Boy, do dogs ever have it made — no bills to pay, cards to write, beds to make — wait a dog-gone minute. They do make beds. In fact, they’re quite precise about that process. It’s not that they’re particular about location — the living room rug or hard maple floor, cold porch or even a dog-lover’s plush bed — but wherever it is, the ritual of circling three times before lying down is very important to them. And that’s it. Dogs’re smart enough to keep things simple.
Reminds me of the last time Betsy asked me to help her make our bed. Before I proceed, I’ll say that there’s no better homemaker than my good wife, but in spite of her fastidiousness, there’s one simple detail she left out. Here’s my story:
The other day, I helped her make our bed even though, left to my own devices, I’d pick a place, circle three times, and flop. She insists there be both top and bottom sheets, the bottom being a nasty thing called “fitted.” I say nasty because its corners are elastic and rounded. Because of this, it’s impossible to fold into a neat square “bundle” (fine with me, I don’t believe in folding, anyway), and since the mattress is square, it’s a bit of a “round peg in square hole” situation. On that day, she handed me a piece of the offending thing and we grasped it as best we could. Betsy, the director, beckoned me to her opposing mattress corner and I stretched against the corner she had already tucked in ... no dice. Think putting a 16-inch tire on a 17-inch rim or the wrong Tupperware top on the wrong bottom.
As much as possible, we turned the thing 90 degrees. Still no dice. All the while our gentle Lab, Fern, lay on a rug close by looking at us through sleepy eyes that seemingly said, “Silly people ... tsk, tsk, tsk.” Finally, after trying to decipher a tag with sheet-colored, faded lettering, we guessed that it was a double bed size and our mattress was queen size ... again, think wrong tires and Tupperware.
Now to the thing Betsy left out: a laundry marker, of course. Oh, to have had clear, legible markings that indicated size and orientation on that awful thing. But did we mark it? Heck, no. We just folded it (crumpled it, in my esteemed opinion) and put it back in the drawer to surely perform the same ritual next time. That’s another place dogs have it all over us: they’re capable of learning, you know, “lie,” “sit,” “shake,” simple tasks like that.
In trying to bring my rant to a resolve, I “Googled” fitted sheets to find out who in God’s name invented them. Well, don’t’cha know, there were hundreds of folks there glad enough to sell ‘em to me but not a single clue about that flawed “fitted” inventor. Nope, guess I’ll never know. In the meantime, think I’ll just run out in the yard and circle three times ... much more productive than workin’ with a fitted sheet.
Burr Morse lives in East Montpelier.