Much like Charlie Brown putting his trust in Lucy to hold the football on his kickoff attempt, I too have blindly believed that the laws of nature (both human and otherwise) would support me no matter what my logic or track record, that somehow a simmering sauce would not boil over if left to its own devices, or that a slow leak would not fulfill its destiny as a flat tire if unattended to, or that bulldogs fed potato salad at lunch, would not vent odoriferous reminders at dinner. Ah, you live and learn (and pass the air freshener).
Recently I had to add another foible to my list of ill-fated expectations: trusting in the stasis of balanced weight, the premise that what rests in equilibrium will stay in equilibrium.
My story begins with my penchant for tables, pedestal tables in particular. Seriously, I have enough tabletops to host a cribbage tournament. Last year I bought (because it was a scoring deal) a 60-inch round teak tabletop and placed it on a narrow base, a temporary fix until I could find a wider pedestal better proportioned to ensure the table’s stability. Even with the smaller base bolted to the table, all it took was a slovenly lean or a couple heavy elbows on the tabletop to create a Charlie Chaplin moment, sending culprit to the ground and table rolling. Trust me, I know of what I speak on a firsthand basis–bruised elbows, ego, nose and all.
My first (yes there were several) tabletop mishap came at the hand, make that paw, of another. During a rare moment of cleaning the kitchen, I heard a startling crash and thud, and felt a couple of rolling tremors not unlike those delivered by local quakes. Within the cacophony of destruction also rang the bright chime of crystal and the crackle of its subsequent demise.
I bolted to the dinning room only to find the large round table overturned and gently pivoting to the low side of the floor like a waning top. Shards of a crystal cake plate marked the point of impact, and a path of shredded coconut and whipped cream dollops led to the final resting place of the catapulted cake and one ebullient bulldog. Claiming his delectable prize, Boz was muzzle deep in frosting and pastry parts. My declaration of “Oh Boz-man, look what you’ve done!” fell on deaf, if not cream-clogged, ears.
While you may think English Bulldogs are sandbags with legs, this really is not the case. Where food is involved, Boz can morph into a super-canine creature: part Snoopy; a little Santa’s Helper; and a dash of Scooby Doo for good measure. Based on Boz’s previous table ascents, I have a theory. Boz climbed onto the dining room chair and then up and onto the dining room table. Having reached the summit, he sauntered over to the plateau’s edge where the poorly placed, ill-fated, and fully-iced coconut cake sat and teased his taste buds into a misguided move. As Boz went for the cake, the 65-pound furry anvil tipped the scale in gravity’s favor, and the table, the dog and the cake came crashing down.
Boz, unflustered by his free fall, dispatched the cake like this was his plan all along. With a cravat of whipped cream and goatee of coconut, Boz begrudgingly allowed me to pull him away from his prize, check for injuries, and send him outside while I assessed and cleaned up the damage. Gracie, mere feet away on the sofa, was not to be bothered.
Now you’d think I’d have learned a lesson, but there’s more to share, more to the story of how sometimes we ignore our inner voice of reason and common sense. Perhaps this little public admission (read, humiliation) will help me pay closer attention to the laws of nature (again, human and otherwise) in the future.
Stay tuned for Part II of the Tall Clover Chronicles.