“Aussie, congratulations. You lost three pounds.”

“Quick, where are they? I need to get them back. Three pounds are a lot for an itty-bitty thing like me.”

“57 pounds is not itty-bitty. If anything, you have to lose more weight.”

“This is in direct violation of my vow.”

“What vow is that, Aussie?”

“I vow to become a balloon. Binge or bust, that’s my motto.”

“Sounds more like binge and bust, Aussie. Balloons bust when they get too full of hot air.”

“I want to be a gourmand.”

“You’re a dog, Auss—”

“Let me ask you something. What do you say when somebody gorges herself? You say that she eats like a horse. You don’t say she eats like a dog.”

“That’s true.”

“And in similar circumstances, do you say he dogs out? No, you say he pigs out.”

“I never thought of that, Aussie.”

“I want to be a horse. I want to be a pig.”

“Aussie, there’s more to life than food.”

“Name one thing.”

“As you get older, your knees will thank me. Your hips will thank me.”

I won’t thank you. Besides, why are you humans so worried about old age?”

“It’s the end of potential, Aussie.”

“Is that bad?”

“As you get older, you’re usually finishing things, Auss, not beginning. You realize the world will go on without you. You’ll go on without me.”

“Of course, I’ll go on without you. All I have to do is find someone who’ll feed me every day, bring me to Leeann twice a week, marrow bone on Sunday—I’ll go on without you very well. Of course, if I don’t find those lost three pounds and get them back quick, I may not make it, either.”

“You know, Aussie, as we get older, we start ruling things out. I’ll never become proficient in Spanish. I’ll never become a naturalist. I’ll never get to be a great writer.”

“You’ll never be like me.”

“How do I live without regrets, Aussie? How do I not feel as if I’ve missed out?”

“It helps to eat as much as possible.”

“Actually, it’s the time between meals that’s important, Auss.”


“We pay attention to things, Aussie. I pay attention when I get up, when I’m in the shower, when I sit, eat, walk, or work. But there’s so much space and time in between, know what I mean?”

“I try to sleep as much as I can between meals, that way I don’t suffer.”

“But time isn’t wasted just because it happens between the things we pay attention to, see?”


“If we make life all about the things that are important and memorable to us, we miss out on so much! We’re the tiniest blip in the landscape, Aussie.”

“So don’t be a blip in the landscape, be a blimp. Hee hee!”

“You just got food on the brain, Aussie. Don’t you know how much can happen between your breakfast and your dinner?”

“Sure. Lunch can happen.”

“You’re not getting lunch, Aussie. And stop thinking along old, familiar lines. The nice thing about getting older is that you have more time to see things anew, to see the breaks between things as the real deal, not just the same old things we pay attention to again and again. Getting older is a time to contemplate empty time. Where are you going, Auss?”

“Off to chase squirrels.”

“You’re always chasing squirrels. Don’t you want to contemplate the time between chasing squirrels?”

“Not really.”

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