While the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts strained to produce a gassy, weaselish decision on so-called "gay marriage," I was occupied with other things.
Our dog Cody was dying, succumbing rapidly to what the vet called an "aggressive" form of cancer. It had started with a tumor on his heart, and then the awful cells had gotten into his bloodstream, started breaking out on his skin, and, the way it looked at the end, had infested his lungs.
Every day, I spent as much time with him as I could. I took him on all his favorite rides, on his best-loved walks through all the smelliest places in the woods, and I did my best to explain what was happening to our two boys, Bud and Joe, aged nine and four. At home, I would lie with him on the floor and stroke him, and get him to swallow pain pills. It got harder and harder.
Tuesday night about 11:00, Cody went into convulsions, and I had to take him to the local vet's emergency room and have him put down.
While the Justices heard the arguments that led to their 4-3 vote to avoid an absolutely firm decision on same-sex legal unions, but open the door anyway, I opened the door to find two workers from the Department of Social Services one afternoon, here to "investigate a case of child neglect."
This was, of course, preposterous, but also frightening. It's like finding out you really live in the Soviet Union when you encounter a bureaucracy like that, answerable to no one. It especially suggests the days of Soviet informers when you find out that the D.S.S. designates your child's school, its teachers, and its administrators as "mandated reporters" of…of what?
Whatever the D.S.S. says, that's what.
We have cleared that situation up. We have also removed our younger son from his pre-school, and he now stays home with me. It has turned out to be a great blessing for him and for me that he does so. We don't get much of anything done, at least not of great adult import. But we do stay very busy.
At about the same time, our son Bud, who had been casually stuffing his new dental retainer in his pocket when he took meals, fished the device out and discovered it had broken in two. Such things cannot be fixed. He has to go to the dentist, and quickly, for another fitting, and to get another one. Another $2,000.
So you'll pardon me if, like most people, I have had little time or inclination to dig into the niceties of the SJC's vapid prose.
"The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals."
Wait a second. That sounds a whole lot more like the politically correct new prayer book of the Episcopal Church than it does the Massachusetts Constitution, which was written a very long time ago, when people didn't talk like that. I haven't had time to look it up, understand, but it sounds fishy.
"It (the Massachusetts Constitution, that is) forbids the creation of second-class citizens."
Oh, yeah? What about the graduated income tax? What about affirmative action in state schools?
"The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry."
No, it's not. That begs the question, which is, "Can two individuals of the same sex marry?" The self-evident answer is, "No," thank you very much.
As Howie Carr said the other day, "I could have some kind of ceremony where I marry my dog, but that isn't marriage."
But, as I say, I've been busy. I've been about as busy as most normal people, with the normal things that most concern most normal people. And I imagine, like most normal people, I have thought the most normal and immediate thing about all this, the thing that most normal people think most of the time about judges and politicians and the like:
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