All the signposts along our parallel roads were clearly visible, and they led Dad and me to this contentious point in our relationship. It germinated in Dad’s mind (and I use the term ‘mind’ in the loosest possible sense), while he was watching the Republican and Democratic debates. He said, “Flap, I think it’s time that you and I had a debate so that we can settle, once and for all, who is better at logic, articulation and thinking on our feet – or, in your case, paws. Dad, as a master of grandiloquence and deluded wisdom, would like nothing better than to upstage his mental superior. So, being the ever-affable companion, I agreed to this absurd suggestion, and the date was set.
Dad contacted a local affiliate of CNN (Canine News Network), and they agreed to televise the event and provide an objective moderator. The theme of the debate was existentialism, specifically a discussion of whether we truly exist on this planet or is it all an illusion (as in The Matrix). There was a large studio audience composed of a wide variety of prospective voters, including various races, ethnicities and dog breeds. The following is a partial transcript of the proceedings:
MODERATOR: Good evening and welcome to this historic first debate between a dog and his human companion. The rules are simple. There are no rules. We will rely on your sense of courtesy and decorum to engage in a respectful discussion (this guy had no idea with whom he was dealing). I’ll start with a question. Flapjack, you have stated that we must exist because nobody could ever have conceived of an illusion which contained a horrific obscenity like your dad. Do you have any evidentiary support for this premise?
FLAPJACK: Thank you. First I would like to thank CNN and all the viewers for giving us the opportunity..
DAD: You are a blatant liar!
MODERATOR: Dad, please restrain yourself. Flapjack has not yet began to answer the question.
FLAPJACK: Thanks. If our existence was nothing more than thoughts implanted by some higher intelligence, how would one explain all the random chaos and suffering in the world, such as the agony of living with Dad?
DAD: If you were something other than the dog-dolt that you are, you would understand that chaos and suffering would necessarily be part of the illusion. Did that ever occur to you, imbecile?
FLAPJACK: If that premise was something more than the fallacious rambling of a proven lunatic, then yes, it might have occurred to me. In fact, you are tangible proof of reality gone terribly wrong.
DAD: And you are proof that nightmares can seem so incredibly real.
MODERATOR: Gentlemen..um..gentleman and gentle dog, we rely on you both to remain on point and refrain from personal attacks. Now, Dad, next question. If our existence is an illusion, do you believe we can control situations in what we think are our lives?
DAD: Oh, how I’ve tried. My esteemed opponent is virtually impossible to live with, much less control. I believe our mind-manipulators purposely throw abominations at us for their own entertainment, and render it impossible for us to merely will those things away. My God, given the power, I would have willed this loquacious leg-lifter out of my life years ago. But, here he stands, with that smirk on his face, and that pompous posturing…man, I’d like to just walk over there and…
FLAPJACK: I’d like to exercise my right of rebuttal. I believe..
DAD: Right of rebuttal? I’ll show you a little rebuttal when we get home.
FLAPJACK: Yeah? Well, bring it on, Dream Boy..
At this point, Dad lunged at me, to the collective gasp of the studio audience. We fell to the ground, his hands around my throat and my paws in his face. The moderator walked away in despair and the network cut to a commercial. Moments later, the police took Dad away on animal abuse charges (seems that there were more than a few witnesses). I wonder if a jail cell feels like an illusion? This never should have happened. He never should have proposed this stupid event. And I never should have taken ‘de-bait’.