Wednesday, November 18, 2009

She's Gone Rogue

On Monday, I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to the sound of a dog barking outside. I was amazed to discover that it was my own dog, Roma, who had spent a cold and rainy night on the back porch. I had no idea that she was out there. She made no efforts to come inside, such as scratching at the patio door, which is mere feet from my bed. And what did the other one do? Nothing. Muzzy snuggled in her bed next to the curtained window, just inches awy from her elder sibling. 

Let me be clear that Roma is in no way a yard dog. She sleeps inside in a fluffy bed just like the rest of us. But this morning, she was not even interested in crossing the threshold. She'd gone rogue, man. She was living the Husky life—outside, facing the elements of wind and the rain, not needing nobody, nohow. She scorned me. She turned her back on my requests for hugs. She stamped her paws in the cool morning dampness and snorted like a wild beast. She all but thumped on her chest and hooted "Booyah!".

Later that morning, after I had made amends by walking, feeding, and acting contrite, Roma did come inside, and I sat down to read the New York Times online, which included a review of Sarah Palin's new book, Going Rogue. It made me smile to discover that the planet's least articulate woman actually "wrote" (she had help from a ghost writer) a book in which she bashes the very party that brought her to national prominence. The reviewer kindly provided a quotation from the opening pages, which I must share with you:
“I breathed in an autumn bouquet that combined everything small-town America with rugged splashes of the Last Frontier.”
Who doesn't love the roguish smell of small-town America? Yum. I love it and the quote. My point here is not political; I just want to point out the ridiculousness of the pride attached to the "going rogue" label. 

First of all, a glance at a any dictionary will tell you that a rogue is someone who is unprincipled and dishonest, one who acts in an unpredictable and unpleasant way. (In the world of horticulture, a rogue seed is inferior, defective.) Does anyone really want to be seen this way—especially a politician who might potentially lead the nation? Secondly, Palin, like my Roma, is roguish only in the sense that we let her think she is. Roma could no more live the life of a yard dog without her daily doses of glucosamine, Omega 3s, anti-inflammatories, smooches, and Dog Park walks than she could live on the moon. She is fairly well kept, as Palin is after nailing a multimillion dollar book deal, thank you very much. The pretense of roguishness is nonsense. 

Here's a quotation from Palin that ends the review. Again, it made me think of my girl:
"As every Iditarod musher knows, if you're not the lead dog, the view never changes." 
As someone who has spent thirteen years of daily walks staring at that view, I have to say, it's not that bad.  What's more, if the lead dog is a nutjob who can't string three words together in a logical fashion, then I'm not much interested in following anyway. Fortunately, Roma knows where she is going—back inside to sleep in the morning sun.


  1. Best. Blog post. Ever.

    If Sarah Palin ever becomes lead dog, I'm going to have to move as far from her rugged splashes as possible.


  2. For the record: I have not read Going Rogue, nor do I have any intention of doing so. I have enough political non-fiction to keep up with to waste any of my time on fiction. That is the reason I never read Gore Vidal's historical novel on Abraham Lincoln. What's the point when there are so many great biographies? Besides, it's been quoted and dissected enough in the last twenty-four hours, I'm able to draw a couple of conclusions.

    One such conclusion that is unavoidable is the woman's jaw-dropping shallowness. When telling the story of how she was confronted at one point with news reports that she and her husband Todd were going to divorce, one would think (indeed one would hope) that she would offer for the reader's contemplation a heartfelt description of her abiding love for her husband; how their union could not be tossed aside like some disposable camera - that she and Todd took their wedding vows seriously. No, there was none of that....

    "Dang, I thought. Divorce Todd? Have you SEEN Todd???"

    Thirteen years into their marriage, Eleanor Roosevelt was confronted with her husband's affair with her social secretary (and distant relative of mine - I come from a long line of home wreckers) Lucy Paige Mercer. After contemplating divorce, it was decided that they would continue their union. Years later, she confided to her friend, Joesph Lash, the reasons for saving their marriage. They were many and complicated. This, I can assure you, was not one of them:

    "Dang, I thought. Divorce Franklin? Have you SEEN Franklin???"

    Tom Degan

    Goshen, NY


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