I thought that with age and wisdom we were supposed to become more jaded, more distinctly un-sentimental. In some aspects, this is true. For example, I can’t watch one of those Disney princess movies without wanting to gag- I mean really, Prince Charming is kind of skeevy when you think about it: stalking women and throwing shoes at them, hints of necrophilia and the like. I look at my little scrapbook pile of love notes from high school and want to laugh and/or cry at my naive oversimplification of pretty much everything.
But in one of those odd juxtapositions that make up life, as my romantic notions slowly morphed under the weight of reality of life into something a little more muted and stable, I’ve become ridiculously oversentimental when it comes to my kids (both human and furry.) I oooh and aaah over Golden Retriever socks. I want to save Brody’s first baby tooth, meticulously plucked off the floor by my three year old with the pride of a palaeontologist finding a new T Rex bone. And I can’t watch the movies.
I’ve never been good at watching those kind of movies to begin with.
Old Yeller? Never seen it. Where the Red Fern Grows? Should be illegal to show in schools. Those are understandable, though. But the rest of it? Lady and the Tramp- can’t deal with the shelter dogs. All Dogs Go to Heaven ruined my eighth grade year. I just made it through Up- barely- simultaneously laughing at how perfectly Doug encapsulated Golden Retrieverdom and crying at how much he reminded me of Mulan.
If anything, I’ve gotten worse about this stuff, not better, as I get older. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s that while the reality of most human relationships are much more complicated than they seem as a kid, our relationships with our pets are just as genuine and uncomplicated at 35 as they are at 5. It is comfortingly simple in its straightforward nature. When a dog looks up at you with those big eyes and gives you an “I love you” lick, it means exactly that.
My nostalgia over that innocent type of relationship is what leaves me a sobbing heap when I find myself emotionally exploited, over and over and over, by family movies, author memoirs (what is it with the latest trend of authors making the requisite pet memoir?), and toilet paper commercials. I am consoled in my misery by my technician Amy, who confided in me today that Hotel for Dogs left her a weeping mess. Guess I’m not alone in this.