“Aussie, look!”

“I don’t see anything.”

“Look at the dog, Aussie.”

“I’m looking at the ice cream.”

We’re standing by the departure pier of the ferry that took us back and forth between mainland Canada and the island of Grand Manan. There’s an ice cream and donut booth with a young man who just sold me a mound of strawberry ice cream in a cup. But I’ve forgotten all about it because I’m looking at his dog.

“Aussie, that dog is your doppelganger.”

“You shouldn’t call a dog a dope.”

“I said a doppelganger. A doppelganger is someone who looks just like you. He could be your double.”

“He does not look like me.”

“Yes, he does, Aussie.”

“Doesn’t look anything like me. I look like Rin Tin Tin.”

“You mean the pooch who helps the US Cavalry fight Indians? Come on, Auss, you don’t look anything like Rin Tin Tin.”

“Okay. What about Lassie?”

“Lassie’s a collie; you’re no collie.”


“Aussie, you don’t look anything like those dogs. Do you even know what you really look like?”

“Of course. I’m big, I’m fluffy, I’m very beautiful, with a noble, aristocratic snout, mournful, expressive eyes, and a body you could die for.”

“You’re not any of those things, Aussie. You can’t see yourself as you are.”

“I can’t?”

“Don’t feel so bad about it, Auss. Most of us can’t see what we really look like. For instance, I’m aware of my age, but I still think I look way younger. Even when I look in the mirror, I fool myself into thinking: You look pretty good. The gray hair looks a little blonde, the stomach is flatter. I tell myself that, like my mother, I don’t have that many lines around my eyes or mouth, still good-looking even if no trucker whistles at me any longer.”

“Why should a trucker whistle at you? You’re not a dog.”

“Right, Auss. But the main point is that we don’t see ourselves as we really are.”

“That’s certainly true for you. The gray is turning into white, not blonde, the stomach is like a third boob only bigger, and you’re as wrinkled as an onion.”

“Am not. And onions aren’t wrinkled.”

“You’re jealous that I’m going to be five years old next weekend and you’re ancient.”

“That’s not the point. It’s amazing to me how even when we look at the mirror, we see some younger, earlier version of ourselves.”

“I don’t see a younger version of myself. I see Rin Tin Tin.”

“Aussie, Rin Tin Tin wasn’t afraid of guns shooting and Cavalry riding and Indians attacking with war whoops. You hide in the back seat of the car the minute you see crowds or hear music. Much good you’d have been on the frontier.”

“I’m a good detective, just like Scooby-Doo.”

“You’re too afraid of men to track down anybody. You see, Auss, you imagine yourself as some heroic figure, someone who will save the world, or else as someone loyal and brave.”

“Like Lassie. Lassie is my dopey gangster.”

“Doppelganger, Auss.”

“I’m also a little like Cujo. Henry is scared shitless of me.”

“Nobody is scared shitless of you, Aussie. You’re plain Aussie, nobody else. And that’s good enough.”

“I know! Snoopy is my dopey gangster.! He loves to talk to God from the roof of his doghouse.”

“You don’t have a doghouse.”

“Astro? Toto?”

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