I Want a CRAFT Service Dog

Every time I turn around these days, there is some new “miracle” or modern wonder designed to make life easier.  Often it is related to computer technology, but not always.  One thing that amazes me in particular is the progress being made with various types of service animals, for the blind and disabled, and I am sure I am not even aware of all the useful options that are available.  But I am still in awe.  For instance, these dogs can be trained to detect the aura of an oncoming seizure in epileptics, or sense a change in blood sugar in diabetics.  And, of course we all know about seeing eye dogs.

For a long time now, I and some of my baby boomer friends have joked about getting a twelve year old to go with us to social events, shopping outings, plays, movies, even on vacation with us.  It could be someone’s neighbor kid(s) or some child one knows from church or temple, a bright kid with computer skills and reasonable savvy who would like to earn a bit of money and would not roll his or her eyes or get all twitchy hanging out with “older adults.”  Who knows, maybe there could even be a merit badge in it for a scout.  Their task, should they choose to accept it, would be to remember where we parked the car, where we left our keys, where we put our glasses or sun glasses (on top of our head no doubt), remind us not to leave our umbrellas on the floor next to the table in the restroom, etc.  Don’t laugh.  If you aren’t to this point yet, you will be at some future date.  Then you will think this is a good idea. 

But now I’m thinking that an equally good idea – maybe even a better idea — might be a service dog.  Trained to do the same things as one might pay a twelve year old to help with: find your keys, find your misplaced cell phone, misplaced TV remote, misplaced garage door remote, misplaced checkbook, half of a missing pair of earrings, guide you to your car at the mall when you forget what level you parked on, etc.  Oh – you didn’t know what CRAFT stands for?  It is an acronym – Can’t Remember A Freakin’ Thing.

I can picture it now.  I have a service dog named Max.  I’m getting ready to go to work or to the store and I can’t find my keys.  I turn to trusty Max:  “Max, car keys!”  Max trundles off to find my keys, which he has been trained to do, and he comes back with them in his teeth.  Or, he goes to the refrigerator and paws at the door.  I open the door, and there next to the left over pizza from last night are my keys which I had absent-mindedly put there when the phone rang and interrupted my train of thought.  Or Max returns dragging a pair of jeans, and the car keys are in the pocket.  Or, I’m at the mall and I can’t remember where I parked.   “Max, find the car!”  And Max arfs knowingly and trots off, looks back to see if I’m following, and leads me to middle of level four, Green, 4H.  There’s my Highlander.  Wow, is he smart of what?  And he even carries one of my plastic bags as he goes along.  Continue reading

Jerry Springer, The Opera – Say What?

No, it is not a misprint.  And, yes, I really went to see it.  And yes, I really paid “good money” for the privilege.  As one professing to have an open mind, I thought it a worthwhile excursion.  A local theater known for its edgy, avant garde productions has struck yet again.  And as if it weren’t risky enough undertaking such a bizarro extravaganza, the theater happens to be across the street from an evangelical Calvary Chapel church.  How “in-your-face” can a theater company get?  So, of course, the born again Christians picketed the theater and gave it a huge amount of free publicity.

I had to know, or at least suspect, that this offering would be over the top, pushing the envelope to the very limit in every which way possible.  And I was right.  The cast of characters included Jerry, of course, plus God, Satan, Jesus, Mary and perverts and misfits of every stripe and proclivity.  There was a fetishist in a diaper and a pole dancer.  Over 95% of the dialogue was sung or “chanted” in that recitatif manner used in “real opera” or Gregorian chant.  The unholy and the sublime were juxtaposed, blended and swirled in a perverse manner worthy of a wicked spoof, and every now and then the production crossed the line into almost blasphemy.  One of the highlights was a number by God – “It Ain’t Easy Being Me.”  It was alternatingly shocking, offensive and hilarious.  There were tap dancing production numbers and choreographed obscenities.  Shock theater doesn’t get much more shocking than this. Continue reading