One of my cousins was minding his own business at the county fair one summer day when Jesus called to him. What Jesus had to say was more an order than just plain old wisdom or love. “Buy the road grader,” said Jesus to my cousin. So my cousin bought the road grader. It was two stories tall so he had to build a whole new garage for it, and he didn’t really have any roads to grade (the town did that) but he bought it anyway.
This is exactly how I felt when I first saw Johnny Hanabi’s picture of the new big-boy bed, posted for all to see – all who had not been banned – on his Facebook page. Jesus came to me within milliseconds and directed me to dust off Grandma and Uncut her again.
Because Johnny is entirely about dogs and not at all about himself, there’s a dog on the bed. This time it’s Hiro, who seems to have taken Zen’s place as the house favorite. In any case, the fact that there’s a dog on the bed allows commenters to say things about the dog and not something like “Wait, is that a picture of your bed?” It took almost 20 comments before somebody – the New Yorker, of course – referred to Johnny and Tabby sleeping in the bed. Together. She also mentioned the dogs so we could all picture a family portrait, canine and human sleeping as one, instead of J and T tied to the bedposts.
What? Tied to the bedposts? I refer to earlier declarations from the big guy about the Goth way of having sex, which involves temperature play (is that the one where you dab gasoline on your lover and light tiny fires on her?) and restraints. I’m sure it would be only me who would notice that the headboard, with its open pattern of slats, would be perfect for handcuffs.
And of course I couldn’t help but think of the evening in Bolinas, fog circling the house, waves gurgling gently outside, when my family tilted their heads in pity and contempt as I tried to describe the eroticism of the night I think of as “Charlotte and the Thighs.” Puppy Charlotte was the last one of the litter to go, so Johnny slept with her and before he slept with her he put on a puppy porn show that had the crowds weeping and rending their garments and getting new tattoos.
But we’re all older now. The big guy wears specs and a paunch and is in charge of various things. Lots of the old crowd has drifted away and the new crowd seems younger and more Californian and maybe in love but in a shiba kind of way. (Although I stipulate I haven’t been within 3000 miles of any of it.) Sad and desultory as it is, Johnny’s posting the picture of his new bed seems kind of sweet and proud (new bedding too!) instead of erotic.
Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe I don’t care any more. Maybe Papa, the man, the myth, the legend is just a tee-shirt now.