Water Under the Bridge

A walk in the park can get you thinking about Hillary Clinton.

A sympathetic-looking veterinarian declared on one of the morning talk shows that, "Your dog will much prefer an hour roaming about a park to gorging on some fattening snack." That night, unable to resist one of those long looks my dog gives me, when pining for attention, I decided to take Shoshana out for a walk in the park.

She first stopped next to a kiosk on Ben Yehuda Street, lifted a hind leg and peed. Recently, I must say, she has exhibited transgender-like traits, and as though that were not enough, she has the habit of lifting up the wrong hind leg. She uses the right leg when she wants to mark a particular territory while urinating on the left, and the left leg when she intends to mark somewhere on the right. So she's transgendered - and doesn't know her right from her left, just like me.

But this time it wasn't Shoshana's lack of coordination that troubled me. My talented dog chose as her urination target a pile of Jerusalem Post Friday editions, next to the stand. Justifiably furious, the owner stepped out of his booth. Without arguing, I paid for a bundle of newspapers that would never have been purchased. As it turns out, I told the kiosk guy, the dog had done him a favor.

Avi Ofer

"Don't flatter yourself," he replied. "She's simply untrained."

I wish I could believe in Shoshana's naive innocence, but the truth is that the dog didn't pee on the box of soft drinks next to the pile of newspapers, nor did she choose the little sapling that stood just half a leash-length away from the kiosk.

This could only be taken - I thought silently - as a painful but true allegorical declaration relating to the state of print media. Shoshana, a dog raised in a house that truly values the printed word, who was supposed to be watchdog for a practitioner of print journalism, turns out be the one who pisses at newspapers! In her defense, one might point to The Jerusalem Post's rightward slant. On the other hand, the woman who sometimes takes care of Shoshana has long claimed that she will fight for anyone's right to state his or her views, and also happens to have a close friend who works at the Post.

There is, however, a totally different possible interpretation, I sadly reflected: Perhaps, as school guidance counselors say - using jargon I came to know quite well as the mother of three former subjects of the Education Ministry - this is just a case of "acting-out?" That is to say, perhaps Shoshana peed on newspapers, of all objects, in order to protest the fact that my work steals time from her? (Of course, had she again urinated on the silk plant outside of the kosher schnitzel restaurant, as she had a few days earlier, literature professors might have expounded on her feelings of separation from nature or urban alienation ).

The fact that she did not notice that her target was The Jerusalem Post, and not Haaretz, simply attests to the fact that she is, after all, just a dog.

I threw the bundle of newspapers in a trash bin, but couldn't resist the temptation and took a look at the dry part of the paper at the bottom of the pile.

Thus, sitting in the park near the Hilton Hotel, against the backdrop of boats and the sunset, I read about Yair Netanyahu's 19th birthday last week, and about the question of whether his father should have left his son's party to attend to the helicopter wreck in Romania. I started to read one of the opinion columns about Chelsea Clinton's marriage, but barely finished the first three lines when the newspaper flew off in the wind, which left me wondering: If Clinton was marrying a Jewish boy - I had to ask myself - why didn't she decide to wed one of my own children? Not that I have anything against my sons' partners; on the contrary.

You see, I have my own history with the White House. My contacts with it are preordained disappointments. I never received a reply to the open letter I wrote to President Obama when word got out that he was looking to adopt a black dog of mixed pedigree, and I offered him Shoshana, for the everlasting glory of the Jewish people. Nor did my letters of encouragement to Hillary Clinton ever win a response: Striking my favorite chord of hypocrisy, I proposed that she ought to leave her unfaithful husband (I wasn't the only one; a brasher female journalist colleague relayed similar messages to Hillary, each one of us privately hoping to be the woman who would help teach that mischievous boy Bill the wonders of monogamy ).

Wary of being humiliated again in public, I have tried to push into unconsciousness all thoughts of offering friendship to Hillary, the secretary of state I so admire (and not just because of the comparison to the grotesque figure who serves in the same capacity in our own state ).

There is thus nothing left for me to do but to regret the fact that Chelsea married a Jewish guy without having chosen one of the three exemplary Jewish men I raised in my house. Not that I find Chelsea especially appealing. I know nothing about her, apart from the fact that she owned a cat called Socks - and that would have made my visits to the home of my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, with Shoshana by my side, impossible. But Chelsea's groom definitely seems acceptable, and I cannot say a bad word about my own future in-laws.

Still, all is lost now. I wasn't even invited to a wedding I very much would have enjoyed attending. I would have been able to meet prestigious journalists, famous artists and distinguished statesmen. Chelsea should be happy that her parents have such nice friends. That thought only added to feelings of pity for Yair Netanyahu, since the list of persons invited to his birthday party by his parents included individuals of substantially less stature and stardom.