February 4th, 2003


That's How It Goes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about puppies lately.

This past Lunar Year was a shitty one. Not for me directly, but for a lot of the people in my immediate vicinity. Family, friends, girlfriend. The worst incident, though, involved a coworker.

Nice unassuming guy. Worked right next door to me. Like me, he was Asian and a writer. Like me, he had a younger sister. I never brought this up earlier, but this past December he woke up one morning and found her dead of heart failure. She was just 24. He never came back to work.

His sister crossed my mind a few days ago. It was a couple of hours after my baby sister called to let me know that the doctors had found a lesion in her brain. She’d been so strong and patient throughout all this. “So why?” I thought. Why, after my baby sister had successfully finished all those brutal months of chemo, before she even had a chance to feel whole – why the fuck did this have to happen to her again?

And that’s when I thought about his sister. That’s when I realized that no matter how bad you think you have it, somebody or somebody’s sister, will always have it worse. It’s life’s most obvious product flaw. But, as I’ve said a thousand times to myself already, that’s how it goes.

So instead you be grateful that your baby sister’s still alive. Grateful that you can still palm that fuzzy bald head of hers one day, and call her “fart head” over the phone the next. You tell yourself how blessed you are every morning she wakes up. And then you do all you can to help her overcome this fucking thing.

Like look for a puppy.

Came this close to buying one Sunday, a two-month-old Beagle with little brown eyebrows. But our mom vetoed it. She insisted that we look around more. But I know her real reason. Our mom’s never been as crazy about pets as she is about, say, ornamental shrubs. Because unlike shrubbery, animals eat and shit. Frequently.

But throughout all this, she’s been on the frontlines when it came to taking care of my baby sister. So I had to respect her wishes. But last week I managed to just barely convince her that for purely medical reasons, my sister would really benefit from the presence of a sloppy, perpetually giddy puppy.

We’ll see how this all goes. Maybe I can nab one in the next week or so. In the mean time, we’ve got a meeting at the hospital Tuesday to discuss her biopsy. These things take steps.