Man, how time flies.
For those who have been long-time Junkies, you might remember the passing of my best little buddy and writing partner Mookie the Violent (1994-2008). She mozied on to that Puppy Farm in the Sky back in June, 2008. Five years have already sailed past since that sad day, and that's damn hard to believe.
The Evil Queen™ and I also had Emma (a.k.a., the prolific blogger known as the "Døg of Evil"), who herself shuffled off this mortal coil back in June of last year.
So, June is apparently a really bad month to be a lil' buddy of the FDØ. Who knew?
Five years is a significant amount of time. It's half of ten years, and we humans (with our ten fingers and base-10 system of measurment) do so love measuring things in decades. Half a decade? For some reason, that much passage of time makes us think about the major events on our lives.
Mookie the Violent was just such an event, both her long life and her passing.
I still can't bring myself to get another dog, because Mooks was just that awesome. Part of that is because the Evil Queen's back is still all kinds of fucked up, and we can't have an animal jumping about, but even this far gone from her final day I'm not sure I'm ready for a buddy to sit where Mookie sat, to sniff the trees Mookie sniffed, etc.
Sappy as hell, sure, but there it is.
I still wear her little tag around my neck, a nice reminder of my best buddy from the time I was 25 until I was 39. The mid-20s are a key time in a man's life: if you attended college you probably graduated by then, you're on your own, probably still working that first "real" job, and generally finding your way in life. I'd had dogs as a kid, sure, but Mooks came into my life when I was the sole provider of All Things Scott. No girlfriend or wife to help take care of the pup, no mom or dad to bail me out if I had to work late. Every element of that dog's care and feeding fell to me. I was responsible for her safety, her food, her happiness and her health. It was one thing to be irresponsible with my own life (and trust me, Sirs and Ma'ams, I most certainly was), but I didn't have that option with the Mooks. Every day, that dog had to go out, get exercised and get fed. Granted, I took her everywhere and she practically lived in my Ford Probe (because that's where I mostly lived), but still, for someone who hasn't had a child it was an awakening to realize that everything she needed was on my shoulders. She was just so damn sweet, so damn nice, I wanted to make sure she was cared for at all times.
That unexpected responsibilty had a big impact on me. It changed who I was. Having that dog is part of who I am now.
And career-wise, it's kind of crazy to think where I was when she died. I had just released my first Big Publishing novel, INFECTED. I had yet to go into business with ARealGirl, and had yet to put out THE ROOKIE — let alone the next three GFL books — had yet to release BLOOD IS RED, BONES ARE WHITE, the GFL novellas, our downloadable audiobooks, etc., had yet to release CONTAGIOUS and ANCESTOR and NOCTURNAL ... hell, at the time I'd only been podcasting for three years. Seems like an eternity ago … and seems like yesterday.
I'm sure I'll get another little buddy someday. And yes, I'll be the main person responsible for that pup, but it's not the same. There is no replicating the experience of being in my 20s and discovering adult life with a dog that thinks I'm the greatest thing since Milk Bones. Through all the times I was a total dick and a jackass, through all the times I let people down, through all the embarassing coming-of-age mistakes I made, Mooks acted like I was the greatest human being that ever lived.
When you screw up in your 20s, sometimes you don't have the life experience to put things in context, to realize that what seems like the Worst Thing Any Human Has Ever Done is really not that big of a deal. But Mooks? She always knew. She tried to tell me. The conversations usually went a little like this:
Mookie: "The Pope? Screw that guy. You are the best thing ever!"
Me: "Well, I'm happy you think so, but I got pretty drunk last night and I think I pissed a lot of people off."
Mookie: "Oh, that? Wasn't your fault. There was a meteor. It made you crazy. And besides, those people are crap. I can prove it — have you ever given one of them a rawhide filled with peanut butter?"
Me: "Well, no, that's not really how humans—"
Mookie: "You haven't given them a rawhide filled with peanut butter because they don't deserve one. If they did deserve it, you would have done it, so ispo facto, who cares if they're pissed at you?"
Me: "I think that's a logical fallacy."
Mookie: "See there? Logical fallacy. You are the smartest person that ever lived! Since we're on the subject of rawhides filled with peanut butter, look how cute I am!"
Me: "Well, you are pretty fluffy."
Mookie: "I am! Say, is that a ball? You should take me outside in the sunshine and throw it! Watch, I'll spin in circles to show you my utter conviction for this idea!"
Me: "Well, sure, I guess we could go for a walk."
Mookie: "See? Like I said, you are a genius and you are the best thing ever! Bestthingeverbestthingever!"
Me: "Huh. Well, from your point of view, I guess I'm not so bad after all."
Mookie: "Throw it NOW or I swear to god I will have an aneurysm!"
So yes, our imaginary conversations were fairly philisophical, but they did usually end in panic attacks about tennis balls of a questionable hygenic state. Seriously, I know dogs are dogs and all, but they get excited to put those things in their mouths? Sheesh.
I miss that damn dog every day. There will never be another like her. To all the Junkies who've lost buddies (or who are in the process of losing their buddies), I feel you.
Nothing can make you wish the afterlife exists more than a creature that genuinely deserved it.