The Circle Of Life

I love puppies, who doesn’t? Maybe some hardened souls out there, some evil Wall Street hedge fund managers who only care about making billions off old widows pensions (okay, how did I digress into an anti-capitalist rant?) Back to puppies.

Puppies are worth all the trouble they create (usually). The only bad thing about having a dog in your life is that you’re probably going to outlive it. No parent should ever have to go through the death of their child, no doubt the worst thing that can happen to a person. With pets, though, so often we have to endure the agony of losing them. Not that I’m equating the loss of a child with saying goodbye to your animal, but still, losing that little critter who gets you through some of the worst days of your life, who makes the sunny days even brighter, who reminds you that no matter how badly you f&%k something up, you’re still the king – losing someone like that is its own kind of hell.

In my memoir I wrote about losing a Jack Russell Terrier named “Buster”; well, I have a little confession to make. “Buster” was actually not a JRT, nor was he just one dog. In the memoir, I morphed two dachshunds, “Buster” and “Rocky” into the one JRT “Buster.” (Don’t worry about “Rocky” the dachshund; he plays a prominent plot-changing role in “Code of Conduct.”) Losing Rocky and Buster in 2002 and 2003 was horrible. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

But life goes on and here we are in 2008. I think about those little guys all the time. So last month when our friend Bill got Twila and Tessie, I couldn’t wait to be “Uncle Rich” again to two dachshunds! I got to see them last night for the first time. What was… interesting… was that our friend Bill works in costumes at the Lion King. He brought the dogs to work so we got to see them backstage during the show.

I saw Lion King in LA years ago and what I recall most vividly from it is the song “Circle of Life” and that’s what the show is ultimately about. As I played with Twila and Tessie naturally I remember Rocky and Buster and as the Lion King played on the monitor over our heads, the puppies reminded me of the Circle of Life.

Loss has been an ever-frequent recurring theme in my life this decade and the last few weeks its come back, not as close to me personally as a few years ago, like losing one of my closest friends and then my dad in six months, but I know what friends are going through. Thinking about the Circle of Life doesn’t make death and loss any easier, really, but it acts as a reminder of why things are like they are. Death is nature’s way of renewing itself. Life may exist after death but we’re not here to think about that. As far as know for sure, this life is IT and we have to make the most of IT.

TOUR NOTES:  (here’s the updated schedule)

Sat., May 10:  6:00PM –  New Orleans, LA
FAB Books

Tues., May 13: 3:00PM – Washington, DC
George Washington University, Marvin Center, 800 21st NW

Fri., June 13: 1:00PM – Boston, MA – Borders, Downtown Crossing Store

Wed., June 18: 7:30 – San Francisco , CA- A Different Light

Check back as I’m adding other stops on the West Coast.

Thanks to Robert of North Carolina for sending me these pictures from my recent visit to Raleigh. The pic with Robert and me is to the left, and my lifelong friend Dawn (aka from “Secrets” as Melanie), someone who has been with me on this “Cycle of Life.” And honestly don’t know how I’d make it without her.




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