“What are you doing, Awesome?”

“I’m doing an interview with Bernie.”

“Well, aren’t you the lucky one. A Zen interview with the Man! He doesn’t do that with anyone anymore. So, deplorable student, how does your interview with the Great Man go?”

“Each session starts the same way. I say: My name is Aussie, and my question is: How can I be a dog?”

“And what does he say, Awesome?”

“Not much. He looks a lot at that white thing he has with him.”

“That’s probably where he gets his answers from. But Awesome, why the stupid question? You are a dog, ergo, you don’t have to learn how to be one.”

“My name’s not ergo, it’s Aussie. And I need a practice, Spook. What’s my practice?”

“Your practice is to be a dog.”

“That’s what the Man said. He said, you’re a dog, just be a dog.”

“That’s what I say, Awesome. You don’t have to be some great Zen mucky-muck to know the answer, it’s right in front of your nose. Just be a dog.”

“But Spooky Stan, the Man said: JUST be a dog. You’re saying, just be a dog. That’s different.”

“How are they different?”

“I can be a dog, Stanley. Everybody can be a dog. Percy the Golden can be a dog. Kaya the whatever-she-is can be a dog. Even Ruby the Terrible can be a dog. But how do you JUST be a dog?”

“Since when do you worry about such mishigas, Awesome?”

“Since I came here. Never did back in Texas.”

“Let me ask you this, Awesome. Are you digging up the yard searching for moles?”

“At last count, there were 24 new holes in the back yard, Spooky.”

“Are you jumping into the pond and splashing Eve all over?”

“Every single time, Spooks, and she always gets pissed.”

“Girl never learns. Do you leave muddy paw marks on the sheets when you jump up on the beds, Awesome?”

“Never fail, Stan.”

“Do you slobber with love all over Leeann-Rhymes-With-Stan when she takes you out on her outing?”

“I do that even when Leeann-Rhymes-With-Aussie raises her voice and goes: Umh-umh-umh!”

“Do you destroy house slippers, Awesome?”

“So far I’ve killed one pair of black slippers, one pair of brown summer sandals, and Eve’s winter shoes from last year.”

“That’s all you need to do, Awesome! Take the posture of a dog, and everything else follows naturally.”

“But I’m full of doubt, Spooks. I don’t feel like I’m JUST being a dog.”

“Feel shmeel. Feelings are for wimps, Awesome. JUST do it. Be a dog. Close the gap. Have faith that when you practice being a dog, you are a dog. JUST. Get it?”


“Just one more thing, Awesome. Leeann rhymes with Stan. Leeann doesn’t rhyme with Aussie.”

“Don’t be so dualistic, Stanley. Leeann rhymes with everything.”