As Big Ben and I walked along the river's boardwalk recently, I caught a glimpse of a little girl waving and pointing in our direction. She had just come out of the ice cream parlor and gripped her overflowing waffle cone tightly with both hands. Smart girl.
"Hey!" she shouted between licks of her Blue Moon. Not the flavor I would have picked, but since she was about six years-old, I cut her some slack.
"Hey" I waved as I approached. I didn't recognize her, but little kids often get a kick out of Big Ben. Her blue lips were moving as if she was talking to me, so I stopped and pulled out my earbuds.
She turned to her mom, giggled, and then a little louder said, "Mama, she looks like her dog, doesn't she? Doesn't she?"
The smattering of mid-day ice cream-eaters turned and stared.
I looked left and then right, but most unfortunately, I was the only person present with a dog.
Dumbfounded, I managed to say "I look like my dog? Really?"
Dear reader, I must note that I was wearing earth tones.
The little girl continued, "Yeah, you've got that white streak in the part of your hair. You know, where it's a different color from the rest of your hair. And it's all dark and stuff around your eyes."
Seriously? No mention of the earth tones?
"And you both have those big white arms. And--"
I looked at Ben's arms. I looked at mine. He wasn't wearing nail polish. Hardly the same.
I wanted to get out of there. I wanted to run, but Big Ben and I don't really do that running thing.
The girl's mother laughed nervously, "Honey, stop."
"See Mom? They both have big cheeks, too. See their big cheeks?"
The mom put her hand on her hip. She looked like she was about to mean business. But--
"And BOTH of their big cheeks droop. They droop, Mom! They drooooooop!"
Big Ben's tail wagged as the devil-child spit sticky, blue venom on his snout.
"Babe" is not the term I had in mind.
In any event, it was a life-changing moment.
After that day I knew exactly what to do in light of the fact we end up looking like our dogs.
Dear reader, you may think I went on a diet or brought home Jenny Craig.
I got a new dog.
Meet sleek-cheeked Olive, 30 pounds soaking wet.