Terrified Tartuffe

Oh, ho, it’s Halloween. Despite all the shrieking spectres, the growling zombies and the lascivious bloody vampires, the most terrified creature in the room is Tartuffe. He’s our old boy husky mutt. He’s coming on fourteen. He’s quite blind. He stays entirely still, his little blue eyes darting around, then BANG – POP! WHIIIIIIZZZZZ another firecracker- and he bolts head first right into a wall. Terrible. I know. But also…a little bit funny. So we have to keep him on a short leash so he doesn’t brain himself.

“Comedy is tragedy plus time”, sayeth Carol Burnett.

This event reminds me of driving with my diabetic Dad through New York, trying to get back to our hotel after watching the Broadway musical, The Titanic. I think Dad’s curtain closer was, “Not bad. I liked the blonde. But I’m glad the ship finally sunk. I have to piss.” Which is better than his assessment of A Doll’s House which was “God damn bitch, he gave her everything and what does she do? Piss on him.”

My Dad, all his life, prided himself on being able to navigate his way through any city expertly, the proverbial “never needing a map” old school style of driving. There were no GPSs back then. We drove in circles for over an hour and he got angrier and angrier, cursing out each inevitable off ramp over the wrong bridge. Finally we ended up in a dark rowdy and rundown part of town and my Dad asked me if I had any idea where we were… “We’re in harlem. At one o’clock in the morning.” And it’s tragic, right? His pride. His fear that he’s putting us in danger. His growing blindness. His disorientation. His bladder about to burst. But all I can do is laugh. “You keep laughing, kid, I’m gonna knock your block off”. Which only made me want to laugh more.

I guess if we can laugh at it, we can get through it. Nobody can joke about cancer like a person with cancer. Some kind of survival technique.

I wish I could tell that to the big fat terrified racoon who has scrambled up a little too high on my neighbour’s tree. I can see the whites of his eyes from my front gate. Also, not a fan of firecrackers. Mind you, these three ringed cocky thieves with their watchful eyes and sneaky little “mwahahahaha” hands…they could use a shock of fear once a year.


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  1. norma

    tartuffe chewed my shoes once when i was visiting you. royal was staying at your place for a show he was in. funny what you remember. tartuffe has the softest fur of any medium sized dog i have ever met. he fourteen and almost blind. ah, poor little fella. and scared of loud noises. will imagine giving him a little pet on the head to celebrate this lovely story.

  2. Kathleen

    Do we have the same Dad? I think so, except perhaps minus the “real” curse words. My Dad made up his own. A very creative process, yet just as effective.

  3. Leah

    I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Tartuffe, only heard you talk about him. so glad to see a picture of him. he’s beautiful.

  4. Bubbles LaRue

    I love your dad’s review of A Doll’s House. Wonder how he would have liked Taming of the Shrew.

    1. Lucia Frangione

      Oh Taming of the Shrew he would have loved, indeed! He also took me to see “Cats” his choice, not mine. And he promptly fell asleep in the balcony. About halfway through the god awful thing, he peered over the rail and looked down at all the earnest furry leapers and said “What the hell are they doing?” And I said, “Dad, they’re cats.” He snorted and fell back asleep.

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