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Archive for August, 2006

August 28, 2006 Edition

Monday, August 28th, 2006

Hi Max,

My mom really likes buying t-shirts… which is nice, they look good on her, but she has a LOT of them, and we could really use a nice new tv for the apartment, or save for a pet daycare fund…. is there anything I can do????

P.S. I am not a dog, I am a fish.


Dear Eddie,

You’re a fish? And you want daycare? I though you guys were self-sufficient. That’s why people have you!

This question is really an analogy for relationships of all kinds. To wit, most arguments revolve around money. You want a TV and a trip to the fishy spa. She wants to adorn herself in an endless stream of mid-priced fashion. I’m curious why you’re so intent on getting a new TV. After all, isn’t your view of the outside world distorted? Maybe the more valuable addition to the apartment would be another fish? (Preferably not a predator of yours.) Now that’s some fun. The two of you aimlessly circling, endlessly seeking a way out…encountering the same rock formation and plastic diver thousands of times a day, and straining your little fish memory with the question, “Where have I seen that guy before?”

My advice: have her try a compromise: Daycare for you on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And she goes topless Tuesday, Thursday and weekends. Let me know weather that floats.

Hey Max:

My cousin’s shih-tsu, Chanel, turns 15 on Tuesday. What should I get her for a present? I can’t get her a car until next year!

PS Your mom’s book is awesome!

No Gift Registery

Dear N.G.R.:

I have the perfect source for the answer to your question. My own dear sister, Chelsea, who turned 15 this year. Wait a second, and I’ll ask her what she wants most in this world…

(long pause)

Well, I’m not sure it’s practical for you to buy her “me being run over by a garbage truck” so let’s consider alternatives.

Dear Max:

My dad wears denim shorts. Is that ever OK and why must I endure this humiliation?


Dear Sparky:

You might as well ask, “Is it okay for birds to fly, fish to swim or Michael Jackson to play ‘find the hot dog’ with an 11-year-old boy.”

Dads have been wearing vexing and inappropriate attire since the first invertebrate ran into his dad in a salt pool and said, “Thank god we’re not sighted beings yet, because that thin film of slime you’re wearing is so 50 million years ago.”

But denim has a long and celebrated history of being out of place. In fact, denim is precisely what most establishments mean to exclude when they say “Proper attire required.” Your dad is making a common mistake of assuming that what looks great hugging the derriere of a 19-year-old girl works equally well draped reluctantly around the buttocks of a grown man. In fact, most things that look great hugging the derriere of a 19-year-old girl wouldn’t be caught dead draped around the buttocks of a grown man.

The bottom line: his denim shorts need to join his trucker caps and Restoration Hardware Parisian lounge chair on the ash heap of fashion’s ignominious past. Unless he paid a lot for them. That seems to redeem an awful lot of sins when it comes to the garment biz.

Since you loved my mom’s book so much, I’d suggest picking her up a copy of Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere.

But then she’d have to be the first dog who could read. And we know that’s not possible. Dogs don’t read. Because we’re too sensitive. We decided long ago that it’s better to feign illiteracy than to try to keep up with the daily hash of Branjelina, Vaughnistan, and Suri sightings. All reading ever does for humans is bring them news of parking tickets, high saturated fat content in their favorite foods, and drug interaction warnings on their favorite narcotics.

So, stick with a gift certificate to your favorite pet store. Have her pick out whatever she likes and escape the humiliation of having her react with joy and surprise when she opens your gift and then returns it a week later in disgust.

August 19, 2006 Edition

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Hi Max,

My name is Bailey and I am a 4 year old Lhasa Apso. I am usually a very good boy but I have a problem. Every time my mommy buys me toys, I tear them up, get the squeaker out and leave all the stuffing all over the room. Then, I have nothing to play with. I don’t mean to be a bad boy…….but I can’t help it. Can you help me????? (I also growl if anyone tries to take my toy while I am demolishing it)

Bailey Magoo

Dear Bailey Magoo,

This puts me in mind of Mr. Magoo, who was nearly blind and always wandering into disaster’s front yard (if not actually going inside and having a meal). But you’re not blind. In fact, you’re as perceptive as Max himself. For I too can’t resist killing the stuffed goose that made the golden squeak. And no wonder: that damn thing is enough to drive anyone crazy! *squeak squeak squeak* SHUT UP! It’s maddening. You’re not being bad. You’re being you. You’re a guard dog in miniature from way back. It’s in your nature to tear things up. When humans hear a squeak, they oil it up, wedge a shim into the floor boards, break in the shoe. If we had access to WD-40, we might leave our toys alone. The incoherent growling when you’re hopped up on squeaky-toy is the one thing I’d work on. Look how much trouble it’s brought Mel Gibson.

Hey Max:

My Mommy likes to feed me cherries a lot. Is it ok or are they bad for me?

Are Cherries Deadly

Dear D.C.:

I have heard rumors — though I warn you that I’m no expert on eating things I shouldn’t – that cherries are what the Greek dramatists called cathartic. In Dogamemnon, Oedipus gouges out his own eyes after discovering his mother — his *mother* — served him a bad batch of Mt Rainier cherries. And what comes next is the pits. This also falls into the category of anthropomorphism, another big literary concept from before I was born. That means imparting human qualities to non-humans – such as a taste for cherries and other human food, or putting clothes on pets. Leave us to the dog chow, the Alpo, and the furry nudity.

Dear Max:

every night around 9:30-10:00 my mommy always wraps me in my baby blanket and carries me to bed, which i enjoy very much. but lately she’s been staying up till midnight and i have to go upstairs and put myself to bed! the first few nights i tried sitting at the top of the stairs and crying until she came to bed with me, but now she just says “what my baby” and then ignores me! this is unexceptable (sic)!!! doesn’t she know that i’m a busy pup and need my sleepies but can’t go to sleepies without my mommy tucking me in??? how do i get her to go to bed when I want to go to bed?

very sleepy fluff

Dear Fluff:

You’re clearly young and tired — I’m guessing that explains your inability to capitalize words. Q: Why did the nun take Ambien? A: Because the ad said it could be habit forming. Either that or she was plagued by the abiding injustice in so many realms of human endeavor and experience, and therefore unable to sleep. But that can’t be your problem. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but like the Olsen twins, you’re growing up. There are compensations as you head into adolescence: sexual curiosity, use of the car, talking back, acne. (Not necessarily in that order – save the talking back until after you don’t get the car.) Then, you make your own hours, go off to NYU, learn a little something about who you really are, and write a paper on the American Revolution that essentially blames the colonies. Next, not long after your dorm band falls apart (no drummer or bassist), it’s into the work world, maybe $42K and a basement apartment in Brooklyn that you share with 1 old roommate and 2 people you don’t know or care for. 45 years of bouncing around in go-nowhere jobs, 20 or so years of life in retirement, and then you’re back to people wrapping you in a blanky and putting you to bed. My advice – put yourself to bed whenever you feel the need, bask in the glow of growing up, and find a place to pay rent other than New York.

Or grow up *fast* — order my Mom’s new book, Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere. It won’t make you more mature, but you’ll be able to hold your own at parties when someone asks, “Read any good books lately?”

August 3, 2006 Edition

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

Dear Max,

OK…so, I’m seeing this guy. At this point, I’m pretty sure he’s into me, but he hasn’t made a move on me in any way, shape, or form. Grrr. And, wouldn’t you know it, I HATE making the first move because I feel like I’ll make a mess of things! What do I do?

East Coast Lost Cause

Dear E.C.L.C.,

Sister, you’re talking my language. Especially the “Grrr” part. I don’t know why humans are so enamored of wanting people to “make moves.” My mommy’s best friend moved to New Jersey and since then nothing’s been the same. It’s also common knowledge that people hate to help their friends move, what with all the heavy lifting. So my question back to you would be: if he makes this move, how “flighty” are you? Because movers are always asking how many flights, and charging more for three flights and above.

Funny thing is, I received the same exact question from a guy! Think it’s your boy? Could be. You humans waste so much valuable time wondering and debating. I bet he is afraid to make a move for much the same reasons. You should take a cue from us dogs. Don’t think at all. Just give it a good sniff, wag your tail and hope nobody gets bit. (At least not too hard.)

If you were in 3rd grade you could just pass him a note in Social Studies class, ask him if he likes you and have him check the appropriate box. I say just text him on his Treo and see what he says. You can’t actually draw the box but the __ (shift key plus dash) will work in a pinch. Or sniff and wag. Your call.

In the meantime, you should order my Mom’s new book, Stupid and Contagious, available now through amazon.com (click here), bn.com, and fine booksellers everywhere. I’m not sure that will help you, but it may help me, so we’ll call it even.

Ciao Max:

This is Bianca here! How are you? I ordered your Mom’s book on Amazon and am waiting for it to arrive. I’m very excited to read it!

So, my question is this: Why do American girls wear flip flops everywhere?



Dear Bianca:

Currently it’s 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.33 Celsius to you, my Italian friend) and people are wearing as few clothing items as they can. Nobody likes a sweaty foot, right? Blegh! So, in come the Flops. Flip Flops are stripped-down versions of footwear, like an accoustic number from your favorite band. “Manolo Unplugged,” if you will. Who doesn’t like to groove to a mellow version of a favorite song? There’s a theory that there are no new stories. Just new ways of telling them. Same goes for shoes: Flops were not born of American tradition but they’ve been around for a long time. We saw loads of happy Hawaiians running all over paradise in these simple skips, so we bought the whole state, just to score the flops.(Pretty good deal, and you know Americans LOVE a good clearance sale.) So we got the flops from the Hawaiians who’d bogarted them from the Japanese originally. Millions of happy, cool American tootsies followed.

But there are more practical applications too. God knows my sweet momma loves her some shoes. I calculate 35 pairs of shoes in her closet for every one embarrassing Max outfit in mine. A lot of them are Italian, just like you. But, in a pinch, when nature calls and I HAVE to be outside for some impending business, who has the time for Prada slingbacks? She can toss on the flops and we’re on the street in mere seconds, thus avoiding possible “accidents” in the elevator.

In conclusion as Jimmy Buffet reported from that same paradise, “Blew out my flip flop, stepped on a pop top, cut my heel, had to cruise on back home.” In short, without our flip-flops, we’re defenseless. So until someone comes up with a better idea for footwear/armor we’ll be flopping through life.

p.s. Thanks for ordering my mom’s book! You have excellent taste.

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