As I tap this out, however, the Princess is playing tug of war with Odd Trundles. To see a bulldog playing tug is to see a creature whose deep genetic itches are being thoroughly scratched. You can imagine little Odd (I use the term “little” partly tongue-in-cheek, because he is a good 60lbs of bulldog, and also truthfully, for he is built very close to the ground) clamped onto a raging piece of man-cattle, chuffing through his upturned nose that has been turned into a blowhole and growling gleefully while his eyes roll back into his head out of sheer joy…well, you get the idea. In all other ways he’s a broken thing–prone to dermatitis, yeast infections, spinal problems, you name it.
But when he’s pulling on his half of the tug rope, he’s a star. He’s doing what he’s designed for, and it makes him the happiest dog on earth for those few minutes before the rope stops playing and he staggers away, drooling and grinning, to flop down and go to sleep. He falls over, dreaming of yet more battles, and when he wakes up he drags the rope to anyone near him, wagging so hard his entire body shakes.
Again? Again? Please, again?
I’ve often compared the feeling I get while writing to what a cheetah must feel while running–doing what you’re designed for, what you were created expressly to do. Sometimes I look at this little bulldog and I think I’m using the wrong metaphor.