About Obama's Dog. "As long as we're on the subject, though, why didn't anybody ask Obama whether Africa is a country or a continent?"
I think he knows the answer. Plus, I heard that story about Palin, and as much as I enjoy it, I don't believe it for a minute. That's just your usual post-campaign backstabbing.
By the time I got back to the office from President-elect Obama's first press conference on Friday, there were already three messages on my voicemail. The log indicated all the calls came from the same number, my home phone.
I wasn't surprised. I didn't even bother to listen to the messages before returning the call. My wife answered. I cut her off and demanded: Are you putting him up to this?
"Putting who up to what?" she said, feigning innocence, as if I didn't know that she would have been the one to dial the phone for him. There was barking in the background.
That's okay, I said. Put him on the line. I'll deal with this. A moment later, a familiar voice was growling into the phone: "So why didn't you ask him? You promised to ask him."
Look, Gilbert. I didn't make any promises. I said I'd ask him if I had the appropriate opportunity, and as it turned out, I didn't think the occasion was appropriate.
Ready to serve his country
"Well, that other columnist from your paper, the one with balls, she asked him a question about the dog, didn't she? Wouldn't that have been the perfect time to shout out a followup? There was your opening."
That's not how it works. He had a list of reporters from whom he was going to take questions. Shouting wasn't going to do any good, and anyhow, I don't shout at press conferences."
"Why not? You shout at me."
That's different. What was I supposed to ask him anyway?
"It's simple. You say: 'Mr. President, my dog Gilbert wants to know if Malia and Sasha would be interested in adopting him to take with you to the White House?'"
Just like that.
"Well, you might want to sell it a little, tell him something about me: how I'm very cute and loving, how I'm already housebroken and how at my age there's little chance I'd live out two full terms so that he wouldn't have to worry about what to do with me when he's out of office and there's nobody to take care of me."
But you're not dependably housebroken. That would be misleading.
"He's a politician. He'd understand. Plus, that White House is a big place. By the time he figured out which rug I'd designated for accidents, it'd be too late to change his mind. By then, the whole country would be in love with me."
So that's what this is about? You feel the need for a larger stage? You want more attention?
"No, I want the opportunity to serve my country. Duh? Of course, I want the attention. But you don't need to tell him that. Just tell him I'm looking for change. A change of scenery. He'd understand."
Better than a goldendoodle
You know I'd be happy to be rid of you, but you heard for yourself that one of the girls has allergies, and that they're thinking they need a hypo-allergenic dog. With the way you shed, that's not going to work.
"Hey, you've got allergies, and your kids have allergies, and I don't bother any of you, do I?"
That's not entirely clear.
"Somebody said they might be looking for one of those hybrid designer dogs, a goldendoodle, a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle. You can tell him how I'm a goldencocker, which is better."
You're a spaniel mutt, parentage unknown.
"I heard him say he'd prefer a mutt."
Okay, if you don't knock it off, I'm going to take you to that weird mass dog wedding over the weekend in Oak Park and marry you off to a horny chihuahua.
"Oh, no. Anything but that. Not the dog wedding. Isn't it enough that you had me neutered? Now you want to rob me of my dignity, too. Please, I'll drop the White House thing. Forget I ever mentioned it."
That's more like it.
Pit bull? Maybe not
"Yeah, I agree. Even a dumb pit bull would know better than that."