Swans Commentary » swans.com November 19, 2007  



The Devil You Don't Want To Know


by Peter Byrne





(Swans - November 19, 2007)  

She:  Don't talk to me about your devils.

He:  They aren't my devils. It's only an expression: Better the devil you know.

She:  Then it's a pretty dumb expression.

He:  A saying like that embodies the wisdom of the ages.

She:  Dumb, I say. The devil commander-in-chief devil and his vice with the pitchfork have shafted you. So dump them as soon as you can.

He:  Must you bring everything back to politics? Why can't you soar into the world of ideas? I said wisdom of the ages.

She:  If you're talking ageism, I'll listen to you. I'm an ageist. I chalk up my neural losses every morning before I put my teeth in.

He:  Have it your way. Just show me the nearest exit. I need air.

She:  Take it easy. Remember what the doctor said about your nervous stomach.

He:  Those were my gut feelings he overheard. He should have written them down instead of prescribing a laxative.

She:  Maybe he wasn't keen on inner thoughts. But I'll play. Deal me another wise card.

He:  Let's keep it simple. You've heard the saying, A dog is man's best friend.

She:  Of course. It's hooey.

He:  I'm going for a walk.

She:  It's obvious that man is a dog's best friend. What did the pooch ever do for us?

He:  The pooch is an exception, one off. We're talking general truths.

She:  Let me know when we've landed on my cabbage patch. Do you realize that were we unfriendly we might have made him into a fighting dog, a killer, and placed bets on him?

He:  The pooch kill something? Something alive? No immune system ever sunk that low on this planet.

She:  We could have given him a pep talk. What the hell, steroids.

He:  You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

She:  The pooch took early retirement early.

He:  He's certainly not one of the dogs of war.

She:  He's a pacifist. He's demonstrating. But what's all this about Let sleeping dogs lie?

He:  Now you're getting the idea.

She:  That one's wrong too. If you didn't get the pooch up on his paws once in a while, the carpet would grow over him.

He:  Please, lets close the kennel door. Open your kitchen window and get some perspective.

She:  You want philosophy? Like It's a dog's life? Phooey on that too. Look at the pooch snoozing while we're opening a debate on who's going to cook dinner.

He:  You must have heard the reflection, Every dog has his day.

She:  Sure I've heard it, but I see the pooch's luck as very consistent. I haven't had my day yet. As for dog days, I missed out on miniskirts in my tepid girlhood that was decidedly pre-1968 and the summer of love.

He:  Maybe you were one of those girls that we young fellas called a dog.

She:  If so, it was like the skillet calling the kettle black.

He:  You see? You just had recourse to an eternal verity.

She:  By the way, what does a skillet do for a day job and did you ever see a speck of dirt on my electric kettle?

He:  You're a real dog in the manger. Stand back and let a husband develop his thought.

She:  All right, all right. Help yourself to some of the hair of the dog that bit you.

He:  No, that doesn't fit.

She:  I'm glad. You wouldn't want to swallow hair in quantity with your shins bloodied.

He:  Enough is enough.

She:  Okay. Even a dog's obeyed in office.

He:  That's politics again, not timeless wisdom. And it's impolite.

She:  Forgive me and the Bard. Our bark is worse than our bite.

He:  Heel, Fido! I give up. Call off the pack. What were we talking about before the growling started?

She:  Devils you have known.

He:  That's it. I meant that the politician we've already watched in office might have been wanting. But we're on to his crimes and blunders. A new man's capers and cock-ups might be worse. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

She:  That's what you meant? Your devils are politicians? It makes sense.

He:  Yes, change can be risky.

She:  No, I mean that politicians are devils.

He:  Don't be so literal minded.

She:  Why not? If the man in office and the fresh candidate are both devils we ought to call off elections and start exorcisms.

He:  That wouldn't be constitutional.

She:  You think the devils might come back with an amendment?

He:  Look. You might be able to pass exorcism off as a kind of blessing. You know, Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, Begone Satan.

She:  You could get our senators attended to like we did the pooch.

He:  Don't be silly. We didn't call on a clergyman to put him right.

She:  No, but the vet who flushed out his tapeworm looked to me like a man of faith: his shirt had a dog collar. And when we stepped into his bowwow parlor, he rushed right over to us. The early bird caught the worm.

He:  Now I am going for a walk.

She:  The pooch had a fresh start afterwards.

He:  Don't tell me he was born again.

She:  The tapeworm was. It began all over from scratch.

He:  I'm out the door.

She:  It's the first step that costs.

He:  Don't expect me back till late. I'm going to take the bike and make the pooch sweat on the path around the lake.

She:  Still, The longest journey begins with the first step.

He:  Shut up.


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art13/pbyrne54.html
Published November 19, 2007