RESOLVING THE “CODY DILEMMA”
Sometimes things are so ridiculous that all one can do is laugh about them, even if it’s not particularly appropriate. Here’s short story about a real event that I found hilarious, even though no one else involved seemed to share my sense of humor:
About a year ago, my ex-wife Karen called me to say that she’d just purchased a Christmas wreath for my 76-year-old mother to hang on her front door. She wanted to know if the kids and I would like to sign the note to accompany the wreath before she delivered it. (At the time, my mother and I lived about 200 yards apart, separated by a stand of mixed deciduous and coniferous trees. An old rough trail connected the two homes, as did a nearby power line and the confluence of our driveways.) When Karen stopped by on that very dark night to collect our signatures, she was accompanied by her year-old Westie terrier, a cute white hyper 15-pound dog named Cody that she and the kids love. She left him outdoors, tethered by his leash to my front door, while he and my 95-pound golden retriever, Tucson, sniffed each other. When she left, she deposited Cody into the passenger seat of her big black Toyota Tundra and trundled on over to Mom’s place, where she left Cody in the truck and kept it running.
About 10 minutes later, my phone rang. It was Karen, calling from her cell phone. She was standing outside of my Mom’s house and wanted to know whether she could borrow a hammer. Sure, I told her, but Mom had a hammer, too, so there was no need for her to come all the way back over to get mine. She said she didn’t want to go back inside and bother my mother again. She had just come outside to discover that Cody, excited by my dog, who was sitting out in Mom’s driveway, had managed to trigger the truck’s electronic locks. Karen wanted a hammer to break one of her windows so she could get inside. “Don’t you have a backup key somewhere?” I asked. (She had made our daughter Olivia put an extra key under her own car, in case of emergencies.) She said that her backup key was on Olivia’s key ring, which was not good news because only the day before, Olivia had taken her car in for repairs and left all her keys there. Since it was now about 8 p.m., the auto shop was closed. I asked Karen whether she had any other means of getting into her truck, and she said that she an extra electronic opener back at her place. I told her that Olivia could use my car to drive her back to her place to get the opener—a round trip of 50-60 minutes.
After they had been gone for about 20-30 minutes, my phone rang. It was my mother, who gets frantic about a lot of things. She wanted to know if I would come and get my dog. She said that Tucson was stirring up Cody, and she was afraid that somehow Cody was going to put the truck into gear—an impossibility in a vehicle with automatic transmission, since Cody would be unable to step on the brake while simultaneously pulling the gear shift back and down—and smash into her garage. I started to laugh at my mother’s suggestion, but she did not appreciate my joviality. I tried to explain why her garage was safe, but she clearly didn’t believe that I had all my facts straight. I said I’d go to my back door and call my dog, who almost always came running when I called because he usually assumed that I was calling because it was dinner time. This time, however, five minutes of yelling and loud whistling produced no results. It’s possible that he couldn’t hear me over the sound of Karen’s truck engine. I called Mom back and told her that (a) I could put on a headlamp and tromp through the deep snow and utter darkness to her place and grab my dog, or (b) she could open her garage, call my dog inside, and keep him there until Karen and Olivia arrived. She selected Option B.
Sometime later, my phone rang again. It was Mom. Tucson was in the garage, but she was still worried about the smashing power of Karen’s truck, even though she couldn’t see Cody in the window anymore. She wanted to know if it were possible for Cody to unlock the door. I said I thought that was possible but unlikely. She wanted to know if I would I come over and check. I suggested that she walk outside herself and do it since the truck was about 10 feet away from her garage; she did not appreciate me delegating this job to her. So I looked at the clock on my kitchen wall and estimated that Karen and Olivia would be back any minute. I informed Mom, who wasn’t so sure. Then, while we were talking, she saw headlights and told me Karen and Olivia were just driving in.
About ten minutes later, Olivia pulled in to my garage and came inside. “Everything okay?” I asked. “Yes,” she said, “sort of.” After all that effort, Karen’s opener hadn’t worked, so Karen had borrowed a hammer from Mom after all and had broken out a back rear window. Inside, excitable Cody, who had been left there with his leash on, had wrapped himself around the steering column and the seat, and was practically immobilized. I laughed at this image, and my daughter frowned and told me sternly that it wasn’t very funny. If Cody had fallen off the seat, she said, he probably would’ve choked himself to death. Cody is cute and I like him, but this image made me want to laugh even more. I had to go to another room and giggle quietly by myself.
When Karen got home with her dog, her truck and her broken window, she tried her opener again, and for some reason it worked.
Maybe I’m an insensitive asshole, but even that made me smile.