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Rated: 18+ · Essay · Comedy · #835955
In which I trace the seeds of my depression back to the family dog.
Blaming My Problems on Teddie

Letter to My Dear Friends:

Many of you are sitting there in your offices at work right now, crunching numbers, dreaming up marketing strategies, writing briefs, designing briefs and wondering what you are going to say to your boss when he asks why there is a pool of hot coffee in your shoes.

(This happened to me at a job long ago, but I’m not going into details.)

But even as you are doing the world’s important work, I know where your mind is really at. You are really wondering what new wretchedness is happening to me.

Okay, I’m hallucinating now, that you are actually thinking of me, but in my tiny mind, you are thinking, if only she would make up her mind, and leave the country, we could all relax a little.

There are two answers to explain my strange behavior.

1. Genetics

2. Medication

3. A dog named Teddie

That’s three.

You have to have grown up in the Cruz household to understand what just hearing the word Teddie will do to any one of us.

Teddie was a little, black and whiter terrier dog who barked at everything. He drove us all crazy because he would hide under the house where no one could get him and bark until he was hoarse. And even then he wouldn’t quit. You could still hear his raspy squeak going, hargh-hargh, hargh-hargh!

Even my dad, who barely noticed the '64 earthquake, would be driven into a fit of grabbing a broom and pounding the handle on the floor above Teddie to make him stop.

I-nah-tinga-binga! I-nah! I-nah! he would yell. This is some sort of Filipino derivative slang for words I cannot print here. It never worked.

Later Teddie developed an even more annoying habit. Scratching.

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Itch, itch, itch.

Teddie was allergic to fleas.
He developed mange.
What does this have to do with anything?

I am allergic to my medication. I got to feel good for a total of about 6 hours over the last 5 weeks. This medicine gave me energy and then turned around and changed its mind and put me to sleep.
This medicine made me unable to drive.
This medicine made me a zombie.

This explains how come I wrote such pathetic whinings recently, because: the worst of it was, this medicine exacerbated exactly what it was supposed to relieve: depression, anxiety, and genital mutation. (No, I’m not sending pictures.)

I turned into a freak. I was evil all the time. All The Time.

It started out as mental fogginess.

John: Honey, I am going to buy a Harley this weekend with $20,000 we don’t have. I’m taking Bambi from work, all of 22 years old, for a test ride on your birthday.

Me: Uh? If you think that’s best honey. . .

John: What color Harley should I get?

Me: eels . . .

Then I got dizzy a lot.

John: Honey, have you seen my wallet, socks, high school diploma? (you name it, he's lost it and I know where it is.)
Honey, where are you? I'm talking to you!!!
What're you doing on the floor???

Then, I got real sleepy.

John’s Mom & Dad: (over for pizza) The weather sure has been real nice.

Me: (I am staring at my lap and pause to lift my head and register who is talking to me.) Uh?

John: Moochie, do not set fire to your mother’s feet!

John’s Mom & Dad: Real nice.

Me: ‘Scuse me. (I get up and go to my room. Close the door and fall asleep.)

Then I got angry.
I ranted for days. I was loud.
Then I got more depressed.
I became easily aggravated. If Moochie even looked at me wrong, I went bat-stark nuts.
I left whatever I was doing so often and locked myself in my bedroom.

Then I started having abnormal thoughts. What do you mean started you ask?

Then I started having very bad dreams. Very bad.

After 4 weeks of evility, the hives came. And now my body is covered with them. I can’t stop itching. My skin burns and flames. Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Visions of Teddie greet me everywhere.
Teddie; standing on three legs while one back leg scratches under his flanks.

Teddie; perched on his butt, one leg up flailing away at his side. Every time he did this, he fell over. This never kept him from getting up and doing it again and again and again.

Teddie; rubbing his back against the bottom of a stool. Scrape, scrape, scrape.

Oh god, it drove me nuts!

You didn’t even have to see him to know when he was going at it. You could hear his dog-tags jingling rapidly off in the distance. Or a rhythmic thump-thump-thump as he hit an elbow over and over against a wall.

If any of us were allowed to swear at home, the air would have been blue with --- dammit Teddie, will you knock it off?

Poor Teddie.
My mom tried everything. Baths, collars, pills, prayers, powders . . .

There were times when you couldn’t breath because the flea powder was so thick, and then he’d come over and sit by you and start going at it and the powder would come flying off him in clouds.

John Philip Sousa! no wonder the entire Cruz family is insane.

You don’t know the half of it.
You don’t know that there is still some dried chicken stuck to the ceiling where my dad flung it in a fit of anger at the dinner table. You can’t see it now, because a new, false ceiling was installed under it, but it’s still there.

You don’t know about the time my brother Dan, stuck a giant bullfrog’s head in his mouth, just to see if it would fit. Did it with the family cat’s head, too.

You don’t know how many cars my sister Karen wrecked. The count is up to 4 now as the truth is just starting to come out. (She was kicked out of two different high schools.)

You don’t know about the time my brother Jon tied a dead rat to the lowest cherry tree limb and my dad, just coming home after a hard day at work, walked right into with his face.

I-nah! I-nah!

All this I am sure is the result of putting up with this infested dog named Teddie. I am sure of it. Teddie chased cars too, and he never got hit. Not once. He would disappear for days and we would think, finally, he's gone. Finally. But he always found his way back home. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. Scab. scab. scab.

The worst, I think, was when he got into the laundry and chewed holes in everybody's underwear. And to think, Kenny, my other brother, got blamed for that.

I have been lathering my body with cortisone. I am weaning myself off this death medicine. I am pouring the coffee out of my shoe back into my cup. After which, my husband is taking me to the humane society because he can’t stand the scratching anymore.

I-nah! I-nah!
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