I saw a comic in the paper a while ago. “Duplex,” yes, that’s the one it was. Fang is telling Eno, in his own nose-turned-up way (how do dogs get so smart in cartoons?) how humans think they’re superior to dogs. Of course they aren’t, though. They just think they are. In answer to this, Eno drops a scrap of food on the ground. Fang eyes it, trembling in his attempt to resist the urge and maintain his dignity until, overcome, he licks the fragment up off the floor, cursing Eno between gulps.
My sister, also, has a dog–a chihuahua anyway. She teaches him tricks by offering treats as rewards for sitting, staying, or whatever it may be. Clearly we people are the higher animals.
But as I do my job every day, I see a humbling resemblance between my efforts and those of Jack, my sister’s chihuahua. I’m a parking valet at a downtown hotel. The wage is low, but there are tips involved. You want tips. The trick is following learned formulae. “Did you want to get valet today? Let me get you started. – Need any help with the luggage? I’ll get you a cart. – Here, I’ll get the door for you, ma’am. – Your car, sir.” It’s all a little game. Do the right trick, get the treat. I shouldn’t feel too bad, though. Like Jack, we all have to eat.