I Eat Elephants

Let me tell you a story. It’s sort of a long short story, so grab a mug of something and settle in for a few.

Most of you know me as an online adjunct type, but once upon a time, I spent five years teaching in the loveliest village in the Plains aka Auburn University. During that time, I, like some, became a rather rabid Auburn fan. Sam was a young dog then and a Florida dog to boot, so that first winter was impossibly hard on her. She didn’t have a true lab coat (never) and so she required sweaters, t-shirts, and so forth to keep her from getting sick (yes, dogs catch colds, no it is not fun and neither is the vet bill). Anyway, among her collection of shirts was an orange shirt that said “I Eat Elephants.” If you know the SEC at all, then you know that Auburn’s biggest rival is Alabama aka the Crimson Tide aka the folks who have an elephant as a mascot. Every year, the two teams come together on a Saturday in November and play what is called “Iron Bowl.” Sam wore her shirt every Iron Bowl since I bought it for her. Last year, I put it away suspecting it would be the last wearing for that shirt.

In January, you may or may not recall that Sam collapsed on the floor and was completely motionless for almost 20 minutes. I figured we were at the end and had a long, difficult talk with her vet early the next morning. We agreed to try drugging her with pain meds because P was out of town and I absolutely would not put down a dog he loved while he was away unless I had no other choices. 72 hours after Sam started the medicine she was acting like herself. So much so that I realized it wasn’t time to do what we’d agreed to do the following Monday, so I called her vet and cancelled.

He called me back. He told me this was a temporary solution and it wasn’t going to work forever and I told him that I knew that. I understood that she wouldn’t live to see the Iron Bowl this year (he went to Auburn and his cousin was her vet in Auburn), but if we could get her a couple more quality months, then I wanted to try. And so we did.

And here we are on the eve of the Iron Bowl and the old girl is still here. Damned if she didn’t eat the elephant in the room and outlast even my most optimistic projections for her. So now, I am frantically trying to remember where I put her shirt so she can wear it with pride tomorrow as she watches her beloved Tigers take on and hopefully beat the Crimson Tide. She lived to see this game, so it had better be a good one!

War Eagle!

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