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Commentary - The changing face of my greatest fantasy

Bear-Dog is hunkered down to the ground –predator-like – about 30 feet from me with his head propped immobile on his precisely-aligned front paws and is absolutely still but for the occasional nose-twitch and the constant quick flicker of his brown eyes back-and-forth from my face to the slobber-coated green ball glistening in the grass halfway between us.

“Stupid dog,” I mumble, well under Love-Weasel’s superhuman, dog-mom auditory range, and then sigh as I walk over and, for the 987th time since we’ve been outside working this morning, gingerly pluck the sopping, dog-cootie infested ball off the ground and throw it across the yard.

Bear-Dog explodes up in a 90-pound tornado of black fur and tie-died neckerchief and tears after the ball – dodging the bluebird house and the side-yard maple with the dexterity of a dog half his age – and snatches it out of the air on the second bounce, fulfilling, for the 987th time that day, his fondest wish; his greatest fantasy.

He plops down and grins at me around the green ball in his mouth, his tail sending up a flurry of dried leaves and bits of grass, then rolls over on his back, his belly to the sun, and thrashes around blissful, still grinning, with his paws flapping and his tongue flopping.

I shake my head and turn back to the patch of bare ground I’d been raking smooth for re-seeding and continue with my own mindless-chore fantasy of me standing in my weedless, mole-free yard of vibrant green, organically-grown Kentucky-31 fescue, sipping from a cup of coffee, embraced by a warm breeze as the light filters its way through the trees and dapples the ground around me with an ever-changing pattern of sun-yellow and leaf-shadow. A late model sedan stops in the street in front of our house and a man who looks as if he could easily play the part of a doctor in an ad for a new depression or prostate medication emerges. He has a head full of dark hair, gray at the temples, and is wearing razor-creased khakis and new work boots and the sleeves of his denim shirt are rolled precisely half-way up his forearms. 

“Hello, sir,” he addresses me. “I am the president of the World Wide Lawn Institute and have heard so many good things about your yard that I, busy though I am, chose to leave our capitol, Washington, D.C., and judge for myself. It seems the reports have all been true. Well done, sir, your lawn is beautiful.”

I nod bashfully, acknowledging his praise as well as the applause from all of the other people who weren’t there before but now, mysteriously, are.

Then I blink, and shudder myself out of the horror that was playing through my mind.

What the hell was that all about?!?  What’s happened to my fantasies?!?

There used to be a time in my younger days where I fantasized about appearing on stage playing lead guitar for AC/DC, bare-chested and Spandexed, furiously banging my head as a filled front row of scantily-clad, bouncy-breasted screaming girls damn near beat each other to death for the opportunity to catch a droplet of perspiration showering off my sweat-drenched, waist-length hair.  Nowadays, though, I am painfully aware I’m not entirely sure what an iTune is and wouldn’t know one if I saw one and couldn’t name a current Top-40 hit at gun-point and I can’t tell you how happy I am to find out there’s a new radio station out there called Hippie 94.5 where they don’t play anything that was recorded after 1976.

Once upon a time I dreamed of traveling to exotic places filled with exotic people and facing the dangers of unexplored, hidden rivers and going where no man has gone before. Now, it just tickles the hell out of me if I can make to Home Depot without catching a red light or I get through the self checkout lane at the grocery store without having to call a cashier over.

I used to fantasize about finishing a marathon in under three hours but am now happier than hell with nine-minute, well…10 minute, miles and sometimes these days I consider walking upstairs more than four times in a 12-hour period to be a workout.

Fantasies of wealth? Does getting excited about a $2 off coupon on a 20-pound bag of dog food count?

Oh…one fantasy fulfilled was that I did get the girl.

There’s an impatient sigh/snort behind me and I turn to find Bear-Dog hunkered down again eyeing his green ball and sending telepathic commands my way.

For the 988th time that day I pick it up and throw it and for the 988th time Bear-Dog is blissful.

Fantasies, I suppose, are sometimes no bigger than a green, rubber ball.


William Carter is a longtime Franklin city employee and published author. He may be contacted at


Posted on: 10/1/2012


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