Ever since moving to the suburbs, Lance and I have noticed that people out here really love to demonstrate how much they love their pets (at least, the proportion seems to be larger out here). Maybe it’s because there are more dogs and various other critters per capita than in the city, and, in particular, dog owners never seem to get enough of telling everybody how much they JUST LOVE DOGS! (Is this because dogs are just so much more work than cats, and so in order to make themselves feel better for raising what is a essentially a toddler that will never grow up to pay for their assisted living in the twilight of their lives, dog owners have to overcompensate on publicly displaying their love? Just hypothesizin’…)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I also JUST LOVE PETS! I think providing a loving home for a cat or a dog or some scary lizard thing is a wonderful and kinda noble endeavor. I just think that, when it comes to showing other humans how much you adore your pet…well, there is a line, right? And what happens in the suburbs is that line gets crossed.
This “line crossing” manifests in weird bumper stickers and car magnets. Our neighbor has a “My Grandchild is a Dog” magnet (which can be interpreted in a number of literal ways). I’ve seen full-color, photo magnets of dogs that take up the better part of a hatchback. Another bumper sticker we saw this past weekend said: “It’s My Cat’s Life, I Just Open The Cans.” Why do people share these weird messages about their furry friends with the rest of the world? Beyond “My Kid Can Beat Up Your Honor Student,” humans don’t tend to share this kind of sentiment about other humans to whom they’re close. You don’t see the junior executive with a “I LOVE MY WIFE!” bumper sticker (and if you did, you’d suspect he’d done something wrong.)
My all-time favorite example of this weird phenomenon is a car magnet I saw a few weeks ago and which prompted this blog post. It read: “I Kiss My Dog On The Lips.” Um, what? I don’t care about what you do in the privacy of your own home (as long as it’s consensual!), but you know that line we were talking about earlier? Yeah, it’s way back there. Seriously, at this rate, how long will it be before we see this bumper sticker?