You ever notice how your day can be determined by whether or not you take a crap? Am I the only one that thinks, “How in the hell is it possible that with all I stuffed into my body yesterday, it doesn’t say, ‘Ya, I need to get this shit out of me'”?
And only then, I start to accept the fact I’m going to suffer a 24-hour constipation, I think: “Do I need water? Maybe I need coffee? Maybe I need almonds, cashews, or beets. Ya beets.” And then after 6 hours of drinking: 3 glasses of water, 2 cups of black coffee, and eating to the point of bloating; I accept the fact:
Today’s going to really suck. (*Not as much as WordPress. So, if you notice what appears to be the exact same sentence back to back, I noticed it too.)
I accept it.
Accepting the fact you will more than likely never be a dad isn’t as easy.
I’m 39 years-old, I like my independence, and paying off debt without a family to support is already hard enough. Unless of course, I come across a young lady in her early to mid 20’s that is dying to be a mom and hopefully has “Daddy Issues”…
But, if that sounds like you, hop on Tinder and do a search radius of 12803 for 39 year-olds.
I may never know what it feels like to watch an infant take its first steps into a childhood, then grow into a teen, then stop growing as an adult because it’s my child, and then, well, rely on them to help me take a piss because my prostate is the size of a Panera Bread Bagel.
I may never know how it feels to bear witness to a full life being lived as my son or daughter while passing along my name.
With that, I may never taste the delicious splendor of waking up 13 times in the middle of the night. What for? The gift of a diaper filled with human shit at 3am.
You know, and for those of you that don’t; my name is Keith Hannigan, I’m a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, and I say that to say this: I have woken up next to some disgusting things, people, and people like things.
AND, I’m also a guy that defecated himself the first time he got like, drunk, like hammered drunk.
Do you know what that’s like? Do you know what’s it like to wake up to a pillow of poo in your pants? Do you?
But to wake up every night, to a screaming, not crying, screaming child, only to see how big and disgusting of a dump they took…
And that’s just the start! Because this is followed by:
The “terrible two’s”, to back to school shopping, to your kid has a friend that you hoped wouldn’t become friends because you know and despise their parents, to pre-teen, to teens, to teenage sex, to college kid, to a fat, alcoholic, college kid that experimented with her roommate Alex, and Alex is a her, to living back at home because they got hit with so much student debt and I’m sure as shit not paying for because I’m still paying for my own goddamn student debt, to never leaving home, to finally leaving home and missing them, to having to pay for a wedding…
You notice how this paragraph is bigger, much bigger than its predecessor?
I may never get to experience any of that.
Instead, well, instead I had Opie.
Funny thing about Opie, he was a gift to my brother that I tried to steal the affection of.
Kind of like an afterschool special where a brother tries to steal his brothers’ girlfriend.
Well, instead I tried to steal my brothers’ dachshund, and I did that by getting stoned and feeding him ice cream.
I would make two ice cream cones every night. One for me, one for Opie. We would sit on our bed watching the West Wing for the 53rd time. All the while, holding my arm out as we both licked away. I with my cone, he with his.
Ever hear a dog with an ice cream headache? It’s sad yet hysterical. He licks non-stop while whining. You want to stop him, but good luck.
We lost Opie this past July 20th. He just turned 15. And it’s taken me to August 31st to finally be comfortable enough to write this.
For you see, I would sob, uncontrollably sob as I wrote. What I wrote could have had been addressed “Dear Diary.”
That’s not telling a story paying homage, that’s mourning. Instead, let me tell the tale of one of the greatest loves of my life.
The Mt. Rushmore of loves, if you will. Right in between Deana and Hulk Hogan.
If you did the math, you would have figured out that Opie came here 15 years ago. If not, you’re a moron and stop reading.
If you know me, or can do 2nd-grade math, you would know I was 15 years younger than I am now. I’m a freshly blossomed 39, so that would have made me 24 back then.
If you know me, you would realize that I really sucked at life back then. I would have these whiffs of something special, and then I would instantly block up my nostrils making sure to lose the scent.
My brother was only 16 at the time and he was doing much better than I at his age. At 16, he was playing sports and studying. At 16 I was going to Grateful Dead and Phish concerts.
But hey, I can say I know what a port-o-potty looks and more importantly smells like at a concert with 100,000 plus hippies, bikers, and god knows any other human that loved drugs on a hot June night. Can he?
Nonetheless, you can see why one of us got a dog at 16 and the other one didn’t.
Opie came from a litter named after, you guessed it, the Andy Griffith Show. And because Opie was the cute kid, Opie got named… well, fucking Mitch.
I hate how I write sometimes and I get so goddamn redundant. And vulgar. Congratulations for reading this, these are the moments where I think:
“You know, I could pull off bipolar.”
Point being, Opie was that damn cute. Don’t believe me? Thinking to yourself that:
“My Precious was gorgeous. So ,kiss my ass Keith Hannigan. I’m going to tell my friends on Okplentyofmatch.com that you suck!”
Well, eat this SexySparrow420!
This just got difficult.
Opie. It wasn’t until he was 5 or 6 when I was immersed in his presence. If you were to Google that line, immersed in his presence, I’m sure you would find those speaking about how omnipresent God is in their lives.
How God changed their life.
Is it fair to say Opie changed my life?
You bet your sweet ass he did.
Remember the sucking at life Keith I described earlier? Well, he morphed into chubby, panic and/or anxiety attack having, moved back home, defaulted on 5 years worth of student loans while only having an Associates, sober, Keith.
In all of those adjectives, I used to describe the latter incarnation of myself, nothing about what I was addicted to at the time. That’s impossible for me. For you see, it’s been that way, since, well, conception.
Seriously. I guarantee I was addicted to something in the womb.
Betcha mom was sucking down the Winstons back then.
Well, it started with toys, Transformers especially, then “Pro” wrestling, then baseball cards, then drugs, then Phish tapes, then booze, then drugs and booze, then drugs, booze, and women, then women…And that leads me to Opie.
I could probably make a case that I became very, very ill during each of these addicted “stages”. And the last one, the women, well, I will just ask this: Do you know how it feels to wake up in the middle of the night with your pecker burning while covered in scabs?
No worries, I got you; It’s not very fucking pleasant.
So, when I moved back home, shamefully moved back home, I found my new addiction:
If you were my Facebook friend back then, you can attest to seeing a plethora of pics of him. That, or you are no longer my Facebook friend because you can attest to seeing a plethora of pics of him.
I fell in love the moment I first woke up next to him. Lift up the blanket, he’d pop his little head up and look at you:
“Come on, lets get up”
He would jump down from the bed, and I would be given the amazing gift of watching him hop down stairs.
What a glorious way to start your day.
Fill up his dish, he would crush it in seconds. Let him out, sometimes with his smokers jacket in case it was raining. Listen for a lone bark, let him in. And then be given glorious joy by watching his little ass hop up stairs.
That was my morning for about a year.
At night, I would come home, “listen to some Phish”, and then, well, we had our ice cream…
He got pissed though. While home, I got introduced to the “Atkins Diet”. (Not a fan) However, lost 50lbs.
So, we had to switch things from ice cream to cheese. When I say he got pissed, he didn’t, he loved cheese.
Then I transferred to NY.
When I left, my best friend and his wife put on a roast for me. Dean Martin Roast, not like, you know, roast beef. I could have said pot roast, but some unoriginal douche would have said, “I bet it was a “pot” roast.”
Nonetheless, there was a dinner party, it was great. I didn’t know that I needed to prepare something. But, well, next time.
I actually went to a couple of Phish concerts with a dear friend, just to learn that having lawn seats at a Phish show when you’re 30 and sober sucks. I even found a nice place in Saratoga Springs so I could stalk this girl I was obsessed with.
Yes, I relapsed. On women, not booze or blow. 12 years sober, from booze and blow, if you know what I mean.
The day I was packing to leave, Opie, well, Opie sat on what was our bed during our time living together.
And then he proceeded to piss on it while looking me dead in the eyes.
I crumbled to my knees and the tears flowed while our noses were two centimeters apart. Very god-awful, romance movie esque.
Then he did something he never did before.
He licked my face uncontrollably for minutes. Maybe my tears tasted like bacon and cheese from that shitty diet. But he knew what was going on. Hence the pissing of the bed.
I would move out to NY, line up match.com dates like I was setting meetings for work, then have flings, then more flings, then a marriage, then a divorce, then more flings, to currently weighing the option of celibacy as a legitimate candidate.
And during all of this, I would go home either rarely, primarily due to said failed marriage; or very often after the marriage was euthanized. Every time I did, a stupid smile would come across my face. I knew he was going to be there.
On July 16th, 2017, he wasn’t eating. He just wasn’t eating. By this time, his hearing was pretty much gone, his paw was shaking like he had Parkinson’s, and this is on top of his already paint peeling breath, and faucet leaking ass…Which we will talk about again.
But he always would follow me to the fridge. I mean, he had to be moved more often than not to close the damn thing. And he’s only inches off the ground, so he’s easy to miss.
But, he just wasn’t eating.
I rolled him on his side and noticed a little “puff” on his chest. My brother confirmed about how suspicious it was, but here is the thing about Opie, he would always bounce back. So, we were going to see where the next few days went and go from there.
Ma, told me there was a piece of veal parm in the fridge. I grabbed it cold and started eating it. I love cold, fried things more than I like hot, fried things. Except, cold french fries. That should be a punishment for a child if they curse. No spanking, no soap, make them eat a plate of cold french fries without a condiment or seasoning.
Little cocksucker won’t say cunt again.
Back to the cold veal parm. I’m not a fan of the veal as much as I am the parm, but I’ll never think of veal parm the same way again; because he came over and looked up into my eyes asking if he could have some.
I lied on the ground with him, and we had, what I didn’t know at the time, but felt in my heart could be, our last meal together.
Just like the good ol’ days.
I got the call four days later, and Ma said:
“This is the call I never wanted to make.”
The little “puff” was a tumor that was filling his lungs with blood. The little guy was choking on air as he breathed.
Why do we love something so much only to know that their lifetime is so short lived?
Because a child will develop conditions, an attitude, and sometimes resentment.
Where as our furry friends are unconditional love.
Well, just as long as you feed them and give them a clean place to pee and poop.
I will more than likely love another pet again, as we already have two still at the house: Dixon and Jack. I’m not going to show photos of them, not because I don’t love them, I do. But neither of them did for me what Opie did…
Opie saved me from me.
Thank you, Opie, that was an awfully nice thing you did. I can only hope you loved me as much as I loved you. Even when I wasn’t stoned and had an ice cream for you…or cheese…
My favorite story of Opie was the night I first introduced Alison to my family. Opie would always come over to my, and pretty much anyone’s leg at the kitchen table, for one of three reasons:
- Hoping you had food.
- I’m a dachshund, what the hell is going on up there?
You would then have to pick him up and sit him on your thigh. Fast forward to Alison and I heading back to Selkirk. Don’t know where Selkirk is? Good for you, leave it that way. Just know it’s a really long fucking drive from Rutland, VT. Anyway, what is one thing many of us do when we first get in our car after leaving an uncomfortable environment? We let out a fart that sounds like an Air Raid horn in Tel Aviv. But, no such sound came out from either one of us. Which is only because I was at my Ma’s and I have no shame while there. No matter who I’m introducing to the family.
Athletic_Hippie on match.com
And Alison, surprisingly, and if you just so happen to be reading this, you know damn well I’m not lying, she didn’t blast ass either. Nonetheless, the car smelled like shit. Like someone put a diaper loaded with the aforementioned port-o-potty from said Dead concert in there. I don’t know how long the accusations flew in my Nissan Altima but, shortly after, I realized what had happened only moments before.
Opie sat on my lap.
I may never know what it feels like to be a dad.
But, I do know how it feels to love something, someone, more than you ever thought you ever could. Especially when the decade prior, the only thing you loved could only be drank or snorted.
To those that say “Jesus, it’s just a dog”, I’m sorry you feel that way…
You just don’t get it.