My Nephew’s dog, Cool, gets “fixed” tomorrow. One of the workers at the vet sure as shit didn’t help matters with her glib attitude.
My sister’s family got the dog as a pup from my nephew’s high school friend, whose own dog had her first and last litter.
Cool got his name the way all pets do, it just seemed to fit.
When they took Cool to get his first shots, the people at the Vet clinic said Cool needed to be neutered, and set up an appointment. At 13, my Nephew had long heard of the term, but being as Cool was his first pet that wasn’t a turtle, he had questions.
“Is it really necessary?” he asked.
His Mom, my sister, was put off by the Veterinary assistant who scoffed at the question as if my nephew was an idiot for asking, and she smugly replied, “Balls are for toys, not boys! Get him snipped!” The staff behind the counter smiled in approval. It was the slogan adorning posters in their waiting room.
I was over for dinner that night. It was the topic of conversation. After dinner, my Nephew was still talking about it and my sister’s patience was starting to wear. All day she’d answered every question he had as delicately and compassionately as possible – not how she wanted to spend her Saturday.
The dinner invitation was last minute and early into it I’d began to suss why I was invited. I do my best to be delicate and compassionate, but as my family knows, a Lack of Tact seems to be my super power.
My Nephew was gaining knowledge on his phone in regard to the procedure, but the ‘Net, as you’d expect, has multiple and conflicting answers to every damn story and they all present themselves as Gospel.
“Boys are neutered, girls are spayed.” he told me.
“That’s not quite right,” I said. “Neutered just means Not possessing generative organs. It works with boys or girls: You can’t make babies.”
Neph: “That’s not what they said at the Vet.”
Me: “Then don’t go back there. They’re uninformed nincompoops.”
My saying ‘Nincompoop’ always got a smile out of my nephew, but not tonight.
He scratched at his phone to verify what I told him, which I bless. I’ve always been clear to the kids in the family,
‘I won’t tell you everything, because everything isn’t your business, but I’ll never lie to you. That said, I’m only human and I can always be wrong. So check and correct me when I am.’
My Neph nodded at his phone. My definition of Neutered passed muster.
Neph (rather worried): “But he’s going to be the same, right?”
Me: “Nope. He’ll be in pain for about a week and blame you.”
Sis: “That’s not true! Stop telling him those things!”
Me: “Maybe you’ll get lucky and Cool will blame your Mom.”
Neph: “Mom. Seriously!”
Sis: “Your Uncle’s an idiot.”
Me: “No argument, but still.”
Neph: “Is he gonna hate me?”
Me: “No, he just won’t trust you.”
Neph: “I don’t wanna do this.”
Sis: “Oh great! Thanks Feo! Honey, remember that getting fixed keeps Cool from getting cancer, too.”
Me: “That’s bullshit. Towser (our dog when we were kids) died of cancer and he was fixed.”
Sis: “No, Dad said Towser died from a growth… – Sudden realization – …of cancer. Jesus.”
Neph: “So then we shouldn’t get Cool neutered.”
Sis: “It’s still good for the dog.”
Me: “No, it’s good for humans. It’s for our convenience so we can keep them in our small apartments, houses, tiny backyards, and all that other unnatural stuff. That’s not how dogs or cats evolved.”
Neph: “So I’m right. We shouldn’t get Cool neutered.”
Me: “You want to keep him in your house and yard, so you have to. Like most humans, dogs have no sense of long term consequence. He’ll run away every chance he gets and, if he doesn’t get hit by a car, he’ll breed like mad and leave the Mother and puppies to die.”
Neph: “We can tie him up whenever he’s outside.”
Me: “Every day of his life? That’s awful.”
Neph: “But I don’t want to betray him”
Sis: “Great job, big bro!”
Me: “You think tying him up is better? You think he’ll love you more if you do that?”
Neph: “But he won’t trust me if I get him fixed?”
Sis: “Cool won’t know he’s been fixed.”
Me (shrug): “Maybe, but he’ll know he’s in pain and he’ll remember you left him somewhere that hurt him.”
For a silent moment my Nephew sat there looking left and right, as if seeing walls closing in.
Neph: “He’ll never trust me again.”
Me: “Not like he does now. Would you ever trust him if he bit you?”
Me: “If you don’t let Cool out to breed, his hormones will drive him crazy and he’ll get aggressive with you. Same as wolves do to each other in a pack.”
My Nephew’s eyes got watery. Trust was the whole point. His mind kept looping back to it and I had a hand in him feeling that way.
Neph: “But he’ll think I betrayed him?”
Me: “He will and he’ll be right. You’ll damage, maybe even break the bond between you.”
Sis: “Oh God! You can leave now!”
Neph: “No, Mom! I wanna know!”
Frustrated – she’d been dealing with this ever since they left the Vet – My sister got up from the table to go to the living room and fixate on her phone.
Sis: “No matter what, the dog gets fixed!”
Me: “Yep. Has to be. Or plenty of his babies will suffer and die.”
Neph: “We could give them away!”
Me: “Cool could get four bitches preggo at a time. Births can be 6 pups per. Too many pups, not enough homes.”
Neph: “This sucks!”
Neph: “So he has to be fixed.”
Sis (on her phone): “Yes.”
Me: “So long as you want to live in the city surrounded by dogs, it’s the best of a bunch of bad choices.”
Neph: “But he’ll never trust me. And I’ll deserve it.”
Me: “He won’t fully trust you ever again, but Yep.”
Neph: “He’d be better off if I gave him away.”
Me: “Someone gonna love him more than you?”
Neph: “I dunno.”
Me: “You think you can give him extra love and attention to make up for what you’ve done?”
Neph: “Will that help?”
Me: “It’ll help.”
Neph: “But I broke the bond, our bond. He won’t trust me.”
Me: “Dogs forgive. They love us more than we deserve.”
Neph: “Such bullshit.”
Me: “You’ve hated your Mom, but you forgave her and loved her again.”
Nephew shoots me a stricken look.
Sis (loudly from the next room): “What crap are you telling him now?”
Me: “Oh, you’ve hated Mom! I was there when you told her!”
Sis (full attention): “I was a kid! I was mad! I said it but I never meant it!”
Cool comes up to my Nephew. Neph starts petting him.
Neph: “He doesn’t know what I’m going to do to him.”
Me: “He’s a dog. He wouldn’t understand why anyway.”
Neph: “He loves me and I’m going to hurt him.”
Me: “You’re going to break his heart and he doesn’t deserve it. But if you give him away it will make everything worse. You have to keep him and mend the heart you’ve broken.”
Like all dogs, Cool was sensing his human’s sadness and tried to comfort him.
Neph: “I will.”
Me: “Good. Doing the Best thing and doing the Right thing aren’t always the same thing.”
Neph (still petting Cool): “This is adulting.”
Me: “Yep. This is Adulting. One of those things that don’t make sense until you live through it.”
Neph: “… sucks so much.”
Me: “Bet you’re starting to know how your Mom felt whenever she had to hurt you.”
Neph: – deep breath –
Copyright April 27, 2021
At a restaurant back in 2007, a friend who I’d long known and only known as a Christian, regaled us all at the table with his secret confession: He was once a devout atheist. Atheism was his former belief and science was his faith and article of worship.
Being the only other person at the table who was openly known to all as an atheist, I scoffed.
“You were never an atheist, then.” I said.
He gave me a silent “How dare you?” glare, but our other friends rushed into the void to change the subject.
Later on at a group interest forum we belonged to, I discovered that he was airing his grievances with me and mentioning me by name.
HIM: “All I can think is how ironic it is that someone would tell me I wasn’t atheist when I most certainly was and how Christians tell me I’m not Christian because I’m different.”
My response –
Me: What I said wasn’t ironic, it was a contradiction.
- to assert the contrary or opposite of; deny directly and categorically.
I’m basing my disbelief in your claim to have been an atheist, based entirely on what you say atheism is. You use words like “devout” and “faith” to describe your former atheism. You mistakenly misrepresent science a number of times. Atheism is the disbelief in a deity, period.
It doesn’t mean that I have faith that there is a substitute supreme being that created the universe, I just have no faith that there is such a supreme creature, or even a well-intentioned tricycle for that matter. Since, according to you, you were a devout atheist, and put your faith in science, you were not an atheist, which, by dictionary definition means:
“An atheist is one who denies the existence of a deity or of divine beings.”
And that’s all.
Scientists don’t go around claiming Newton, Carver, Curie, Einstein, or Hawking were/are supreme or divine beings. And it doesn’t matter if any of those scientists were religious or not.
*Salma Hayek may have been a supreme being once, but we all get old. Dolly Parton is old but still divine.
So since you are unable to separate belief from faith, and since your entire argument against atheism is to repeatedly attack science (???) and attack it with a huge misunderstanding of what science is, you weren’t an atheist. In your own words, you define an atheist as someone who is devout and has traded faith in god for faith in science. So you weren’t the dictionary definition of an Atheist and you don’t know the definition of Science.
Some people call themselves Christians even though they aren’t. Using your logic, I can claim to be god.+ And I don’t have to prove myself to anyone, you just have to believe me because I said so and you cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am not god.
Like this guy:
Pastor with 666 tattoo claims to be divine
And boy does he really work that whole “Can you prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m NOT god?” routine.
Now you attack science as a counter-weight god of faith for an atheist. At some point you felt science was a false god: You had a crisis of faith! Your answer was to embrace a a different faith. It’s an entirely normal part of human behavior for someone to trade one addiction for another without fully coming to terms with either.
Like an alcoholic abandoning Rum for Whisky, faith remains your addiction. An alcoholic who insists that people who don’t drink to inebriation or loss of control must be addicted to SOMETHING, is a clouded perception.
You’ve created, or made personal, a definition of atheism that doesn’t exist, but because you really want it to, you demand that it be accepted as fact – just because you say so – and further, be used as a cudgel against those with atheist views. From what you say, “Christians tell me I’m not Christian” as well. You could be at a juncture in your life.
Him: “Reading books that tell me chaos organizes itself does not lead to proof or even evidence that God does not exist. Your atheism is Faith in the fact that all of what we see is just here by random chance, of which there is no logical PROOF.”
Me: No, my atheism is a personal view without faith: one where I will not believe what people say merely on their say so. I don’t care how many people believe the devil lives in children or that drinking radioactive water will cure all human ails.
Him: “So are you saying because something is not known it does not exist? None of us can PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is or isn’t a God. I’ve been saying all along that neither of us can give enough evidence to PROVE either belief.”
Me: My answer is, and will always be: Without evidence to support your claim, I won’t believe it. Further, I’m not required to expend any energy or time in regards to your “magical basement” at all.
The burden of proof is on the person who wants to change my point of view.
Him: “The flaw you made is saying that I demand inarguable proof of what you believe. I asked no such thing because your beliefs are just as illogical as mine.”
Me: Refusing to believe without evidence isn’t illogical. Also, as everyone can see, you just said,
“I’ve been saying all along that neither of us can give enough evidence to PROVE either belief.”
You obviously demand proof, yet insist that you will disregard anything that contradicts you.
I’m not out to change your beliefs, but I am correcting what you are telling people that I believe.
I’m also not here to persuade you toward atheism. I have no problem with your belief in god (some atheists might, but people are people, not rubber stamps). This discussion with you is one of my repeatedly correcting your mistaken beliefs in who I am and what you tell others I believe.
You are the one bearing false witness against me.
Your idea of atheism is not the dictionary definition. Nor does it apply to any atheist I’ve ever known. Just because someone calls themselves an atheist doesn’t make them one.
Some people think they’re Jesus.
With this current post of yours, you contradicted yourself in front of everyone and misrepresented what I said – even though all of our previous posts are there for all to see.
This is the third time I’ve corrected your repeated misrepresentations of what I believe. I’m done.*
*Sometime later, mutual friends told me this guy was still trying to poison the waters with me at every available opportunity. He was just doing it in other places outside of my attention. Our friendship ended.
CAT ON TABLE!
r/AskReddit asked a question –
My answer –
Welcome to Feo Amante’s NO HANDLES!
Hi! I’m Feo Amante! I won the lottery and can afford to run a store that never makes a cent. This will be a tax write off for the next five years, saving me a small fortune compared to my already much larger fortune!
So at Feo Amante’s NO HANDLES! We serve all of your No Handle needs!
We have buckets, pots, pans, hammers, screwdrivers, sinks, toilets, chainsaws, lawnmowers, and more! Not a handle on any of them.
In the market for a used car? We have used vehicles with no door handles, parking brakes, or steering wheels! Want to shift your vehicle into drive? Don’t we all? Want to look under the hood? Good luck with that!
Do you hope to get a handle on food preparation? We do not sell cookbooks!
Do you hope to get a handle on your health? We sell only Homeopathic medicine and Holistic nutrition!
Do you hope to get a handle on your life? We sell books by the leading Evangelists of all religions.
Come in for our weekly Seances where we talk to the dead! They never reply, but what do you expect? They’re dead.
We’re open from whenever to whenever. That’s right, you can’t even get a handle on our store hours. So come on down to Feo Amante’s NO HANDLES! Our store is inconveniently located at a place you’d probably rather not go.
That’s Feo Amante’s NO HANDLES!
We won’t be waiting for you.
What Facebook “Community Standards”?
There are two more lost in the night, the storm is upon us, and no one knows if they can be rescued.
Kingpin: “Nothing can save you Now!”
Spider-Man: “Well, DUH! The totality of oblivion can’t save anything at any point in time!”
Kingpin: “Oh no you don’t! You! Damn it! You… you KNOW what I meant!”
Spider-Man: “Obviously! I just defined it! But do you? Your threat is nebulous and YOU know it. You call yourself a Mastermind?”
Kingpin (gasping in frustrated anger): “Let… DAMN! Let him go.”
Schemer: “What? But we have him! Spider-man is literally in the bag!”
Kingpin: “No, no… he beat me with his rhetorical cleverness.”
Schemer: “The Hell?”
Kingpin: (releasing Spider-Man) “Look! I have a gambling problem, okay? I risk everything! Win it all! But years ago I made a… a Foolish bet with Spider-man and he… oh damn it! He’s been besting me out of tight spots ever since!”
Schemer: “Is that so? Well Spider-Man has nothing on me! I can kill him right now!”
Spider-Man: “Hey Schemer, did you know that you’re the Kingpin’s son?” (jumps through a window and disappears into the night)
Kingpin & Schemer stare at each other: “WHAT?!?” *
*true story. Schemer aka Richard Fisk, was the Kingpin’s long lost son.
– Cover Art by John Romita, Script by Stan Lee
Children Filter Religion … Differently
My pre-school niece tells me that Jesus is taller than everyone else. He’s the tallest person in the world, bigger than the house we’re in, even though he’s invisibly sitting on the couch next to us.
Me: “How does he do that?”
Niece: “I don’t know, but he can do all kinds of weird stuff.”
My Niece looks at me.
I look at her.
Niece: “It’s true.”
Niece: He even has a weird head.”
(and just like that, I’ve entered the Undiscovered Country)
Me: “Weird how?”
Niece: “He looks… his head looks… he’s got a head like a squirrel head.”
Niece: (with as much gravitas as a 5 year old can muster): “Really, Uncle Eddie.”
Me (clearly impressed by this wondrous new world): “I’ve never seen those pictures.”
Niece: “Not for everybody, just me.”
Me (floating back to earth) “Ahh…”
Niece: “He knows I love squirrels.”
Me: “I get it.”
I don’t know if Jesus would buy my book, but if you believe in him, cover your bases just in case by buying
PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection
It’s a veritable trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller tales – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Now on sale for $9.00 in Trade Paperback and in eBook for $1.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes,
KoboBooks, Smashwords, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free!
Don’t stop yet, there is still,
WILLOW BLUE. It’s my second collection of critically acclaimed Supernatural and Drama Thriller short stories with all of the Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem, you’ve come to expect (or should by now). Available in paperback for $8.00 or in Kindle for only $1.99. Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free! The tales will last you longer than latte!
Hey, you’re on a roll, now!
Look for my story Cedo Looked Like People, in the anthology, FEAR THE REAPER, edited by Joe Mynhardt. Available from Crystal Lake Publishing and available in Print for $12.99 or eBook for $2.99.
Make the circle complete!
Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself, as well as John Carpenter, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, the late Ray Bradbury and Wes Craven, plus many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.