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Potty the Chia Pet Fish 'n' Chips of Chia Pet
(Edited excerpt from an e-mail to Denise)

Hey, You:

I appreciate your concern about me being all alone after The Kiddo moves out of the apartment in a few weeks and goes off to college. Although I know your suggestions about possibly finding some sort of surrogate companionship with, say, some fish or a Chia Pet are well-intentioned, I can't imagine that either would be satisfying.

I had a tank of fish one time, but I couldn't keep myself from spin-casting a baited hook into the water. I used the "catch and release" approach in my armchair-version of sports fishing. But still, the trauma of repeated hooking took its toll.

I had warned those fish to give up hooking before they contracted some dreadful sexually-transmitted disease! But, hey, they all had crack-coke habits to feed.

My attempt at being an aquarium hobbyist, just like those fish, went belly up.

Someone once gave me a Chia Pet. That relationship didn't work out either.

The damned things can't be housebroken. I tried paper-training, believe me, I tried. But I was constantly stepping on little bits of terra-cotta ca-ca that had been excreted helter-skelter on the carpet. It crunches underfoot, if you're shod. It cuts, if you're not.

I always had trouble putting that little Hartz Mountain Aphid-Control Collar around its scrawny neck in the springtime. (All thumbs! Hey, I can't even flip people off!)

I got some nasty cuts on my ankle when the randy little bugger unexpectedly tried to hump my leg one time.

Whenever I had to take that crockery-creature to the vet, other guys in the waiting room, usually the ones with big butch dogs, would glance contemptuously at me, as if they thought I was some sort of flaming fairy. And those guys with little frou-frou french poodles would glance at me with a completely different attitude, accepting and perhaps a little too friendly for my comfort, as if they thought I was some sort of flaming fairy.

And forget all that stuff you hear about a man being able to meet lots of chicks while walking his Chia Pet in the park. Very few women who saw me dragging that adobe doggie across the grass at the end of a leash would ever talk to me. Hell, most of 'em bolted in the other direction as soon as they comprehended what their disbelieving eyes had seen.

I did meet one attractive, seemingly-nice woman who was walking her own Chia Pet. We had an extremely friendly conversation as our pets gamboled, cavorted, and frolicked together on the lawn.

That magic moment almost collapsed once when she saw that my naughty "Potty" (nickname for "Pot" that rhymes with "Spot") was humping her "Fifi." "Don't worry," I said, "he's been fixed." (I lied.) Good save.

We had such a wonderful time together, so, before she had to leave we arranged to meet again the following Sunday.

Within just a few days, however, I got an unexpected call from that woman. Her tone was not romantic, nor even cordially-civil. She was furious! Her Fifi was knocked up and she didn't want a litter of newborn lichens littering her house.

I've never seen that woman again, thank God. She had threatened to castrate poor Potty and me! Sweet Jesus! Can you believe it!? (Oh, right. You're a woman. You can believe it, can't you?)

This story reached its heartbreaking conclusion when Potty's "fur" got terminal root-rot and I had to have him put down.

Actually, to avoid another vet bill and all those disconcerting waiting-room glances, I shot him myself.

With a 12-gauge shotgun.

Point-blank range.

16 times.

No more Chia Pets for me, thank you. Go fish.

Later, Dave

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