On a Sunday night, a young couple and their golden lab were rushing to a make a train back into New York. They bought their tickets in the lobby and started to head down to the platform.
“Let’s take the stairs,” the woman said.
“No, no,” said the man and tugged the dog by the leash towards the escalator. He probably thought he was saving them time, but it was an unwise choice because escalators confuse and terrify dogs. Most dogs are bred for forests and farms and some dogs are bred for the indoors, but almost no dogs are bred to ride escalators.
Maybe someone is working breeding dogs to ride escalators and soon we’ll have mall dogs that will help their owners sniff out great deals and find the nearest toilet and remember where they parked. And as America’s farms continue to slowly die and disappear and more and more of the meat we consume is flown in from various parts of the world, mall dogs will be considered “working dogs” and will inherit all of the admiration and respect that we used to reserve for dogs who herded sheep and scared off wolves and hunted rats because in the future we won’t need help on our farms. In the future, we won’t have farms. In the future, we’ll just need help shopping.
When the dog saw the escalator, the dog immediately make it clear that it did not want to go on the escalator. It squatted low and stuck out its front legs and tried to turn around and go away from the escalator. But the man pulled at the dog’s leash and the dog’s paws slid on the metal platform and after a very brief struggle, the man dragged the dog onto the escalator.
Using a leash to drag a dog by the neck is never a good look for a dog owner. Everyone seems cool with using a leash to give a dog a few encouraging tugs, but anytime you start dragging a very resistent dog around by the neck, people are just going to assume that you beat the hell out of that dog. Overall, people don’t like seeing things handled at the neck. It gives them the willies. If you have a stubborn-ass dog and don’t want people to think that you’re a monster, invest in one of those dog body harnesses.
The dog hated the escalator. It cowered and shook and kept turning its head from side to side, trying to find some part of the escalator to stand on that wasn’t moving, but every part of an escalator is moving.
If dogs could go to hell, they wouldn’t push boulders up hills with their little wet noses or stand in water that recedes when try to lap it up with their little pink tongues below trees whose branches, heavy with Milkbones, are always just out of their little doggy reach. If dogs could go to hell, they would ride an escalator for the rest of eternity and they would never get to figure out what an escalator is or what in the world is going on. But dogs can’t go to hell. Dogs are pure and kind and have nothing but love in their hearts. When dogs are bad, it’s only because their owner has turned them bad. When dogs are bad, their owners go to Hell and the devil turns them into dogs who have to ride down an endless escalator for all of eternity. And when a bad dog dies, God makes the dog good again and brings it straight to heaven. No “if’s”, “and’s,” or “but’s” about it.
The people on the platform looked up at the dog on the escalator and laughed because the dog looked frightened and pathetic. We all think of dogs as being brave creatures and when we see one that is acting scared can either choose to confront the idea that nothing is an absolute and even the greatest amongst us are flawed or we can choose to laugh at the dog on the escalator. It’s much more fun and way less scary to laugh at a dog on an escalator so that’s what people usually go with.
The dog quickly calmed down once it reached the platform and when the train came, the dog boarded with his owners. The dog loved the train. The dog loved seeing all the different people and getting to walk up and down the aisles. The people loved seeing the dog and laughed because dogs aren’t really supposed to be on a train. When we see a dog on a train, we can choose to confront the idea that boundaries only exist because we arbitrarily create them or we can choose to laugh at the dog on the train. It’s much more fun and way less scary to laugh at the dog on the train, so that’s what people usually go with.
Anyway, the real lesson here is that sometimes you gotta be the dog on the escalator if you wanna be the dog on the train, you know?