(This story is part of the collection of essays in my first book, “Rebel without a Minivan.”Since we just adopted a new puppy and are reliving those awesome housebreaking days all over again, I thought I would share it here!)
Once we got our new puppy, I immediately started counting the days to when he could start obedience school.
“I know they can’t help housebreak him,” I said to my mother as I cleaned up another puddle in the kitchen. “But with any luck, in eight weeks I will have a dog that comes when I call him, sits, lies down, and stays on command.”
This got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if they had obedience school for kids? An eight-week program would teach such basics as, “Make your bed,” “Go to sleep,” and “Eat what I put in front of you.” Then, maybe you could do an extended obedience program that teaches more complex commands such as, “No whining,” “Turn off the TV,” and “Do your homework.” I know that technically, it’s supposed to be my job to teach them that, but since they don’t seem to be getting the point from me, a little obedience school reinforcement couldn’t hurt.
Then I thought, “Hey, why limit this to kids? How about an obedience school for husbands?”
The basic eight-week program would cover such necessities as “Do the dishes,” “Take out the Garbage,” and “Put your socks in the hamper.” Then you could do an additional program that would have them respond positively to such commands as “Give me the credit card, I’m going shoe shopping,” “Bathe the kids and put them to bed while I lounge on the sofa and do my nails,” and “Lets go see that new Chick Flick tonight.”
The possibilities give me goose bumps.
My husband, of course, would probably think there should be an obedience program for wives, as well. Forget mundane commands like “Pick up the Dry Cleaning.” His school would covers things like, “Could you wear something sexy to bed tonight instead of that ratty, old t-shirt,” “Could we have something else for supper besides meatloaf,” and “Let’s go see that mindless new action film starring that aging actor who’s really too old to be doing this and that hot model-turned actress who couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag.”
Oh yeah, he would loooove that!
But this is my fantasy, so we’ll move on.
In the same way that some people with driving violations have to go to traffic school, I would love to be able to send rude people to manners school. The guy who repeatedly tries to sneak 20 groceries on the 10 items or less line; the lady who swoops in and takes the parking spot you’ve been waiting for at the mall; the person who snorts and huffs and sighs loudly and taps their nails when they’re waiting for you to finish paying for something and its taking a long time but its not your fault because the debit card machine isn’t working. Yeah, those people. Send ‘em off to obedience school and teach them “No extra groceries,” “No stealing spots,” and “No impatient, huffy noises!”
I’d like to see schools for garbage men that teaches them not to dump half the garbage in my driveway when they empty the cans into their truck; schools for inconsiderate parents that teaches them not to send their coughing, sneezing, typhoid-carrying kids to my house for a playdate; and a school that teaches other dog owners that they do, in fact, have to clean up after their dog when he goes potty on my lawn.
Yes, this would certainly make life nice and easy. But then, I suppose, I would miss out on all the rewards of actually achieving the same results by utilizing my own communication skills. Not that I’m a big fan of confrontation. But there’s something to be said for working out your own problems.
I was thinking about all of this when I ran into a friend at the coffee shop.
“Where are you off to?” he asked.
“I’m on my way to obedience school.”
“Oh really,” he said. “Is your husband sending you?”
Apparently, we need an obedience school for wise-cracking friends, as well.