Dinner At Art’s; Lessons In Parenting


So. Another day in paradise has begun with 27-degrees of clean mountain air and warm puppy fur. I had dinner last night with some new friends over to their house whereat the wine and food and conversation were stellar. When I got home after, the house was stuffy with dry heat and the dogs were pissed at me.

“You’re an asshole, Mooner,” the Squirt told me as I unlocked the door. “Open some windows and fill our water bowl before you end up with twenty pounds of hairy dog meat jerky.”

“Oh, Jeez, I’m sorry, kid,” I answered as I rushed to get fresh water. “My feet were cold before I left and I forgot to turn the thermostat down.”

I placed the red water bowl on its pad and Squirt lapped like crazy. “Where’s the goat dog, sweetie?”

“Go to your bathroom and see for yourself,” Squirt mumbled between slurps. “You are such a pinche asshole.”

When I went to the bathroom I found Yoda laying on his back with his tongue hanging out. He scrabbled to his feet when I turned on the light, and then tried to gain purchase on the sides of the tub to get out. He looked like he was on ice.

“He’s been stuck in there for three fucking hours, shithead—scampering to get out. He jumped in to lick the last drops of shower water and couldn’t get a grip.”

The Squirt started prodding my leg with her nose in a bullying way. “I’m turning you in to Child Protective Services, Mooner. You have got to make our welfare a higher priority.”

The adorable bundle of brown fur and right thinking poked me once more for emphasis, and said to me, looking straight at me she said, “Come on Yoda, let’s go shed some hair on his clean clothes.”

That reminded me that I was folding the clothes from three dryer loads of laundry I had done just before I left for dinner, and left them on the dining room table. Good thing I’ve grown a taste for dog hair, a thought that brings up another thought.

How much dog hair must I ingest before I start spitting up fur balls? How many pounds of white and brown and tan shed coats does it take to trigger my gack reflex? Does the pet’s coat length make any difference—would long-haired cat fur trigger faster than that of my short-haired puppies?

And what about curly Poodle hair? I don’t think I could choke enough of that shit down to form a decent sized fur ball. Will my fur balls be calcified like a cat’s? Would there be any value in them? Maybe I could carve them into arty objects and sell them at one of the fine art galleries here to town. I would, of course, first need to learn how to carve and that reminds me of an interesting conversation we had last night.

My host is a photographer, like Squattie, and seems to specialize in nature pics. Really good nature pics. He’s also quite bright, a voracious reader of dense philosophy and science, and he remembers every word he reads that might be important.

You remember when you were in school and you would use a yellow highlighter to mark all the shit you wanted to remember for the test? That’s my new friend’s brain. He can quote authors from books he might have read decades ago. Me, I’m so fucking crazy with the ADHD that I have trouble remembering what I can still remember when I can remember it.

Like I can remember, “Ask not what you can do for your your country…,” you know, the same shit that some mostly brain dead asshole like Rick “the Prick” Perry can recall. Then again, I could remember three things if I practiced in preparation for a fucking presidential debate.


Anyway, we somehow got into a discussion about art and what art is. OK, maybe that should be “what is art?” or maybe the question should be, “When does creativity transform personal expression and become Art?”

He and I got into a broad discussion on the question and his wife—my hostess and a likewise quite intelligent and engaging woman—served as moderator. She’s in the art business herself and with very experienced and cultured values re: the subject at hand, and was a terrific facilitator. She reminded me of that guy who had the first popular TV talk show, the guy who is married to the daughter of the old singer who supported the children’s hospital over to some town in Tennessee. Except that she’s much prettier and somewhat more likely to call your bullshit “bullshit” and likewise a poker player. We had quite lengthy discussions on poker.

So, my host—artist that he is—has specific views on the definition of Art and, likewise, as a quite smart man, is able to say many smart things in support of a position that he never quite takes. Instead, he allowed me to pontificate like an asshole on a subject I have no fucking knowledge or understanding about. OK, wait. I pontificated on a subject about which I lack any knowledge or understanding.

Since not knowing anything about a subject never seems to factor into my arguments, I listened to his thoughts and kept pondering and speaking my ideas. Maybe it was the wine, but my thoughts were swirling inside my skull for a half-hour—a confusing swill of gibberish. Then suddenly, the answer came to me.

“It becomes Art, big-A Art, the instant you decide to show another person. Before that, it’s simply your personal shit.”

Am I a smart fucker, or what?” was my thought last night. This morning, I’m more thinking, “I need to learn to listen more, talk less.”

Phil Donahue—that TV host is Margo Thomas’ hubbie and Danny Thomas’ son in law. Remember how he would enthusiastically move between groups with differing ideas and find ways to show support for their divergencies, regardless of their voracities? That was our hostess last night.

My Gram would say, if you asked her, she’d say, “Oh, who really gives a shit, Mooner. Art is Art an’ that shitty picture ya brung home this mornin’ ain’t no fuckin’ Art. Now pass me that plate a pork an’ leave me ta be.”

I don’t know what the rest of you think, but I’m thinking I might have a thread upon which to tug and unravel this “what is Art?” question. Anyway, today will be fifty degrees and the dogs are ready for a long walk. Maybe we’ll run into Allie McGraw again. I’ve been practicing a few lines to use on her to get a date.

Manana, y’all.

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3 Responses to “Dinner At Art’s; Lessons In Parenting”

  1. Squatlo says:

    “Art” would be getting Ms. McGraw to have anything to do with mere mortals, in my opinion… a goddess, she.

    I don’t know art. Tell folks that all the time. Some people have used the word in reference to my photos, but I think that’s totally subjective bullshit. It’s “art” if someone buys it, I guess.

    “Dog Hair: Don’t Leave Home Without It!” (’cause it’s everywhere you wanna go…)

  2. Cynthianne says:

    Mooner- Herewith my morsels of wisdumb:

    1. It’s art if you say it is. When I was a wide-eyed naif at the Univ. of New Mexico many, many moons ago, one of my favorite profs created his artwork by driving his car over metal trash cans. I really admired his chutzpah.

    2. Dry air in NM is a pain in the epidermis, especially when you are a wrinklie like me. During the winter, I keep a large pot full of water on the back burner of the stove set on low. Works great.

    Off-topic addendum:

    If you need another good cause to support, there’s going to be a rally for choice at the rotunda at the Capital Building in Santa Fe this Friday at 1:30. It’s the 40th anniversary of Roe vs Wade. Info on http://www.nowsantafe.org. Considering the trend in the country today, we ebil librul feminazis need all the help we can get.

  3. Mooner Johnson needs sexing says:

    Squat. Art takes a back seat when another child kills children with a fucking assault rifle. This one happened ever so close to home down to ABQ. Ugh.

    C’anne. This entire Art dealio is a chicken/eggie scenario to me. One man’s art is another man’s finger paint on toilet paper. But Friday sounds like fun. I have a morning appointment in ABQ and I’m unsure how long that will take and then the drive back to Santa Fe, but I’ll find out.

    A woman’s right to choose is sacred!

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