Hello Mr. Magazine - - LOVE AND LET GO - By Adam Edger­ton

My part­ner Sam re­ally wanted a dog, which ter­ri­fied me be­cause I knew I would kill it. I am the per­son who sees the worst pos­si­ble sce­nario in clear, neu­rotic de­tail. The leash would snap, and then a trac­tor-trailer car­ry­ing ele­phants to the cir­cus would run the thing over, and I would be in the street, sob­bing, weep­ing, the bro­ken leash dan­gling from my arm like a hang­man’s rope. Then Sam would break up with me, and I’d wind up in jail for an­i­mal cru­elty.

I am the per­son whose phone is al­ways cracked. I am the per­son who leaves his wal­let at the gro­cery check­out, and poor Gla­dys the Gro­cery Bag­ger with her white hair askew comes run­ning af­ter me, sans walker, Ex­cuse me, sir! I once threw my toll transpon­der, nor­mally glued to the wind­shield, in a trash­can at a gas sta­tion. How would I care for a small, help­less an­i­mal?

Sam bought books to pre­pare us (mean­ing, me) for the dog, books on house train­ing and ca­nine kinder­garten and dog whis­per­ing. Dogs for Dum­mies. He read them, stu­diously and care­fully, like one of his court briefs.

I wouldn’t touch the damn things. “Won’t you at least read a chap­ter?” he would ask. I couldn’t tell him the truth, that we wouldn’t need those books be­cause I would be­come Adam, the Ca­nine Killer, when I dropped a piece of poi­sonous choco­late on the floor. Or maybe when a ra­bid squir­rel cat­a­pulted it­self into our condo and sunk its foam­ing teeth into its trem­bling flesh, chit­ter­ing, You’re a ter­ri­ble par­ent! In my night­mares, squir­rels talk only in ac­cu­sa­tions.

“He’s not an it!” Sam was yelling at me, look­ing at the web­site for our de­signer dog breeder from Ten­nessee. I have al­ler­gic re­ac­tions to life, so we had set­tled on one of the most hy­poal­ler­genic breeds pos­si­ble, a mix of toy poo­dle and Cav­a­lier King Charles Spaniel. He is check­ing out flights for our un­born child. “What in the hell is wrong with you?”

“It,” I said, “has not been con­ceived yet. It’s not even a fe­tus.” “I’m be­gin­ning to think you don’t want this dog.” “You can’t read a book and be a good a par­ent!” I said.

The ar­gu­ment went on for weeks, un­til I fi­nally sat down and skimmed through the books long enough to mem­o­rize a few ba­sic facts and spit

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