton Avenue.  “Who is the mightiest of all?” he boasted.  The Great Dane picked Mike up by the scruff of his neck, shook him back and forth, and tossed him in a heap in the gutter.  Mike slowly picked himself up and said, “You don’t have to get so mad just because you don’t know the answer.”


I took Mike to the vet a few weeks ago.   I told her, "His ears are itchy, is there anything you can do for him?"  "Well," said the vet, "let’s have a look." So she picked Mike up and had a good look in one ear and then the other.  "Hmm," said the vet, "I'm going to have to put him down."  My heart sank into my stomach.  "Oh no!” I said, “just because his ears are itching?"  “No,” the vet said, “because he’s so heavy.”


Then a week later Duffy had to go to the vet.  He was having such a bad problem with gas that we could barely sleep in the same room with him.  I told the vet about it and said, “Every time Duffy passes wind, he makes this weird sound: ‘honda, honda, honda.”  The vet thought about it, scrunched up her face, and finally said, “I think I know what it is.”  She opened Duffy’s mouth and peered inside.  “Aha,” she said, “my theory is correct!”  “What is it?” I asked.  The vet showed me a large abscess in the back of Duffy’s mouth, running along the back molars.  “Well, what is your theory?” I asked.  The vet explained, “Abscess makes the fart go ‘honda’.”


We decided that the dogs are having all these problems from leading too confined a city life.  So we tried sending them out to Montana to work on a sheep ranch.  They were doing really well at first.  But one day they were tending their flock on the open range when this grizzled old cowboy rode up.  He started yelling at them.  “You sheepdogs are so weird looking!  Your hair covers your face, your legs are bowed, your coats are matted, and you just have a little stump where your tail should be!”  Then he just rode off into the sunset.  Mike and Duffy stared at one another.  Finally Duffy said, “I think we just heard a discouraging word.” 


The other day we ran into some neighborhood kids on the street, and they said, “Would you like to hear the latest sheepdog knock knock jokes.”  “Sure,” we said, and it went something like this:


Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Mikey who?

Mikey is stuck in the lock – please open the door for me.


Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Duffy who?

Duffy will be two bucks if I open that door for you.


Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Juicy who?

Juicy where those sheepdogs went?


Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Athena who?

Athena sheepdog down the block.


Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Ice cream soda.

Ice cream soda who?

Ice cream soda sheepdogs will hear me.


Knock knock.

Who’s there?


Emma who?

Emma very glad to see you doggies come home.


Knock knock.

Who’s there.


Holden who?

Holden Glish Sheepdogs – how could life be better than this?


Thanks a lot, all you Ludlow Avenue people.  You’re the greatest audience there is!  (Dogs wake up and look confused.)




G-Mail Comments

Ami G (9-27):  I’m speechless!

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