Lance recently confessed that he doesn’t watch TV news. I don’t either — for the most part. But occasionally it sneaks up on you. Last night while waiting up for Alan I caught the 11 p.m. newscast on WXYZ, aka the station that employs Fat Ass. The investigative report was about Roy. Roy is — was — a “teacup chihuahua,” which I assume is like a regular chihuahua, only smaller.
(I love writing “chihuahua.” It’s one of those words like “hors d’oeuvre,” where just learning the correct spelling feels like an accomplishment worthy of your resume.)
Anyway, the story was about the dangers of putting your teacup chihuahua in daycare with the wrong sort of companions. I’m not kidding. Evidently Roy’s owner had him in daycare; why, we weren’t told. Perhaps he was nervous, like all chihuahuas. Imagine living in a world of giants, and you’d be nervous too. But at some point Roy was placed in a cage with “a larger dog,” which wasn’t a helpful description, since virtually every dog in creation is larger than a teacup chihuahua. And the larger dog — “a terrier” is the only description we got — killed Roy.
“Of course he did,” Lance said when I told him the sad story today. “He thought Roy was a rat.”
I’m sure he did. Terriers are famously tenacious ratters. They clamp onto the back of the neck, give a few brisk shakes, and goodbye rat. Sometimes they trot around in a proud circle, shaking the dead rat. Sometimes they drop it and move on to the next one. These details we weren’t given. All we heard was how sad Roy’s owner was, and how sorry she was that she put him in dog daycare with people so thoughtless as to kennel him with a dog who thought he was a rodent.
Roy’s owner only had one photo of Roy, or at least the news crew only got one. We came back to the picture of Roy, goggle-eyed and winsome, again and again. “I miss him,” the owner said, tearing up. “I really do.”
I’m sure she does. The question is, however: Is this report worthy of a top-10 TV news market?
Silly question. Of course it is. That’s been the biggest shock, skipping the 90 or so places between Fort Wayne and Detroit. While FW TV news pitched its product to the mouth-breathing demographic, they didn’t dive quite so enthusiastically for the bottom of the barrel as they do here. I’m sure coming up with a news mix for such a sprawling community is quite the challenge. Do you pitch to the people who keep their TVs on all day long and choose their news based on which has the better lead-in? Or do you go for the wealthier suburbanites, who have the money but, frankly, no interest in what’s happening in, oh, Warren?
Also a silly question. You go with the best video. And in Detroit, there’s never a shortage. Last week, the mayor announced his campaign for re-election, in the wake of yet another story about his fiscal irresponsibility. His father got up and compared his son’s critics to Nazis. His mother got up and had a teeny freak-out; I thought we’d need smelling salts. The mayor himself cried. “I ain’t cried since I was 10 years old,” he said.
I should watch the news more often. Where else can you get entertainment like this at these prices?
POSTSCRIPT: When Alan was a feature writer, he wrote a story about God’s Tiny Kennel, a house we passed in Hicksville (yes, really), Ohio en route to Defiance. There was a sign out front that read “God’s Tiny Kennel — Chihuahua Stud Service.” It turned out the lady was a devout Christian who prayed over every litter before she let them go.
“Would Spriggy kill Roy if they were kenneled together?” I wondered tonight.
“No, he’d just make him his bitch,” Alan replied.