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Spoofs & Satire

Man Bites Dog

As bookstores swell with narratives, instruction manuals, and other paeans to man’s best friend, publishers turn to even the most inexperienced owners for new pulp.

Dedication—The book’s dedication (“To that great slobbering sack of hookworms…”) seriously undermines the drama of Chapter 9, where it’s revealed the dog has contracted hookworms from you.

Page xxiv—In the introductory section about Paleolithic man’s initial domestication of dogs—we’ll need a source to confirm that his purpose was to have someone on whom to blame his farts to Paleolithic woman.

Page 7—The story of how you stole your ex-fiancée’s puppy to remind you of her is frank and affecting. Well done. The story of how you stole her plasma TV to remind you of how fantastic the Red Sox look in HD is off-topic and gratuitous. Let’s cut.

Page 9—I completely understand why you named the puppy “Dick Licker,” but, believe me, both you and he will come across more sympathetically if you simply call him “Dickie.”

Page 34—In the section on housebreaking, we’re going to need either a third-party endorsement or expert corroboration to substantiate that the easiest way train a dog to do his business outside in the yard is by modeling that behavior for him.

Page 88—Neutering a dog does not “turn him gay.” By extension, just because Dickie still humps your leg after being neutered, that doesn’t mean your leg is gay.

Page 101—A certain amount of anthropomorphizing is expected and acceptable, but characterizing Dickie as a Zionist crosses some indefinable line.

Page 118—Regarding the story of Dickie killing your neighbor’s cat, I’d like some additional clarification. When you plant the switchblade near her corpse, I get that you’re building a case for self-defense, but you never say whether it’s a regular-sized switchblade or something smaller and more appropriate to the size of the cat.

Page 156—Love the scenes recounting your “backyard training sessions” with Dickie, especially the ones where you teach him to smoke. Good stuff.

By my count, so far you’ve used the adjective “doggy-style” 156 times. Page 159—You go into a lot of detail about the criteria you used to select an obedience school, but never fully explain why you chose one with a math requirement.

Page 173—The dog eats his food then vomits it up then eats his vomit and re-vomits that then re-eats the re-vomit and re-re-vomits that, etc. What about this do you find “so zen?”

Page 195—I suppose it’s possible Dickie was a victim of identity theft, I’m just not clear on what anyone would have to gain by it.

Page 202—As Dickie slows with age, you design and attach “fur extensions” to his tail, making it longer and easier for him to chase. We should talk with our marketing department about a product tie-in to the book.

Page 217—By my count, so far you’ve used the adjective “doggy-style” 156 times. Any chance we can replace 150 or so with some suitable synonyms?

Page 229—I know you’re writing against doleful expectations but I’m not sure playing your pet’s violent death for laughs really works for me. Suggest we drop everything from “Runaway tractor trailer…” through “…Mexican hairless tortilla.” And FYI, you open yourself to prosecution here—it doesn’t matter if Dickie can be slipped into an envelope, mailing him to the pet cemetery still violates postal regulations. Keep or cut? Your call.

Page 233—Bit of a disconnect: You swear never to forget Dickie, yet you’ve already recounted forgetting him at the park (page 47), in your car (page 96), at your parents’ house (page 107), at the park again (page 143), at the groomer’s (page 186) and, two pages back, you even acknowledge leaving his cremains at the vet’s for three weeks.

Page 246—Writing that your new dog, Scrappy, at six months old, is already 10 times more “book-worthy” than Dickie ever was could make readers who have made it this far feel like saps. (But I do smell sequel!)

Page 251—Your acknowledgement of Eric Pupperoni is well intentioned, but you I believe you mean either Roger Pupperoni or Eric Snausage. Which is it?

Bob Woodiwiss is a humor columnist for Cincinnati Magazine and Principal/Director of Undirected Thinking at Bob, the Agency. His second book, The Serfitt & Cloye Gift Catalog: Just Enough of Too Much, is a sendup of upscale catalogs. More by Bob Woodiwiss