Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Come Back Little Sheba

There's probably not one in a hundred who will recognize the title to this piece. The title itself has caused me to temporarily divert from what I had planned to write about. I hope I can find my way back to the theme after awhile. Come Back Little Sheeba was a movie starring Shirley Booth. Sheba was the Booth character's dog who had run away some years before the time of the movie setting. I have never been able to watch the movie, even though Shirley Booth won an Academy Award for her role. I just have a hard time looking at Shirley Booth, and a harder time listening to her whine "come back little Sheba". When I was growing up, Booth was the star of a television show called Hazel. Hazel was a maid. A white maid, because no TV stars were allowed to be black back then. This, despite the fact that almost all maids were black in those days. Blacks could play maids on T.V. they just could not have any lines. Today the majority of maids are hispanic and, a good number are undocumented aliens. There is still no T.V. show featuring an undocumented alien maid, but I don't think T.V. would shy away from that anymore. If they could get that woman from Desperate Housewives who plays Gabriella. At any rate. Hazel was an awful show and Hazel was a disgusting character. She spent the entire five or six years of the series run butting into other people's business, screwing up something big time by doing it, and then getting out of the mess in a heartwarming way that made the previously violated characters love her even more. My brother and I watched the show religiously. At the moment Hazel started on the inevitable downward slope in the episode, we would both bellow "butt out Hazel". This would be accompanied by disgusted noises, rolled eyeballs and occasionally rolled up socks being thrown at the television screen.

But come back to my Sheba. My partner, who spends a good portion of his time thinking about how he can be made to look more eccentric, has taken to bringing a huge Great Pyreneese Dog to work. The dog's name is Sheba. Sheba looks less like a dog than a polar bear, and not that cute polar bear cub on the Christmas Coke commercial. More like the mom and dad polar bear. She has mounds of beautiful white hair and probably weighs about 100 pounds. She is a very shy dog. She is also very well behaved. But she is none the less quite distracting. She gets boored in my partners office and wanders the halls dropping in on one lawyer or another. You will be working on something and turn around to find yourself face to face with a polar bear. Often she will slink in (she moves very quietly for a bear sized dog) and the first clue that you have that she is in your office is when she sticks her nose under your dangling had and tries to get you to pet her. If you wanted to, you could pet her for the rest of the work day and she would never move.But eventually you have to take a phone call and she gives you one more sad look and then wanders on to the next office.

My partner's eccentiricities always end at some point. There is a pool among the lawyers to guess the last date we will see Sheba. One good poop on a rug would move that date up to "immediatly" but, so far, Sheba has proven to be very disciplined. So the betting is that when things get hot here in Austin, which could happen any minute , my partner will leave the dog at home to avoid the daily walks to the capitol. I suppose that's OK, but it means that the dog will probably come back next November.It would probably behoove the rest of us to stage a "tragedy" at the office, smuggle in some outside dog poop, or just tell my partner that the dog had problems in his absence and that we could not tolerate cleaning it up any more.It would never cross our minds to just question the collective professional demanor of a downtown law office in which a polar bear circles the floor for 10 hours every day.We are not a very direct bunch.

I will say that I will miss the dog. I see now why they keep pets around senior living facilities. They do brighten your day. This dog is a little laid back for me though. I may have to bring my dog to work. Amber would run down the hall at break neck speed and jump up on everyone that came in the office. Amber is the kind of dog who would ruin the office gig for all other dogs. She is probably just what we need around here right now.


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