I have a love/hate relationship with ESPN columnist Bill Simmons. He’s an excellent writer, but he often puts his powers to, if not exactly evil, extremely apathetic and uninteresting purposes. He spends far too much time dealing with minutae of Boston sports, riding his various not-so-interesting hobby horses, and talking with his friends about things they both did with yet other friends of theirs.
I never really consider it, but I always toy with the idea of giving up reading his column, unless I find the topic particularly fascinating.
But then, whenever I’m wandering down this road, he comes out with a column like this week’s tribute to his family dog, Daisy, a.k.a. The Dooze. They put The Dooze down this week, shortly after her sixth birthday, after she became inconsolably ill from her lymphoma.
As a dog owner, I am particularly vulnerable to dog-based schmaltz. Not so much calendars of cute puppies, but stories of how destructive dogs can be, and how we always become dependent on them in the end, and all the rest of it. I’ve read Marley and Me, although I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it’s right up my Schmaltzy Alley. And, as my favorite pet owner manual, Katz on Dogs by Jonathan Katz, tells me, the single most important job of a dog owner is in knowing how to say goodbye, because that’s one thing the dogs simply can’t do for us. It’s something I know I’ll have to face someday, or maybe I guess I should say I hope to face, since that means that Simon and I would both live long, healthy lives, but it’s certainly not something to look forward to.
But still, I couldn’t stay away, and, unsurprisingly, it’s a damn fine column. If, like me, you are a total sucker for these sorts of things, go and check out the column. It won’t make you happy, but it will be time well-spent regardless.