Thursday, December 10, 2009

OPINION: Sylvia Studies Catalogs and Switches Careers With A Suddenness

By Anne Sullivan

“Wow, will you look at that,” Sylvia exclaimed, waving a Christmas catalog in my face.
“What?” I said, not raising my eyes from the cherished L.L. Bean catalog.
“It’s right here in the National Geographic catalog.” Sylvia thrust the catalog into my lap. “It’s a camera.”
“I already have a camera. As a matter of fact I have three but I only use one,” I said.
Sylvia’s excitement was not to be discouraged. “This is a camera for dogs,” she cried, “a dog’s view of life. With a camera like this I could shoot pictures for my column. And we all know one picture is worth a thousand words. I could really do some powerful articles. I want one for Christmas.”
I cut right down to the nitty gritty. “How much is it?”
“Only $45.95,” she answered in a small voice.
“Only? That’s a lot of money.”
“But look at what I’d get.” She put her paw on the ad and read, “ ‘Water resistant and extremely durable, the internal memory stores many photos. Included is a USB cable and lithium-ion battery. For ages 8 and up.’ That’s me to a tee. I’m going to write Santa this very minute.”
“It’s still a lot of money and you haven’t yet figured out how to pay for the Moushelter.”
“’Ask and ye shall receive,’” quoted Sylvia. “Something will turn up.”
“I hope so or those mice are going to be very upset. They were so excited when you told them about it at the meeting yesterday. The sum of $45.95 would go a long way towards building the shelter.”
“I suppose so,” she admitted, “but that was before I saw this nifty camera. Do you know that it would fit right on my collar and weighs hardly anything? I really really want it.”
I played for time, asking, “What are you planning to take pictures of?”
“The sky’s the limit. Scenery, that’s what I’d like to take the most. And then wild animals, elk and deer and Brandy. People’s feet. I could do an article about dusty shoes. A dog’s eye view of the world. It’s about time technology caught up with this concept. I could publish a whole book of fascinating photos. I could become a real photographer and make lots of money to say nothing of revolutionizing canine journalism.”
“Please keep in mind, Sylvia, that it might be years before you made enough money as a photographer to justify the expense.”
Sylvia stood firm. “But I want it. That’s all I want for Christmas besides a few pigs’ ears and biscuits and maybe some steak.”
“Alright, alright, you’ve made your point.” I heaved a mighty sigh and envisioned $45.95 plus postage flying out the window. “Give me the catalog.”
In a flash the catalog was in my hands with Sylvia leaning over me pointing to the ad. It was illustrated with a very clean-cut and no doubt clean noble dog proudly wearing a brand new collar with a small circular object resembling a religious medal dangling from it.
“That’s the camera,” Sylvia said. “See how small it is and no weight at all. Do you want me to read the whole blurb to you?”
“No, thank you. I’m still capable of reading it for myself.” Which I did and I have to say it sounded intriguing. That is, until I got to the last line.
“Look, Sylvia, it says you have to have a Mac Computer to make the camera work. We don’t have a Mac.”
“I knew it!” Sylvia wailed. “I knew there’d be some reason I couldn’t get what I wanted for Christmas. It isn’t fair. Now I’ll never be a famous rich photographer.”
I rose from under my heated throw and hastened to the kitchen for a handful of Iams biscuits hoping to quell the flow of threatening tears. “Here, Sylvia, maybe these will help. They’re your favorites.”
“They won’t. Nothing will help. Nothing at all,” she yelled and strode to her bed, kicking it before she turned her back to me and plopped down.
However a few minutes later I could hear her crunching. And crunching. And it wasn’t long before she asked, “Could I have the $45.95 it would have cost for the camera?”
“What for?”
“I want to build the Mouse shelter. I have this great idea. If you’ll give me some paper, I’ll design it now so you can see it. After all, if I’m going to be a famous architect, I’ve got to start somewhere.”

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